Swarming and smart routing — an intelligent method for faster case resolution

Swarming and smart routing — an intelligent method for faster case resolution

Throughout my career working in enterprise technical support and customer success, there are three core principles I’ve always instilled in my team — simplify, focus, and be accountable. One of the most efficient ways to improve processes is to hone in on customer needs and expectations and accept responsibility for their experience and success.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to keep these three principles in mind when offering technical customer support, as frustrations are growing among consumers globally. In fact, 75% of customers cite having to repeat themselves to multiple support engineers as one of the biggest pain points during case resolution. And 83% of customers would switch companies because of a poor customer experience.

Support teams everywhere need to deliver fast and efficient case resolution to increase customer satisfaction. This is why we have evolved our case resolution model from a tiered structure based on a one-to-one support-engineer-to-case method and moved to a swarming methodology with smart routing.

Swarming — a more focused and collaborative approach

What is swarming?

Essentially, swarming is a support model that uses a single-tiered one-to-many approach — as opposed to a traditional one-to-one approach — to resolve customer issues, with multiple technical support engineers collaborating in real time.

Let’s say a customer raises an issue that upon analysis has three root causes. In a traditional resolution methodology, the ticket would be routed from one support engineer to another to deal with each issue separately.

While all issues would be dealt with, this traditional resolution method is long and inefficient and could lead to delays in resolution if the support engineer is out of the office.

In a swarming method, the technical support engineers work in collaboration to solve the issue. They holistically analyze the issue, identify the root cause, and take the best course of action to resolve it. They’ll then go a step further and share insights on how to prevent future occurrences. Swarms can be established based on product expertise, industry vertical, or customer groups.

Simplify case resolution with smart routing

Because the goal is to provide the best possible customer experience while further simplifying processes, we also implement smart routing to refine and increase the effectiveness of our swarming methodology. This process involves mapping the skillsets and vertical expertise of all support engineers as well as their geographic location.

In typical case resolution scenarios, cases are assigned by severity and on a first-come-first-served basis. If a client raises an issue, the case is assigned to the first engineer available within their geography. With smart routing, however, the case is assigned to a team of engineers — known as a swarm — who have the specialist knowledge and skills of said solution, use case, industry and vertical.

This means that the issue is connected with the right team of experts, enabling more informed and creative problem-solving, which leads to faster case resolution and improved customer experience.

Delivering success for all

When you hold yourself accountable for your customers’ and your team’s success, swarming and smart routing become incredibly valuable. The approach benefits both the issue raiser and the issue resolver. It not only improves service efficiency and increases customer satisfaction — it also offers opportunities for support teams to increase knowledge sharing and team collaboration.

Greater customer results

Thanks to its collaborative approach, swarming provides customers with a holistic resolution. This not only enables faster problem-solving for complex, cross-product, and multi-vendor cases — as issues are dealt with simultaneously — but also helps to prevent future occurrences.

Because the team maintains an overarching view, they can identify and resolve underlying causes that may trigger issues later down the line, as opposed to a tunnel-vision perspective looking at an issue in silo, without examining an underlying or wider cause.

The unified approach also provides a better customer experience. In a traditional method, each engineer in the case resolution chain often asks the customer the same set of questions, increasing frustrations — remember those statistics we mentioned above? Swarming and smart routing help to eliminate, or at least reduce, case transfers, in turn minimizing customer effort and grievances.

This full-spectrum resolution and improved customer experience increases customer trust and confidence too. Our customers know Adobe is there to support them and take ownership of their success.

Improved internal efficiency

Beyond benefiting the customer, swarming and smart routing improve outcomes for your own team. Engineers experience greater job satisfaction and feel more engaged as they get to experience unique learning opportunities in real-time scenarios (which would otherwise be limited to training sessions). They can now work on cases that align with their skillset and — more importantly — that they enjoy.

Swarming also fosters greater collaboration and knowledge sharing between engineers, allowing individuals to gain knowledge faster and become experts in multiple domains.

Why embrace swarming and smart routing?

We’re proud to say that Adobe Support Plans is leading the way in complex case resolution, delivering a holistic approach from logging through to resolution. By simplifying our support method, focusing on collaboration, and holding ourselves accountable for faster case resolution, we have achieved greater results for our customers.

During the pilot phase, Adobe reduced time to resolution by 19% for priority 1 cases by implementing a swarming and smart routing method.

Since then, we have successfully implemented swarming across all solutions and lines of business. We are now rolling out smart routing across the globe to further improve case resolution efficiency.

Stop escalating and start collaborating

When looking to implement a swarming and smart routing method or optimize your case resolution strategy, it’s best to start with these questions:

With those questions answered, you can begin your swarming method, assigning customer tickets to the most relevant support engineer, promoting collaborative resolutions, and delivering faster case resolution to your customers. Remember — simplify, focus, and be accountable.

To find out more about swarming and smart routing, get in touch with Adobe Support Plans experts today.

Scott Bajtos brings 30 years of experience in the software industry with expertise in enterprise technical support, global support strategy, and end-to-end customer success. Prior to joining Adobe, Bajtos was chief customer officer at VMware — leading global technical support and paid support, professional services, customer success, and customer advocacy. He also led global support and services at Business Objects and served as EVP for customer advocacy at SAP for 8 years. Bajtos is a customer champion, creating long-term partnerships through proactive support programs and high-impact reactive support performance. Bajtos is a servant leader with a long track record of leading and mentoring teams to deliver for customers while growing their careers. Bajtos’ mission at Adobe is to leave no customer behind and ensure they achieve success.