Customer service is one of the major pillars holding up any enterprise. Whether your ‘customers’ are clients seeking your professional services, or consumers seeking your goods, the same basic principle applies – treat your customers well and they will keep coming back to your business, even if they have had cause to query or complain about it in the past. With standards of service being so important, it is unsurprising that other services have evolved to help an enterprise give the best customer service it possibly can.
Virtual and real customer service desks
When most consumers think of customer service, they think of either a customer services desk in a store or the customer helpline of a larger company, such as an energy provider. Both these institutions have the same purpose, however, to act as a first point-of-call for any customers with a matter to take up. In the case of the helpline, incoming calls are passed along to the relevant department, whether it be sales, refunds, account changes or other queries.
Call centres in the clouds
It used to be the case that such contact centre services could only be provided by larger firms with sufficient infrastructure to build and/or maintain a call centre, plus staff. Advances in IT and telecoms have now brought just this set-up within reach of most small and medium-sized enterprises, however, thanks to virtualisation, smart software and the cloud. There are now companies that offer contact centre services operated largely or entirely via online applications.
Using smart technology to improve the customer experience
The software involved is a great step forward compared to old-style switchboards or call centres, eliminating many of customers’ gripes about using call centres in general – being put on hold; being passed from pillar to post, etc. – since the allocation of calls to the right departments can take place automatically, while the systems can also record calls, recognise frequent or VIP numbers and give them priority, effortlessly link sales and billing, make voice-activated payments and much more.
No more excuses
Such systems can be set up to either organise and manage incoming calls within its own network before passing them on to the right people in a company, or the entire process can be handled by the software, delivering calls to agents working at home or out in the field using mobile devices such as smartphones. With the technologies becoming more sophisticated almost daily, there’s no longer any excuse for there to be a deficit between what a company offers and the reality experienced by its customers.