How to get great customer service from your technology partner
It shouldn’t be a surprise that many major technology vendors have experienced increased volume as the global workforce has moved to work remotely, some dealing with an unprecedented volume of customer service queries.
Apps, platforms and technology service providers are rising to a few common challenges. First, they’re experiencing a high volume of queries around how to make technology products work seamlessly to support remote working. A second and closely related cause of increased volume is that many customers are now using additional technology features to help bridge the gaps, and because of this, vendors are seeing an increase in feature-based queries.
So, as customers, how can you make sure that you and your team are getting the support you need from your technology vendor, as quickly as possible in order to support your day-to-day business needs?
1. Research and communicate about your issue internally: now that the workforce is geographically dispersed, it’s easy to overlook daily communication with your colleagues to assess whether they may be having identical issues with your main business applications, platforms and service that are causing interruptions to business as usual. As an organisation, you can optimise your customer service interactions if you consider a unified approach by first agreeing on issues internally and determine their priority levels, while also establishing key points of contact for each issue.
2. Understand any alterations to your vendor’s customer service hours of operations, or changes to logging tickets: some vendors are offering extended hours, while others now have different processes for logging various levels of issues to ensure the most demanding issues are prioritised for assured business continuity for the customer. If you have an urgent issue, make sure you use your vendor’s ticketing system to tag it appropriately so that it’s prioritised accordingly. You may also want to follow up any urgent issues with a phone call, utilising any ‘call back’ features your vendor has in place so that you don’t spend your day on the phone. Better still, check the vendor’s website to see if there is a self-help option that may get you to your answer the quickest.
3. Use available e-learning: in order to bridge the gaps in collaboration and face-to-face contact, people are exploring new features in technology. Beyond this, with a little more time on their hands, some customers may also be exploring the benefits of becoming power users around advanced features, particularly around collaborative elements and time saving features in cloud-based technology.
You may find it faster and more efficient to use your vendor’s e-learning tools to explore how to use these advanced features versus attempting to learn by trial and error. Check out what your vendor has to offer by way of tutorials, and if they don’t offer anything specific to your feature queries, suggest they create an interactive web tutorial via a webcast so that you and others can ask questions. The benefit will be mutual as vendors can add recorded webcasts to their knowledge resources. On that note, it’s also worth checking whether your vendor has updated their knowledge base recently, as many have taken the opportunity to do so. This enables customers to take up the self-service customer help opportunities available, 24/7.
4. Check in with your customer service representative: just because we’re working from home, doesn’t mean contact between customers and their customer service representatives should pause. Frequent communication is key, and setting a regular, recurring call to discuss your unique customer service requirements can help your vendor to understand your unique position and needs. Use video where possible to further enhance the engagement.
5. Share your feedback with your vendor: one of the best ways to improve customer service is to share your feedback with your representatives. A little feedback can go a long way to positively shape future experiences, and if you have a great customer experience, take the time to share this as well in order to support and appreciate your customer service agents.
In times of increased demand, it may seem difficult to rise to the top of the customer service queue. However, if you use the channels available to you, research your issues carefully and present them to your vendor in a united, organised way, today’s new landscape has every possibility of bringing vendors and customers closer together to solve issues faster and more efficiently.
Elaine Roche is Head of Customer Success at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting UK, with responsibility for its Professional Services and Customer Support Departments. Elaine has over 14 years of experience working in the software industry. Prior to Wolters Kluwer, Elaine was Director of Professional Services at Experian Data Quality.