My Thinkweek: The Evolution of Customer Support

I've been doing a lot of writing lately.  All that extra keytapping, however, was going towards a Thinkweek paper that was submitted just thirty minutes prior to the deadline at 4:30pm yesterday. 

My paper, entitled "The Evolution of Customer Support", is the sum of a body of work that myself and others have put into defining what customer support ought to look like in a world where "You" are Time's Person of the Year.  Or, as my subtitle put it, "How product support can evolve to match the changing needs of Microsoft’s customers and leverage new content creation and consumption paradigms "

If you work at Microsoft you can read the paper and submit your reviews here: http://thinkweek2/Details.aspx?subId=1299.  Here are a couple other snippets that I can post publicly.

"If this (support) content helps one person out of the many thousands who call each year, it can be assumed that it would also help many thousands of others who otherwise never would have called product support. In today’s search-oriented, content rich web, the cost of publishing has been driven down, and we should take advantage of this benefit. Publish everything."

"While we (Microsoft) publish social media (podcasting, screencasts, how to videos, etc), we don’t encourage the generation, sharing, and aggregation of this material by customers. Finally, we don’t proactively engage in support through customer blogs."

There is also an exploration of new technology and ideas that could facilitate knowledge transfer between customers and Microsoft.  This writing spree was partially conducted by candlelight last Thursday after the power went out.  First I ran my laptop battery out of juice, then plugged into my desktops' UPS system, and finally used Gretchen's VIAO for a couple of hours. :-) Enjoy!

For those of you that don't know what Thinkweek is... here is what we're told about Thinkweek and why it's a cool idea. 

What is "think week"? It is a week that BillG sets aside roughly every six months to think deeply about a range of topics impacting our company and the industry. Microsoft full time employees are encouraged to submit papers for think week - topics for the papers are broad ranging: new product ideas, promising research, trends that will affect Microsoft or the software industry, explanations of new technologies, suggestions for improving product development, etc.