If you think that great service is the sole responsibility of the Customer Services Team - then think again. It takes an entire, connected team to deliver great service. Let me explain with an example…
Imagine one of your customers is working from home (because ‘Rona) and their 3G dongle just isn’t cutting it anymore. They want Fibre - uncapped - and they need it yesterday. What’s their first step? Research. Google, their community Facebook group, Whatsapping their closest buddies, checking the flyer dropped into their letterbox - it doesn’t matter. They’ll probably end up on a website for a provider in their area and BINGO - that’s your first ‘service opportunity’.
And who is responsible for this service opportunity? Usually your Marketing Team as they probably put the website or flyer together. Maybe you’re able to provide website sales for your products with some built-in feasibility checking (as Fibre isn’t available in EVERY area yet). That functionality typically comes from your Software/Operations/Product/Sales Team.
Your customer really wants this Fibre, so if there’s no website sales option, they make a call. Or they notice their local supplier has a pop-up stand on the corner of the local park so they pay the supplier a COVID-masked visit. This service opportunity belongs to your Sales Team. Either on the phone or in person. The Salesperson will need to know their technical stuff, have good people skills, know what the product options are and be able to sign the customer up (hopefully on the spot). Yes, the Salesperson is responsible for the immediate service opportunity - but they are relying on the information and tools they have at hand, which come from the Product/Sales/Software/Operations/Marketing Teams.
You see how this story is starting to take shape? In our example, all your customer has done so far is express an interest, nay, NEED, for Fibre, and you’ve already had a few service opportunities which have relied on the Marketing, Sales, Operations, Software and Product Teams. Imagine if those teams weren’t connected? The Salesperson’s tools might not work correctly, or they might display the incorrect product information. The website info might be out of date, or the website sales functionality might be unavailable, or incorrect. Imagine how frustrating that would be for the customer. And they haven’t even signed up yet.
96% of customers will leave you for bad customer service according to a recent Forbes article. Don’t believe me? Here are 50 stats that prove the value of customer experience - another Forbes piece. My point is that bad customer service is damaging. Arguably one of the most damaging factors in an industry with an already high rate of churn. To be successful, great service is something you have to get right.
Imagine our Fibre purchasing example continues and your customer has successfully signed up for your Fibre service. As we all know, this is a process. There are quotes to approve, contracts to be signed, Engineers to be dispatched, cables to be installed and routers and login details to be provisioned and delivered. Only THEN, the customer gets to logon to the World Wide Web with their fancy new Fibre connection. They might have support queries, or billing queries. They might want to upgrade/downgrade your cap or connection speed. They might want some complimentary products (Netflix anyone?). You can see where I’m going with all of this.
Each one of these steps results in a new service opportunity which is related to a different team within your business. Finance - Support - Engineering - Project Management. If those teams are not all singing off the same song sheet, or in our case, looking at the same database, using the same project management tools, or communicating on the same platforms - you can very quickly see how error and delay creeps in. Error and delay are key aspects of frustration. And very quickly, you have delivered exactly the opposite of a ‘great experience’. Have you evaluated your processes recently? Are you aware of what's stopping you from delivering a great customer experience?
I keep using the term ‘Connected Teams’ but what does it actually mean?
A connected team is one that shares a singular platform. A singular database. Each with their own, role-specific views on that information and each with their own relevant and role-specific tools.
For Example: The Sales Team has the ability to create a new lead, and sell them a product - which has related product and billing information. The Finance Team is able to see that information, check and approve the sale. The Operations (Project Management/Engineers) Teams are able to see what products have been sold and are then able to plan and deliver those services accordingly. The Support Team is able to find those customers within the database, see what products and services they have (along with all their other information) and raise support tickets accordingly.
This connected-ness is essential to the efficient availability of information. Once that structure is in place, and the information is available - you can begin to see the power of a connected team.
The benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Visibility of operational information/statistics
- Reduction of costs
- And of course - great customer service
And the ‘Great Service’?
Kate Zabriskie, the author of Business Training Works, once said, "The customer’s perception is your reality." Great service is defined by your ability to affect that perception. To manage customers’ expectations, maintain correct, regular and relevant communications the experience needs to be seamless, or at least, perceived to be seamless.
So as you can see - great service is not the sole responsibility of the Customer Services Team. In order to provide that seamless and great service, you need to invest in a connected team.