When it comes to choosing a business voice service provider, one of the most important factors to consider is quality of customer service and technical support they deliver. Most customers, be they commercial or residential, consider customer support a core value of a technology business.
This perception, however, is frequently overlooked by technology juggernauts which focus on technical support efficiency, often overestimating the benefit of customers self-service. Accustomed to thinking about customer care in terms of technological solution, they choose the most “cost-effective” operating models by pushing (or rather shoving) primary customer contact to the web and making each successive step a part of hierarchy designed with the same intent. To them it’s all about numbers: by outsourcing technical support major telecom carriers and regional CLECs save millions of dollars, cut call handling times aiming at handling more calls with less technical support personnel.
Smaller business VoIP service providers, however, appear to put higher value on their client relationship and have a different appreciation for the role which technical support plays in it. Their service and support organizations face an increasingly complex technical environment coupled with demanding customers who expect their business to be supported heterogeneously—despite the complexity and composition of their multivendor network infrastructure.
SATISFACTION OR LOYALTY ?
Many business VoIP service providers think that an 80% satisfaction rating (satisfied and very satisfied customers) is a reasonable score. But is it really? Research shows that an 80% rating indicates that you are merely an average performer in the industry and your service has no point of differentiation. In reality, it is only “very satisfied” customers who are actually loyal – everybody else just feels indifferent about your service and will switch to another provider as soon as they see cost advantage.
Other realities about customers (dis)satisfaction include:
- Happy customers tell four to five others of their positive experience
- Dissatisfied customers will tell nine to twelve others how bad it was
- It costs about five to six times more to attract new customer than to keep an existing one
BUILDING TOTAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE ONE STEP AT A TIME
One of the most important, least understood and poorly appreciated concepts is the fact that technical support must extend beyond tactical problem resolution service. For technical support to become a strategic customer retention tool, it needs to:
- Support client’s business rather than just their I.T.
- Maintain high level of technical competency by:
- Asking customers analytical questions (not the same ones over and over again)
- Having first suggested fix solve the problem rather than have customer go through aggravating trial-and-error iterations
- Solving problem fast and for good
When customers recognize that they are being listened to and not scripted, and that the analyst is asking a logical set of questions, it builds confidence and trust in the analyst and the organization.
Getting to this level of support capability is not easy. In solving customers problems quality of troubleshooting is critical. At DLS we are constantly striving to provide the highest quality of troubleshooting training available, and continually making improvements to educational and cross-training programs. An important skill in solving problems, especially ill-structured problems, is the production of coherent arguments to justify solutions and actions. Through analysis, training, and business process improvement, DLS strives to increase the quality of troubleshooting and focuses on building long-term customer value.