The era of converged customer service

By: MILLICENT MWOLOLO

Customer service long been viewed through the lens of a customer making a phone call, or sending an email, and a customer care representative responding to that inquiry. However, with many communication interface channels targeting the customer today, modern businesses have the enormous task to enlarge their concept of customer service.

For any given sector company, customer service needs to embrace all interface channels that interact with a current and prospective customer. These include: the website, the accounts receivable staff, the delivery person, the on-site technician, and many such other roles in the production and services delivery chain.

All these teams need to have a working idea of customer care, if a company is to strategically position itself to reap by clinching a customer share and making profits from both online and walk –in-traffic.

BUILDING VISION

If any of these interface areas are untrained and ineffective, customers will make rather harsh and often immediate evaluations. Soft skills training should thus become a core part of a company’s knowledge capital.

With most companies today striving to give that much-desired customer experience to their clientele, and with most businesses going online, there is need to create that customer experience right from the website. A company’s website is the face of that company to potential clientele and therefore should be as interactive as possible.

The implication of this is that everything from the pictorials, to the content of the website should reflect on the company and its strengths. And to support the customer more, the company should go ahead and aid their client by providing their contacts for ease of accessibility. Even more, is providing for clients to be able to shop for products and book services online.

Building vision and developing strategy are not the only functions of management; they must put their business teams in a position to succeed. Companies can fully succeed in this by offering soft skills training to their staff.

This is especially for online production and service teams, as they need the skills to be able to listen to social media and gauge what the customer, and potential client is actually saying. To build on exceptional customer service, this message should be effectively conveyed to the product and service development team.

Converged customer service training has a big impact on the success of an organisation, and can therefore be used to motivate and engage members of staff. They get to enhance their communication skills, listen to the customer more, develop problem-solving approaches; and the need to be organised.

If done across all cadres of staff, it gives the workforce a standard process to deal with customer issues or questions and creates a sense of team spirit at the same time.

BRAND LOYALTY

By demonstrating that converged customer service is important and essential enough to be ordinary, employees feel as if they are a part of an essential and valued business process. This boosts their confidence and morale; thus transforming the whole workplace environment and generate good vibes.

It gives customer service representatives the capacity to solve customer problems, spot and exploit additional sales opportunities, and to build brand loyalty. For instance, communication effectiveness is very essential for customer service personnel. This includes; call control, rapport, phone etiquette, conflict resolution, and so on.

The whole purpose of customer service training is to improve satisfaction for valuable patrons and purchasers. This in turn will lead to the customer feeling appreciated, respected and cherished. Customers can rest assured that any issues or problems will be resolved quickly and competently.

Companies that make customer service an ordinary part of what they do, as any other core business function usually make it big in winning new clientele and retaining existing customers. This leaves no room for worry about securing repeat business, as the company has built a loyal group of customers.