I've been thinking for a while what makes a good customer service good.
One of the key issues that we need to realise when we offer someone our support for any problem, is that the issue to be resolved is usually a blocker for something else. If someone's email is not working, that needs to be resolved, but the important thing there is that not being able to send or receive emails is stopping that person not just from doing that, but perhaps from doing their work, or reaching out to someone they need to, so a problem, no matter how minor it might look like to someone, could be a major issue for someone else.
Last week (last example on this post, I promise), I went to the town centre near my office, in Horsham, West Sussex with my wife. We needed to do different things so we split up and each one went their way, and we agreed to call each other when finished so we can get together. As it turns out, the mobile phone company had chosen that day to do planned, essential work on the mobile network, taking the whole town centre off the grid for 24 hours. It's not difficult to find out which company it was as I tweeted my complain to them that day, and the response I got was scripted, cold, impersonal. They apologised for the problems, but that was pretty much it. Big company, no customer service. Losing mobile coverage might be minor to some, like us, we eventually got reunited the old fashion way, no thanks to my mobile phone network, but perhaps for someone needing to call 999 this wouldn't have been funny at all.
Over the years I had the opportunity to manage all kinds of teams within IT. Some more technical than others, but the one and only consistent trait in all of them was that the team was made of people that understood people and the problems behind the issue being reported.
This will definitely make it interesting when it comes to AI, and support chat bots. Not because they won't be possible, there already are several successful ones operating around the world, and as I heard the other day about a concierge chatbot from a hotel in London, the most tipped "member of staff" was this chatbot as it is so efficient at resolving what the hotel passengers need.
Knowledge is very important when you run a technical team that needs to resolve complex issues, but understanding the underlying issue is key, and keeping in touch with the customer is essential.
There is no point in having a highly skilled team if they don't understand your customers, what they need, and when they need it. Sometimes it's best to go off script and work with a customer to resolve an issue quickly than spend a lot of time trying to stay within the boundaries of the script. It has happened to me lots of times and I imagine it will carry on happening, but I won't give any more examples because I promised.
Whether the team is made of a bunch of computers running AI chatbots, or technically savvy individuals. The key to a good support experience is to help your customer achieve what they are using your services for all the way, and perhaps look beyond the problem reported. That is why the happiest customers are always the ones that report the team helping them went the extra mile for them.
If you need some help with your support journey, call us on 01403 801 001, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
© CIO on Demand UK. 2018