Does a Faster IT Network Mean Better Customer Service?
For most companies, there's a notion that the people they employ are the difference between poor customer service and a fantastic customer experience.
In truth, customer service often has much deeper roots. After all, even the best customer service agent is only as effective as the systems they are using to support the client.
So, what kind of impact does IT have on customer care? And does speeding up your IT network make it easier to keep your customers happy?
Do customers need speed?
At first glance, the idea of quicker IT systems might not seem like something that has any impact on your customers - but it really does.
In truth, what your customers want from your business will vary significantly from company to company - but there are some universal truths that apply when customers interact with your business.
In many cases, customers simply do not want to talk to a company - they would much rather the relationship worked smoothly without them having to take time out of their busy day to communicate. However, as a necessary evil, communication with a business is generally always better if it's kept as brief as possible. IT can help to keep things prompt and concise.
Of course, customers might be getting in touch to place an order - in which case they might be more keen to spend some time discussing their needs. While speed of the interaction isn't as important here - it is still vital that they get to speak to the right person as quickly as possible, and again, that's an issue IT can help with.
Almost every customer interaction that your company has will benefit from quick and accurate IT systems.
Keeping your systems up
Since we almost always rely on the screen in front of us to deliver the service a customer is requesting, it's key that the systems we use are there when we need them.
Since so many applications are based on a central server or in the cloud, speed is absolutely important when it comes to making sure you can process the customer's request immediately. In truth though, this can be tricky - especially when you don't have IT support standing next to you all the time.
With this in mind, SD WAN has been a saving grace for many company's customer service provisions.
A Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD WAN) is a network system that allows 'hands on' control of the network devices, even if your IT support can't physically access the devices in question.
A traditional WAN relies on people being able to physically access devices to maintain them. Sometimes it's as simple as resetting them, in other instances, there are physical settings that need to be adjusted. Having just a single device out of action can be costly for a business - so SD WAN offers your business the chance to handle problems almost instantly, even if the user who's having a problem is at the other side of the planet.
Handling your calls effectively
You might think that the last thing your customer wants to hear when they call to speak to your business is a "Press 1 for Sales, 2 for customer service..." type system - but in actual fact, studies show that customers prefer the accuracy of an automated phone system when compared to talking with an end user.
Part of the reason an automated system is welcomed is because it allows accuracy when it comes to finding someone who can help with your query quickly. Without an automated system, you'll potentially have to recite your reason for calling to two or more people before you start to get the answers you need.
This is where hosted telephones come in. A hosted system is, in simple terms, a way of your customer interfacing with various business applications using their phone. Need to pay a bill? No problem, they can access limited functions of your payment gateway. Need to access customer support? Great - they can hold to talk to someone or access a series of pre-prepared help topics that they can listen to on the phone.
With the use of APIs, hosted telephone services can tie into a huge range of applications. You can even use specialist services to strip significant parts of the process out of your end-users' workflow. For example, where a customer service representative might usually spend a lot of time typing up notes when a call ends, there are systems that can integrate with a hosted phone service that will automatically transcribe the call in real time, allowing your employee to focus on the soft people skills that they bring to the role.
As a result, hosted phone systems will often mean a slicker service for your customers - and saved time for your end-users.
Managing the relationship
How many times have you called a company, only to find you have to bring the person you're speaking to up to speed with the issue you're discussing, before you can progress things any further?
Frustrating isn't it?
In fact, customers cite repeating themselves to numerous agents as one of the most irritating things they face when they're trying to access account support - but it's something the right software can overcome.
A customer relationship management tool is used to bring your customers' details into one place. Generally, CRMs are cloud based, so all your service agents can access and add to the held information in real time. Even if a customer gets cut off from a call and calls back, getting a different agent, the next end-user can pick up when the previous team member left off.
It's useful to note that a good CRM system will often integrate with an automated 'hosted' phone service too - so your account information will even log tasks that the customer has carried out without service support. When it comes to accessing the right support in a timely manner, there are few IT systems that match a CRM tool for efficiency.
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