The principles of support

The Autodesk support organization defines a set of “support principles” that establish a baseline for quality service. The principles are supposed to be straight-forward, common-sense guidelines such as:

  • Provide credible and timely responses
  • Make and honor commitments
  • Confirm resolution
  • Document cases
  • Communicate professionally
  • Escalate immediately

We do weekly review of randomly-selected cases for principle compliance, and the review scores are a lead measure of our success. They’re a lead measure because management considers principle compliance a predictor of success (where success is measured by the quarterly Net Promoter Score aka customer satisfaction).

In practice, you can go around in endless circles discussing what these principles actually mean. I’ve sat through whole meetings where we never got past the first definition of the first principle.

Based on my experience on the front-line, here’s my take on the principles. I’ve reduced the principles to single-sentence bullet points with [I think] plain English words.

  • Respond quickly with either a solution or some questions that clarify the problem.
  • Let the customer know when you’ll get back to them, and do what you promise.
  • Don’t let cases sit inactive for over 2 days: if you’re waiting for information, follow up with the customer; if you’re researching the problem, let the customer know what’s happening.
  • Document cases so that others can understand the problem and the solution.
  • Communicate like a pro: clear, concise, easy to understand, and with the same tone you would expect from others.
  • Don’t delay–when you tell a customer you’re going to escalate or transfer the case, do it right away.