We know that there are events that specific communities consider "major" for their business -- whether this is the Superbowl (top of mind at the moment!), Black Friday/Cyber Monday, a new product launch, a relaunch of your design, demo for executives or any one of a dozen other scenarios. It is our goal to work with you to ensure that these are as seamless as possible.
Lithium is committed to ensuring that you are supported 24/7/365 on any outages. We have a comprehensive guide to outages and information about our general status page available for you to take a look at, but the summary of this is that if you or your customer's are down or unable to work, let us know and we'll quickly take a look to see what's going on! You can always keep up to date on our status page where we do our best to provide insight to outages impacting multiple customers.
Assuming you know ahead of time that you have a major event coming up, please let us know as early as possible - at least a week is ideal! Although we have monitoring in place to help mitigate issues as best as possible, the best situation is where we can proactively review allocated resources, your server side setup, and make sure that there simply aren't any issues!
If you have a Technical Account Manager via Premium Support or CSM, please make sure that they (and support) are aware of your impending event so that they can pay attention to it. If you don't, don't despair! Open a support case letting our team know that you have an event coming, what the date and time of it is and that you'd like us to take a look to see if there's anything that needs to be done to help prevent an impact on you or your customers. If you can add Proactive to the case subject, it'll help us organize the solution as well.
The above applies to whether you're an SMM, Lithium Community or Lithium JX customer!
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As part of our efforts to provide exceptional service to our customers, we wrote up what we've seen and done in 2017 as a retrospective.
Redesigned Support Pages
We have redesigned our support information page. Here, you can now meet some of the support team and drill down to meeting the full team that you might directly interact with on a regular basis; you can also get a quick glance of the current Lithium status page and access other resources that might be of use.
We have relaunched the Case Portal to provide additional functionality for those reporting cases or needing to escalate them. Although access is limited to designated contacts, we're looking forward to continuing to improve this functionality and encourage those with access to use the Case Portal. We think it’s much more effective than emailing into support, and we hope you agree too! Check out the Using the Lithium Community Case Portal TKB.
Listened to Suggestions In 2017, we heard suggestions for ways to improve our support organization. We've taken many of these to heart and wanted to share with you some actions we’ve taken:
You weren’t happy with cases taking too long for initial response & the initial response not being actionable. So we:
Nearly tripled the size of our front-line technical support staff from 7 to 18. This team has been ramping up month over month.
Implemented a policy that the first response should be sent only when we're actively working an issue and/or you, the customer, can take an action on it.
Reduced initial response times, dropping them from 20+ hours to under 6 hours on average.
You were unsure on how to escalate cases effectively. So we:
Implemented the ability for your designated contacts to escalate cases via the Case Portal.
You weren’t always able to locate information on the Lithium Community. So we:
Added a Support Knowledge Management team that will be creating content including videos (see our first examples) as well as grooming existing content to surface relevant, bite-sized information that's usable for you. This team is led by @OrenR, our Support Operations leader, with @MicahM and @Nora- so keep an eye out!
Are aligning our information architecture with our Professional Services best practices around multi-product communities, led by @AndyK, our Community Manager.
You felt we didn’t care about you as a customer. So we:
Partnered with TSIA to provide better training for our teams and are now a Certified Support Staff Excellence Center. This will be continued and expanded in 2018 for all new hires as well.
Focused on improving quality across the organization with an emphasis on the customer. Our regional Technical Support leaders, @NoamanA (EMEA & APAC) and @RonS (AMER) have this as part of their primary goals on a quarterly basis.
Expanded our Premium Support Team from 6 to 10, and @BradR, our Premium Support leader, built a new offering for those that want more dedicated Technical Account Manager time.
This is just a small list of improvements we've been making and will continue to make. We listen to every single comment that comes in via our case close surveys as well as the broader relationship surveys, so if you ever receive one, please take the time to fill it in!
Areas to Continue to Improve Upon
There's no doubt that we have areas that we should continue to improve on; my personal commitment is that we will keep doing our best to do so. Some areas we acknowledge and are working on solutions for include:
Our overall technical expertise
With many new staff members, there's certainly concern about technical expertise. We are working on continuing improvements around this, but experience with our platform takes time that cannot be rushed (as you all know!). Our teams are working on a training bootcamp to help reduce new staff ramp up time and strengthen existing staff proficiency, but it is a work in progress. Included in this effort is a quality improvement program ensuring that our team truly reads and understands the issue initially so that you don't have to repeat yourself.
Backlog of cases
Our backlog has been reduced, but is certainly not gone! We are working through this as best as possible and are sustaining the focus on this.
We are working on plans to continue to reduce the bug backlog as well. This has just as large of an impact on your business as not receiving answers from our analyst team.
Stronger communication around outages
We've made some internal process changes, but still have some ways to go on this, so this remains an area that requires improvement. If you have not already done so, please make sure to subscribe to updates on our status page. This is where we try to keep all broad level outages updated in as real time as possible.
@JonathanCu, our Customer Operations & Escalated Support leader, is working on a first iteration of a fully proactive outage team and we will identify options for doing so over the next year.
All improvements mentioned above
Though we’ve improved in 2017, but we do not believe that we're done improving. Throughout the next year, we commit to continuing to improve your experience with our support team as well as providing more information for your use on the Community. With our new products, we are also reviewing the right time to ramp up appropriate teams to support them rather than simply absorbing within existing staff.
Listened to Recommendations
As you can tell, we acknowledge that we have our flaws, but we also have an amazing team that's 100% dedicated and focused on making your experience the best that it can possibly be. The same surveys and conversations we've had over 2017 that provided us with suggestions, also gave us a lot of awesome, positive insight and we appreciate that as well! We've been able to reward and promote team members, and your input has been a part in doing so.
We appreciate your continued business and partnership. Here's looking to a great 2018!
Director, Global Support
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@ffield, yes! For the time being, you're still going to submit through JiveWorks. We'll be coordinating the transition over the next few months and you'll receive notification as to when / how that will work. Thanks for the question though!
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We are excited to announce that we are updating our existing support case portal to use the new Lithium Case Portal feature. This will be available to anyone who has access to the current case portal. This change will be coming later this week and the changeover is expected to happen fairly seamlessly! You can find out more information about the new case portal feature in the documentation.
As part of the changes, there is a new module on the landing page that allows you to create a case directly from the landing page and a link to view your existing cases. The support team now has the ability to push a thread from the community directly into the case portal so unless there are privacy concerns around the content of the case, we ask that you post your question on the community first as this allows your peers to answer the questions first!
The Case Portal landing page still has a very similar layout to the existing page but the formatting has been updated to take advantage of responsive.
When creating a case, we removed a step to streamline the experience - you can now choose the product when filling in the rest of the content as well as the priority compared to your other cases.
At least one person from each organization will be designated as a supervisor, this allows them to see all the cases their team has submitted along as well as their own.
In addition to this, the supervisor has ability to request a more in-depth or urgent review of a case by providing a business justification in doing so on the Escalate Case page.
There are a couple of items that we are still adding in, but haven't finalized yet:
Attachments do not display; this will be fixed soon. In the mean time, if you need to include an attachment, please reply to the acknowledgement or latest case notification email and include the attachment, this will automatically add it to your case.
If you would like to add users in cc, please add a note in the comments module and the support team will ensure they get added.
Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts on the new case portal in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Director, Global Support
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@STARFLEET, thanks for the question.
When the EU-US Privacy Shield was adopted by the European Commission, Lithium made the decision to continue with what we believe to be a stronger compliance measure – that is, continuing to enter into EC Standard Contractual Clauses with our EU customers, and continuing to comply with EU data privacy regulations in general – instead of pursuing Privacy Shield registration. In addition, Lithium has begun the internal processes necessary to ensure compliance with the GDPR (new EU regulation which will become effective in 2018), and has already made significant progress toward GDPR compliance. We believe our resources are better utilized continuing on this path, to complete GDPR compliance, rather than be distracted with the EU-US Privacy Shield which, in our opinion, does not add anything of significance to the protections already afforded by the EC Standard Contractual Clauses.
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Thanks for the great intro, @DayleH! We're looking forward to working with our larger community to figure out how we can best continue to drive towards a top customer experience each and every time someone comes in. @AndyK will be the forefront for this, so for the broader community, he's a great option to chat with on areas of improvement as is Suggestions for our Community.
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We've updated the status page to provide more specific and targeted information regarding the topics that you care about. This allows us to also be more proactive in order to provide the necessary details to you, our customers, about what is occurring on our servers, APIs, or functionality within the product lines. It is our goal to continue to improve this communication and we are happy to continue to receive feedback.
What's the URL?
What does this provide?
You'll receive an email or SMS about new investigations, monitoring, or resolutions as they occur based on your preferences and selections. It is the best way to be proactively notified about any problems across the Lithium product lines.
Who should sign up?
Anyone that's interested in keeping up to date about our infrastructure should be signed up. This includes administrators, community moderators, SMM supervisors, or even agents who are expected to respond to customers! It is always great to know what is going on with the tools being used and this is the place to get that information.
Won't I get spammed?
We update this page only for relevant information and you can select the subcategories to be notified about. By default, everything is checked but there may not be any need for you to be notified on a Community API if you're only using SMM in your business (even if we think you should use both!).
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We'll chat with @AndyK on what can be done about it. We've also got some plans on re-invisioning the case portal to be more effective and integrative as we continue to push forward what we're doing with the community! Thanks for your suggestion.
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@Benjamin, thanks for posting. I'll take a look at what caused this to be a frustrating event and see what we can do to improve the overall experience for future events. Please feel free to DM me as well if you'd like to bend an ear directly.
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