Customers are the heart of your business

This week I attended a Customer Service briefing at Telecom New Zealand. We listened into some calls through the contact centre and were breifed about Telecom's Customer Service approach, technology and future strategies. 

There were some great insights that I would like to share with you.

Get the core service right - then you have the right to talk about other services
Customer Service is also a great sales strategy. When a customer calls with an issue or question you have the opportunity to exceed expectations, remedy any faults and build a rapport with that person. If you archive that rapport you have further chance to mention other products or service that may benefit them. Rapport is about relationship building, creating a personal connection that makes everyone feel comfortable, chatty and happy to share other bits of information.

 

For Telecom it's not just lip service and technology that will make the difference to you or I. Telecom has 8000 staff who are all becoming customer centric. People need a fundamental change in mindset to achieve the desired outcomes and satisfaction levels Telecom are committed to achieving.

Staff need to know more about customers, they need to be personally in touch with customers, to understand issues and process from their perspective, to be able to sympathise. Telecom has programs encouraging staff from all departments to listen in on calls and spend time in stores.


Reduce the reasons to contact

Believe it or not but most customers would rather not to have anything to do with you. Most people need a reason to make contact. Constant monitoring, customer and staff feedback is crucial to identifying process weaknesses. For Telecom every aspect of the process is critical from making sure the technician installs a line correctly, to clear installation instructions and a website with simple navigation. If you can analyse why and what people are contacting you about, you can take the most frequently asked questions and build knowledge and processes to reduce those issues. Contact centres are moments of truth.


Good Agents have life experience

Delivering good customer service requires sympathy, understanding and negotiation skills. Telecom says its unlikely that you'll find any school leavers in their contact centres. Most of their CS staff are mature people with plenty of life experience. Understand some of life's most events gives customer service agents perspective and understand when helping others through that process.

 

So there we go, a few tasty insights. Customer Service is social and Telecom is learning to be more open, to encourage sharing and collaboration putting the customer at the heart of their business.