Mustafa Khanbhai, CEO of UK tech consultancy Seamlessly and previously co-founder of Virgin Digital Help, on shaking up the tech support business, and why companies providing digital home services need to embrace customer support requirements.
Mustafa will be running a pre-conference workshop on tech support at the Digital Home World Summit 2013 event, taking place in London on 18th-19th June. For more information and to register, please visit www.digitalhomeworldsummit.com.
Hi Mustafa! First off can you tell us a little bit more about how and why you co-founded Virgin Digital Help?
We launched Virgin Digital Help in 2009 to champion consumers with their digital devices in the home.
We had observed a rapid growth in connected devices and consumers’ increased frustration with getting these devices to work with each other, presenting a clear opportunity for the Virgin brand to step in and shake things up.
We created a business with a unique service proposition and Virgin’s first Software as a Service (SaaS) app in the marketplace: tech support the Virgin way!
By securing partnerships with leading companies including Toshiba, AVG, Virgin Mobile and Sears, and expanding the business in the UK and US markets, Virgin Digital Help has a growing subscriber base.
How did this experience shape the creation of your consultancy agency Seamlessly?
I launched Seamlessly in 2012 to continue my passion of working with retailers, telecoms and technology companies to disrupt how consumers are supported in the connected world, leveraging their market knowledge of creating unique service propositions.
I observed that companies in Europe who had service and experience as a core part of their proposition wanted to cost-effectively better serve an ever-growing online community with broad, diverse and changing needs, which cannot be ignored.
The way in which we assist is by reviewing the service experience and recommending an optimum service product portfolio that can be launched with the integration of our partner SaaS platform of software, self-help tools, knowledge base and training.
Our goal is to enable our clients to consistently deliver a great service experience, while driving cost reduction and generating additional revenue by maintaining relevance and ownership of the customer.
Why do you think digital home services have still largely struggled to get off the ground in even the most developed markets?
One of the challenges in Western Europe is consumer propensity to pay for emerging services, and the user benefit varying between consumers.
Within the premium support services market, as the boundaries between what’s in-scope and what is out-of-scope begin to blur, companies are increasingly facing the challenge of the extent of support they should provide for free and what they should justifiably charge for.
There is a general expectation from consumers that it’s not their problem and that the operator, retailer or technology provider should be supporting them as part of the service to keep them as a customer.
I believe companies operating within the digital home services market will have to embrace customer support requirements, and use it as an opportunity to champion consumers, stay relevant and to then position and up-sell paid services at the right time.
With six out of ten consumers finding technology stressful and the top three issues being Wi-Fi, cloud and home connectivity – there is plenty of opportunity to earn the consumers’ trust.
Our pre-conference workshop at the Digital Home Summit on 17th June 2013 provides further insight on how companies can evolve their support experience based on digital personalities that are evolving in the marketplace.