Tshepo Charles Hlako
22 September 2020
Introduction and Insights
Circa 2012, freshly cast in the vast sea that is Information Technology and Communications I find myself seated on the ground floor of a major telecommunications company. Hired to help ADSL clients with connectivity issues, but all would take a turn when more hands were needed in customer service. A department which when you walk onto the floor, sounds like what superman probably hears when he can’t focus his super-hearing, chatter from a thousand mouths.
However, the responsibilities were clear, assist customers with their bills, disputes, upgrades/downgrades and migrations. The trick came with what would be performance indicators, how many disputes you can resolve. One of the disputes is resolving a client’s bill or an upgrade. I took it upon myself to find out why the patterns aren’t curbed. The answer to that was that a sales department had these ‘upgrades’ as their main source for reaching targets.
The biggest lesson in this is, compassion and sympathy are key when on the line with a customer. However, what defeats them is the inability to help and seek an indefinite solution to their problem, or one that’d improve their experience even in the slightest.
To be Customer-Centric and Why is it important
However, businesses that are formed with the ‘customer’ at their centre, thrive better in that close relationships that are built over time help to understand their product, achieve their goals, increase their values and improve their business processes and in this comes customer satisfaction – your services are built on meeting customer expectations and needs which become a part of you.
What Has helped me in my Customer Support Roles
One of the best ways that helped me in my role was to take on a client’s issue as if it were my own – if I were one of those frustrated and on the brink of helpless customers I spoke to early in my career, how would I best want my problem to be solved.
- Treat issues with urgency
- Know your product to help a client efficiently (being able to provide answers when asked builds trust and can help keep a client calm and not deepen their frustration)
- Keep client informed
- When the issue is finally resolved, do callbacks to find out how the solution is going
- Tone down the usage of technical jargon
Similarly, the above has proved to help me provide quality service in dealing with client queries, this comes with a depth of knowledge of the product, analyzing and proactively picking up issues or even letting the client know that you’re aware of issues they may be experiencing and working on them.
Improving Customer Support
- Learn to function as a team, as much as you may thrive as an individual – this gives a team an advantage in that you’re all equally capable of helping solve client queries and when a team member is absent, quality doesn’t drop.
- Create and promote Q&A platforms, make them easily available for use. However, I believe Q&As can gain insight from clients if these platforms are in place.
- Customer Service Intelligence. Exploring concepts such as Emotional intelligence or EQ aid employees in improving their social skills, being empathetic, self-regulation and awareness not only does it improve employees and work environments. Investing in CSI (Customer Service Intelligence) allows organizations to tailor support services to their preferences.
- Constant and consistent inclusion of support personnel in product/project planning, demonstrations and user acceptance testing. During these stages, one is able to pick up what might frequently come up as a question or point of assistance from users.
Customer Support: Trends, Cognition and Integration?
In 2020, customers expect a seamless experience. From the moment they discover your brand to getting help, customers expect companies to be responsive. Therefore, businesses can leverage modern CRM platforms to give their customers the best possible experience.
Additionally, the below trends help you transform your customer experience. By applying these trends, you will increase customer loyalty, lower acquisition costs, and maximize your team’s resources.
Unearth Innovative Ways to Delight Customers and Boost Loyalty
Personalize & Humanize Customer Engagement
Empower Live Customer Service to Resolve Issues
Close the Digital Transformation Gap with Unified Communication
Use Automation to Achieve Great Customer Service Experiences
Elevate Customer Sentiment Beyond a Vanity Metric
Leverage Your Workforce’s Intelligence First Over Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Unleash Machine Learning to Drive Customer Success
Build an Omnichannel Customer Experience
Erase Time Zones with Distributed Customer Support Teams
Listen and Act on Customer Feedback
Harness Chatbot to Deliver Real-Time Value
One of the key things I took from a Customer Service Intelligence (CIS) course is that customers don’t know what they don’t know. Most if not all, work on what they know to work with. Constantly keeping them informed and providing innovative solutions is a part of meeting expectations and needs and thus increasing retention.