Turning Channel Sales into Channel Support

What the US Can Learn from APAC

When customers purchase a vendor’s products from a channel partner, technical support problems could be addressed one of two ways: the vendor could bear the responsibility or the channel partner who sold the product could handle the technical support issues.

There are a number of reasons why vendors in APAC employ the channel partner first model of technical support. One concrete benefit of the model commonly adopted in APAC is ease of communication. The many languages spanning Asia creates demanding communication barriers for offering support. Channel partners also better understand regional business practices and needs due, in part, to their relative proximity and understanding of local services.

Many elements of the APAC model could be implemented to benefit vendors in the US.

Tearing down the Barriers

Some channel partners’ practices in APAC could be embraced in the United States to help companies reduce technical support costs.

Channel partners’ overall knowledge of customers and their business needs comes from proximity and frequency of interaction. Constant interaction in an established region makes channel partners better suited to relate to customers. Local channel partners can determine whether a recurring issue arises from the use setting or the technology in question.

Channel partners listen to needs and use cases in order to build or recommend a solution. Using this pre-existing relationship and use case context, a channel partner can often give the customer a better overall experience and permit the vendor to hit the ground running.

Teamwork for the Good of the Customer

By utilizing some of the best practices of the customer support model used by many channel partners in APAC, partners can help take some technical support responsibility off the shoulders of the vendors.

Channel partners can provide front-line support to establish context around problems and their origins and, when necessary, transfer stripped-down technical problems to vendors in a relatable context.

Vendors can spend more time and resources on their core business and less time trying to “get on the same level” as the customer.

Keeping up with the APAC’s

By adopting the customer service model commonly used in APAC, vendors in the US can save money by spending less time and effort struggling with contextual barriers and establishing level ground for solving issues.

In order to make this work, companies must have multi vendor support agreements in place with channel partners. Agreements will tell channel partners how to transfer customers to the right person if a problem extends beyond their ability or if they need to engage the vendor or even multiple vendors.

Custom Groups Make IT Happen

If you’re already a basic or premium TSANet member, the ability to set up a custom group is included in your membership. Creating a custom group with your channel partners allows them to provide up-front technical support that can save your company time and money.

When problems do reach you as a vendor, they are stripped down and easier to solve since channel partners have already taken the lead. More importantly, customers will have a better experience because they initially communicate with someone who truly understands their business.

How could a channel partner first model of technical support aid your company?