Customer Support in an SAP Integrated SaaS World

Written September 8th, 2009 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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Google just alerted me to a blog posting on the SAP Developer’s Network.  It is entitled “How to Improve your CRM eCommerce Support”.  As I read it, I came to the stark realization that we at b2b2dot0, and our clients, take an awful lot for granted when it comes to the value that the Software as a Service business model brings to customer services.  Today’s post will shed a light on the topic.

Here is a verbatim excerpt from Mark Foley’s blog post (ignore the bad grammar):

“As SAP CRM E-commerce is a complex system and can provide different functionality in order to get the best from Support a clear understanding of the business scenario and architecture is required.

For example are you using a B2B or a B2C scenario?, How is your is your pricing been done in your product catalog via IPC or list prices? If an issue is been reported the exact steps to reproduce the issue should be give  along with sample data. This should greatly decrease the processing time of your message and allow SAP support to get to work on the issue quickly”

You can tell that Mark is a conscientious…albeit somewhat frustrated…customer support representative.  Who amongst us hasn’t been on the receiving end of his type of methodical interrogation for the “facts” so that he can help solve our technical problems?   All he wants to do is help, but he really is fighting an uphill battle.  There are a phenomenal number of technologies and moving parts that comprise a simple web transaction in the SAP eCommerce world. On top of that, any and all of them could have been configured or customized to suit a local requirement.  No wonder customers are put on hold for what seems like an eternity!

On the other hand, last week we had an incident filed by one of our clients.  They sent us screen shots that showed a shopping cart that displayed different prices depending on whether it was displayed on the web versus in SAP GUI.  Accompanying those screen shots was a desperate cry for help because this problem could cause some serious problems in their customer base.

While it was clear that our client was implicating the b2b2dot0 service for mangling their pricing, we knew that since we only display what SAP calculates, the smoking gun had to reside within SAP itself.  We immediately took the initiative to log into our client’s QA system to reproduce the problem.  By attempting to place the order, both via SAP GUI and via direct RFC calls, we were able to isolate the problem to the way order header pricing conditions were being triggered in SAP.

Within a few hours of problem submission, the cause was diagnosed and suggestions for how to rectify the situation were made.

We were able to respond so quickly because of several factors:

  1. We dont’ offer a “generic” help desk.  The very same people that are responsible for implementing your SAP B2B eCommerce website are the ones that support it.  We know your system, not just a generic one.
  2. Our SaaS business model dictates that we have access to your SAP landscape.  That makes triage of problems fairly straightforward.
  3. Our architecture doesn’t allow for any business rules or data to be stored or manipulated on the web.  That also makes the triage of problems fairly straightforward.
  4. We’re motivated.  These aren’t just “anonymous” incidents that are being filed with us.  As I’ve said before, our business model is predicated on referrals and renewals.  If we don’t provide spectacular customer service on a regular basis…

Lastly, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the turn around time on our customer support incidences is extremely fast.  I think it’s directly related to how fast we can implement SAP integrated B2B ecommerce websites in the first place.  The “secret sauce” is a combination of:

  • a well thought out and executed product architecture,
  • the world’s most seasoned SAP eCommerce professionals
  • a passion and commitment to customer satisfaction

Oh yeah, and one more thing, a desire to not work hard.  We would prefer to work smart instead 🙂

Sam