Application Support Model: Everything You Must Know Today

application support models

The strategy of creating a great application isn’t just coding or integrating solution based features, it’s also about providing application support to the customers.

As per a report, customer expectation surged in 2020 and the need for speed, ease, and personalized customer support only increased. Hence, the need for implementing a robust application support model for resolving issues of customers is crucial.

This article highlights key aspects required for establishing an effective application support model.

7 Key Considerations Before Building an Application Support Model

Creating the best application support model is not an easy task, hence to start with here are seven vital steps to consider for a smooth functioning of an application.

1. Hiring Approach for Support Model

The three choices every company can consider for hiring are – an in-house team, outsourcing, and a mix of both. Any of these options would work for an application support model.

An outsourced team offers specialized professionals and experts in relevant technologies, they don’t need extra training, thus this saves your money. Outsourced teams are qualified to deal with complicated problems faced by users, provide high-quality technical assistance, and security help.

Outsourcing renders 24/7 support to users, it’s cost-effective, quick, and adaptable with time. Internal teams get time to focus on software development and improvement, while outsourcing team is busy with support.

An in-house team is recruited, managed, and trained in a company and operates by using company’s resources and equipment. A company who can expand their teams and offer resources to work can opt for an in-house team, and if not, then hire an outsourced software development company.

A mix of both means to form a balanced team of in-house and outsourced teams; each of them responsible for certain level of support and this helps to manage budget for the application support model.

If choosing to hire an outsourcing team, then consider the following outsourcing strategies:

a. Local or Onshore Outsourcing

Providing a contract within a country is known as onshore or local outsourcing. Advantages of local outsourcing is that there are no limitations to language, cultural background, or time zones, thus is easier to operate or meet in person.

However, one major drawback of onshore outsourcing is that that it’s expensive as compared to outsourcing in a different country.

b. Offshore Outsourcing

Offshore outsourcing refers to providing contracts in distant countries as this saves a lot of money on labor and material. Further, offshore outsourcing allows organizations to access skills that are better in a certain country only and avert regulations imposed in home country.

Issues with offshore outsourcing is absence of reliability, however this can be avoided by checking background and reviews of vendors. Distance and time zones are another aspects that are difficult to manage, unless working in shifts.

c. Nearshore Outsourcing

This refers to hiring a vendor that’s out of the country but is located nearby, such as Latin America or Mexico, and offshore would be Asia or Europe. The advantages of nearshore outsourcing are same time zones and low expenses on running business in another country.

In case of nearshore outsourcing, the risk of delay in product delivery is compensated for, and is easier to enter in the local market of neighboring countries.

2. Decide Levels of Application Support Team

Complex application systems require a team of competent application experts and a well-established hierarchy of support team that’ll take responsibility of technical surveillance and follow clients’ requests. Support team works in three levels which are as follows –

Level 1 (User Support Staff) is at the front level of application support and attends incoming requests such as clients’ calls, chats, and emails. Level 1 staff monitors performance of application and checks for alerts.

Further, data from all sources are gathered by level 1 staff to scrutinize and prioritize accordingly. They answer questions on software usage and solve simple problems such as software reinstallation, login issues, or hardware configurations.

Level 1 staff resolve issues verbally, through a remote desktop, or resolution. L1 staff is the first point of contact for users and they pass on complex problems to other levels.

Level 2 (Technical Support Staff) is a bit more complex. Here, technical support staff offers backend and in-depth troubleshooting support. Staff have more knowledge about company’s software and hardware tools, thus are capable of dealing with issues with an informed outlook.

L2 support staff handles issues such as configuration, services restart, or account administration. They are trained to fix failures and slowdowns before it’s detected by end users. Further, L1 staff resolve issues arisen out of hardware or servers that cannot be solved by Level 1 experts.

Level 3 (Software Engineers) is the highest level of application support model and are not only aware about company’s services and products, but also have access to company’s high-level technical sources.

L3 support team maintain, create, and fix essential elements that form structural integrity of  applications. They are involved in developing new software and hotfixes in code, networks, and tools.

3. Swarming Application Support Model

Swarming support model was created in collaboration by Cisco due to the problems arising from the tiered support (L1, L2, L3 model). This model allows support staff to view end-to-end problems with a collaborative contribution from stakeholders and engineers within a company.

Support teams share, build, and incorporate knowledge bases to solve repetitive problems quickly. These issues are documented and the support team ameliorates the leaning curve and shares knowledge with the end-users. Further, instead of providing escalation based process like in the tiered method, swarming method follows a collaborative approach.

Source: Service Innovation

4. Response Time and Team Schedule

Quick response time leaves a good impression on customers and they’ll continue to choose that brand every time. A well-built support model with a team that responds to all requests in a flash ensures that consumers will remain loyal and satisfied.

A 24/7 application support model helps to tackle downtime that may lead to loss in reputation or financial losses. Around-the-clock support is essential for resolving issues concerning internal systems of the software application.

Support team schedules are prepared for 24/7, 24/5, 12/7, 12/5, or 8/5, and this schedule depends on the type of application used by customers. Providing support during business hours is an effective cost-saving option for company.

5. Choose Channels That’ll be Used to Request Support

Channels used for support requests is based on user preferences, availability of channels, and industry trends. For this avail channels that’ll help in managing user needs, contacting through multiple channels is convenient for users, but is difficult to handle by support team. Channels to choose from are –

1. Email: This approach is useful for sending queries on specific issues or support requests.

2. Social Network: Social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp is an easy way to access support services as users are active on social media in today’s time.

3. Chat: Messengers, chatbots, or simple chat boxes are popular among users for connecting with the support desk instantly.

4. Ticketing software: This is a top-level channel for gathering requests and allocating them to services. Ticketing software includes Backlog or Jira as these provide complete view of requests and progress towards solution.

5. Phone calls: Calling is a traditional method for providing services during emergency situations.

6. Scope of Application Support Model Contract

Scope of ASM (Application Support Model) contract is the minimum time required for handling and resolving an application. Scope depends on contractor’s or vendor’s performance and their willingness to work repeatedly. Negotiations can bring in a good price, however consider addressing concerns that arise during initial negotiation phase.

Further, ASM is useful during the process of applying credit and helps to detect potential risks for the lender. Banks can ensure that they provide mobile solutions as more and more people are turning towards mobile devices for financial services.

7. Decide a Communication Plan

Communication is a key force behind a robust application support model. The type of support needed helps to decide which team is suitable for the role. The support model shifts as per the outcome of the application.

A communication strategy for application support model helps to fix issues, establish coordination within the team and all three levels, augment customer experience, and give solution in simple language.

A tailored application support model is responsible for the success of a software application. To setup an effective application support model that’ll yield results and satisfy your customers, get in touch with Arkenea!

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