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Real Tip – Measuring the True Cost of a Technical Account Manager

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Erin Wilson Dir., Technical Marketing

Will Walsh, Five9 Enterprise Solutions Consultant, contributed to this post.  

Do you ever find yourself considering ways to reduce labor costs, while improving support for your business around mission critical applications and services? Well, I do. For example, the other day while at the gym, I was thinking through just that when I was approached by a personal trainer. He presented me with a few tips and then offered me his elevator pitch around the services that he provided as a subject matter expert (SME).

My hubris fueled a knee jerk response, of “No thank you, I’m good.”

Luckily, I quickly realized I was not good. I lagged on several lifting goals, was plagued by injuries, and didn't know why. So, I decided to engage this trainer to get more info. This led to a long-lasting, successful relationship, where he assessed my lifting technique and helped me to prevent injuries. Simultaneously, this expert's guidance was instrumental in helping me in increasing my lifting capacity by 25%! In retrospect, he saved me time, money, and well... pain. Had I understood the results then, that I have recognized now, I would have gladly paid him double his rate.

Taking this newly found perspective, I started to consider new ways to approach my business and address some “technical deficiencies,” or areas of opportunity. When I was bouncing a few of our current issues off a trusted colleague and friend that is a leader in the IT space, he said “Why not just get you a TAM (technical account manager)? I did, and the results have been amazing.”

This made me wonder: Why don’t more companies use technical account management services?

For the same reasons people don't invest in personal trainers. It's a risky investment. With many companies charging anywhere from $300-$500/HR, for TAM services, who can blame a business for having the same knee jerk reaction I did?

Spoiler alert: TAMs are worth it.

Since the ROI looks different for average vs very large contact centers, let’s walk you through the numbers separately.

ROI for Your Typical Contact Center (100-499 Seats)

In the average sized, small to medium business (SMB) contact center, your managers often perform multiple duties. They supervise and coach staff, drive your business initiatives forward by managing the leading indicators of success, and yet still must roll up their sleeves to chase down support tickets, document and perform change requests, and more. It is a lot for one person to manage. And someone who is good at one element may not excel at another. But let us imagine you are lucky and found someone willing to do all that for the fully loaded (salary + benefits) cost of $70,000 annually.

Now, ask yourself, "What if a TAM could help by taking on the secondary functions?" The average 300-seat contact center has at least 3 multi-person staff members. But hiring a TAM for just 10hrs a month (-$4k), they can simplify the job description and hire someone for around $50K a year. So three full-time employees for 50K versus 70K, saves you 60K a year.

Spend 48K to save 60K, you say? I'll take a 25% return any day! And that's *before* the TAM focuses their expert lens on your operations to uncover more areas for improvement and cost savings.

ROI for Enterprise Contact Centers (500-5000 Seats)

So, what about large enterprise corporations? In larger companies, the role of the TAM is a little different. Often, the number and complexity of changes and the criticality of service uptime become of paramount importance. This often leads to customers securing more TAM hours and leveraging their TAM as a project or program leader in one capacity, and consultant on feature requests, SLAs, and MTR (mean time to recover), should service interruptions occur.

In this scenario, the ROI calculation becomes about capitalizing on opportunity costs and measuring the return on business outcomes the TAM clients will recognize. Many of our largest strategic clients advise that the straight cost of salary and benefits vs TAM as a service is not their calculus in making the decision. In fact, many of our clients' executives also see TAM as an insurance policy of sorts. They explain that their business generates X amount of revenue daily and that any service interruption, be it from outage or a mistake – will cost them a significant amount of revenue.

With TAM services, your resources can tailor risk mitigation strategies to fit your needs, elevate your support cases more efficiently and often get you out of harm's way faster. This reduction in mean time to resolution allows TAMs to provide insurance against these often-significant losses. During a recent Customer Advisory Board meeting, one of the leading food delivery companies in the US advised that saving them from even 2 hours of downtime equated to 5x of what they paid for their TAM services annually!

So, the REAL Tip: Streamline, stabilize, cost save, and improve the support you receive and deliver by securing a technical account manager for your business’ mission critical services and applications.

Whether you are a small business that needs to save money by recognizing a direct savings in labor costs, or you are a fortune 100 financial institution that processes a million dollars an hour in transactions and needs a consultant to help you stay online, TAM services are a no brainer.

If you’re ready to see how these calculations play out for your business, give us a call today – we’re happy to do the math!

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Erin Wilson Dir., Technical Marketing

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