Creating smilies in cloud computing servicing
By Carol Ko 03-Mar-2011
Customer retention in the cloud will become a key focus for cloud service providers as clients demand no vendor lock-in, interoperability and easy data migration. What are the key attributes in customer service and support (CSS) for cloud services providers? Wing Dar-Ker (pictured), CSS general manager for Microsoft APGC, explains the art of creating smiling customers.
Asia Cloud Forum: What is the impact of cloud computing on customer service and support delivery in APGC?
Wing Dar-Ker: In Asia Pacific and Greater China (APGC), customer service and support (CSS) has become increasingly important in the area of cloud computing.
CSS is the first line of contact and the last line of resolution. At the same time, in the cloud model, pre-sales will become even more imperative and crucial to building long-term relationships with customers.
In the cloud, customer retention will be a key focus for cloud service providers as competition becomes more intense. Customers can easily jump from one vendor to another if they are dissatisfied with the services that they are receiving. With the cloud model, the phrase "the customer is king" becomes even more pronounced.
Do you see cloud computing leveling the service delivery quality across APGC cloud cloud service providers?
Wing: In this era of cloud computing, CSS has become the strategic differentiator among cloud service providers.
|"[Customer service and support] is the first line of contact and the last line of resolution." |
-- Wing Dar-Ker, CSS GM, Microsoft APGC
With the dynamic nature of cloud computing, customers are getting more choices from intensifying market competition. Customers no longer want to be locked in and they see the opportunity in cloud services as opposed to purchasing new IT infrastructure to support their business needs. They can jump on and off as often as they like, and the slightest dip in service delivery can sway their decision to discontinue using the same cloud provider.
This new trend means cloud service providers can leave nothing to chance. I believe we will be seeing more and more vendors enhancing their support capabilities to stay competitive in the market.
For Microsoft, we have a "3 9 SLA policy" which translate to "43 minutes per month, no service, no billing". If our customers ever experience more than 43 minutes of downtime within a month, they would not have to pay for the service for that particular month. This is a clear statement by Microsoft that underlines our commitment to our customers.
What are the opportunities and challenges of cloud computing from the service perspective?
Wing: With the cloud model, customers use it when they need it, and pay when they get it. The dynamic nature of cloud computing has created the challenge of building stronger and sustained relationships with our customers. In the same vein, this has also provided us with the opportunity to make a stronger commitment to our customers, refresh our business strategy to align with current trends and position us strongly in the services market.
What can the cloud offer that is different from what is already delivered today?
Wing: Cloud provides a cost-effective and pay-as-you-go model. This allows many companies, both large enterprises and small and medium businesses, to reduce their investments in software and hardware procurements and related IT staff. It provides the flexibility especially when business environment changes are the norm these days. We are seeing that anything that can be commoditized are moving towards cloud solutions while mission critical applications will take some time in the future.