By Paul Rigby
Recently, a New York Times article about tech support caught my eye. The article described some of the challenges facing tech support providers as service complexity is increasing. Among other factors, one important challenge is that customers are more tech savvy than ever before and can resolve simple tech issues by themselves. The article reported that some providers are not responding to these challenges in a way that serves their customers’ needs. That idea, and the article in general, got me thinking about the state of support services, from IT support to customer experience and everything in between.
In business, it’s well known that acquiring new clients is considerably more expensive than keeping those you already have. Similarly, satisfied customers are the ones that stick around. At Vitalyst, we do a great job in delighting our customers, something borne out by our customer satisfaction rating, which is best in class for our industry.
No doubt, customer experience requirements are changing rapidly these days, with social media, analytics, and new devices and technologies reshaping the landscape. To manage this challenge, we recently built upon our outstanding reputation and adopted a Customer Experience (CX) philosophy to differentiate ourselves and ensure that we maintain positive client relationships through outstanding service delivery.
No doubt, customer experience requirements are changing rapidly these days, with social media, analytics, and new devices and technologies reshaping the landscape.
More than just a rebranding exercise, this was a complete rethinking of our external-facing processes and staff-engagement practices. Not only is our customer satisfaction rating the best in our class, but we have low staff turnover—in the single digits—collaborative innovation teams, work teams led by Performance Coaches, and a commitment to invest in newer and better digital technologies. The result is a support organization and environment that is dedicated to taking our customer experience strategy to the next level.
To incorporate this approach into your business strategy, here are three important concepts support teams need to keep in mind when it comes to delivering a world-class customer experience.
1. Solve problems, don’t end calls
As the Times article says, too many customer service calls today are focused on getting callers on the phone and getting them off as quick as possible. This may solve a singular issue once, but fails to ever deliver long-term productivity gains because the root cause may not be resolved. By identifying the causes of problems and finding lasting solutions, customers/employees will be able to sustain their productivity and increase their efficiency.
2. Help customers achieve their goals
IT support should always be approached with the customers’ end goals in mind. What are they trying to accomplish? What information are they trying to convey through technology? How can technology improve what they’re trying to do or make it easier? And finally, how can we help simplify their tasks? More than just solving a problem, this helps build adaptable skills for our customers and positions IT support as a trusted adviser.
3. Exceed expectations
Organizations need to exceed customers’ service expectations, not just meet them. That means training staff in both technical and people skills and making sure customers can understand what the support staff is saying. Providing resolutions to customers’ pressing problems is just one part of the customer service equation. Mastery of the latest software is equally as important as the ability to be attentive, intuitive, empathetic and proactive.
At Vitalyst, our goal is to make every customer an enthusiastic advocate of our services. And therein lies the real difference between an old-school IT service mentality—one that focuses on the needs of IT—and a customer experience mentality. One creates an environment full of reluctant customers, while the other creates engaged customers that recognize the true value of IT and support services.