Friday 12 April 2013

Keeping the Service in Customer Service

Vision ICT Blog 04/13

Welcome to the Vision ICT Blog. 

Every month we will have a topic or issue that we will discuss, either to do with the company, related business or technology issues that affect YOU.

This month’s topic: Keeping the Service in Customer Service

On the surface, this seems obvious. Customer service plays a major role in all aspects of life, so good customer service is its own reward. But then why do some businesses still fail to provide this most basic of customer relations? What makes good customer service?

Good customer service is dependent on several things – What you sell, who you’re selling to, and the technology you have.

What do you sell?
Your product will affect the best way to go about customer service. Is it something that would benefit from ‘house calls’? Would a face to face encounter with your client be helpful, or are you better off keeping things formal across a telephone or email conversation? We all hate the automatic machine systems, but they arose from the idea that a machine could work faster and be more efficient when dealing with clients. Sadly this doesn’t take into account the ‘human touch’. We in the UK balance a very fine line with the human touch. We like to feel our concerns are being addressed by a real person who will work hard to resolve them, but we often also don’t like them getting too familiar.

A good case in point, a certain coffee chain. When this coffee chain started a policy of asking a customer’s name to put on their coffee, many in the UK saw this as an unnecessary invasion of personal life. This was an example of getting TOO personal. On the other side though, the use of automated telephone systems and overseas call centres have damaged the reputation of several companies. It is a fine line between knowing and respecting about your clients but remembering that you a business and are offering a service. If you only meet a customer once, you probably don't need to know their name.

Who are you selling to?
Selling to your friend down the street is a bit different to talking to the head of a multinational corporation. Know your clients. How formal do they want you to be? Is asking “how is the weather” a pleasant distraction or an unnecessary waste of their time? Never assume any 2 clients want the same service. If you see a client on a regular basis, build up a mental profile of how they like to be addressed and tailor your approach to that. Knowing your clients and the best way to present yourself to them can make the difference between a sale and a miss.

What technology do you have?
Technology can be very effective in making a company more efficient and customer friendly, but over reliance on technology can also be its own pitfall. As stated before, automated systems rarely go down well, so having a UK based phone contact, preferably with strong relevant skills to your product can be far more effective. Call centres overseas often lack the technical or cultural understanding required to maintain a high service. Our nation is a very subtle one, and subtle things within our cultural history can make a massive impact. Understanding those cues and being able to react to them correctly can be difficult to do if you are located half way around the world. 

Also having ‘predictive’ technology can make things faster for you as well. Having a device that can tell who a caller/emailer is based upon their telephone number/email address can make things far faster and simpler. Having a client’s profile infront of you before they’ve even said “Good Morning” will save you and them a lot of time.

Vision ICT is always looking to make the most of its customer service. We will ALWAYS maintain a UK based phone number that allows you to get in contact with us directly, we understand the need for a human touch. We will also use the latest technology to make our responses quicker and more efficient for our client’s. Our new Zendesk system has allowed us to track support emails better than ever before, and we will continue to use technology to help us help YOU, whilst remembering why our clients choose us in the first place.

Until next time, stay well!

Next month – Importance of Data Backup