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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.

Customers expect consistency across channels

What defines great service is that your customers have a consistent experience across the board, no matter whom they are talking to in the organisation. From the customer perspective, it is one brand and one voice. They expect you to remember what you're doing and saying at every step of the process, whether it be in your store, on the phone or via social media.

Customers like to help themselves, and each other

Increasingly, customers are using social media and customer forums to find the information they need and resolve problems themselves. Helping them do this through self service capabilities will help your organisation save a lot of time and resources. While an organisation should always monitor the conversations about their brand, sometimes sitting back and listening can be more valuable than reacting to every conversation.

Staff will resist an unfriendly support package

In addition to your customers, your employees will expect your customer support software to be intuitive and easy to use. Younger employees have grown up with simple, customer-oriented software that runs on many devices. They demand nothing less from the software they use at work to support their customers. This is especially urgent given that there is often a high degree of turnover in support staff, which means that a long learning curve isn't feasible.

Lengthy and expensive support software investments are history

As organisations work to update their support software infrastructure to keep up with the expectations of today's demanding customers, they're no longer willing to make the major investments in hardware, software, professional services, and training that have traditionally been dictated by enterprise software vendors. This new frugality, along with an unwillingness to expend 6-12 months for installation and customisation prior to going live, has served as the impetus for many establishments to move to cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions.

Your customers have much higher expectations about how and when you'll support them, and they expect you to keep track of all interactions. At the same time, your employees need your support software to provide the same ease- of-use and quality that they're used to on their smartphones and Web browsers. They also want to access their data from anywhere at any time, and they depend on the support application to automatically and logically tie together all threads of the customer care experience.

While this might sound like mission impossible, many large organisations in Asia have already started to move away from legacy IT systems and clunky contact centres to adopt this more modern, friendly and integrated support approach. For your organisation to keep pace with competitors and meet customer expectations, you too must be prepared to address the changing face of customer care.

Daniel Scheltinga is director of support and services for Asia Pacific at cloud-based customer service software provider, Zendesk. 


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