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What CIOs can learn about customer service from small business

Daniel Scheltinga, director of support and services, Asia Pacific, Zendesk | Oct. 24, 2014
I’ve listed my modern customer service principles below, which all organisations, large and small, can learn from.

Many organisations have discovered, sometimes the hard way, that their customers are far more connected, sophisticated, and opinionated than ever before. This evolution has impacted both the process of delivering support as well as the software necessary to carry out these tasks.

Mid-to-large sized enterprises are particularly susceptible to these new pressures, given the thousands-to-millions of clients that they support, the number of transactions that they process, their multinational and multilingual workforce, and budgetary pressures.

Since the early days, small companies have been quick to adopt relevant apps, leveraging technology that was once only available to the big end of town. But being big doesn't mean your customer service has to be bad, and many of our large enterprise clients are offering their customers a great service and a positive experience.

I've listed my modern customer service principles below, which all organisations, large and small, can learn from.

Customers choose how they communicate with you
With the rise of the smartphone we have turned into a connected society. Your customers now expect to communicate with you at any time of the day or night, using a variety of different channels such as social media, phone calls, the Web, text messages and email. They also presume that you'll keep track of all interactions, no matter how they began or continue.

Customers expect answers faster than ever before
Regardless of how they initiate a conversation with you, customers today have shortened response expectations. Once the customer has alerted you to their grievance, they expect an answer quickly and aren't content to wait until normal business hours. Long intervals between the presentation of a problem and its resolution are not acceptable anymore.

Customers' voices are louder than ever before
With the rise of social media, customers are more empowered than ever before. We can influence not only our family and friends, but also the whole social Web using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Compared to five to ten years ago, the customer voice is so much louder today. Customer service no longer happens in a closed room, it's a very public experience. Everyone can jump into that conversation, from within the company or outside of it.

Customers want to see your personality

As people we all want something we can relate to; we don't want to deal with a faceless organisation. We want real people with real personalities on the other side of the telephone or the email or the chat message. Too often big businesses lose touch with this principle and treat their customers like a complaint number rather than an individual. What you need to strive for as an enterprise big or small, is genuine, open and honest communication with your customers and to leave them with a positive feeling after every interaction.


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