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Guest Blogger

Nick Grey, Founder and CEO, Grey Technology (Gtech)

Delivering really good customer service is important to me, I couldn’t consider Gtech to be a success if we didn’t have happy customers. It is customers recommending us to others and coming back to buy more Gtech products that drives our growth. That’s why we spend a lot of time and resource monitoring and improving our customer experience.

Customer support is especially important when a relatively new company like Gtech, competes with our well-resourced market leader.  It may seem like a tall order for smaller companies to match the quality of customer service provided by larger ones. Actually, I think it’s our duty to listen more carefully and react well to customer feedback. As you grow, that means knowing what technology is available and upgrading your facilities before your service level falls.

I see great customer service as an investment and opportunity to out-perform larger competitors. Often, companies who have been around for a while use outdated customer services and don’t take much notice of individual customers – that won’t be good enough for many who rightfully expect seamless, efficient and rapid service.

It is more expensive and slower for larger companies to reinvent and rejuvenate the services they provide to their customers. But a growing business – who isn’t bogged down by an older system – can stand out by offering a creative, purpose-built and individually designed experience from start to finish. It seems like everything and everyone is going mobile these days, so being able to interact easily on ‘smart phones’ and ‘tablets’ is a good place to start. But how do you cost-effectively reach your customers via a wide variety of channels?

One option is cloud technology, where your support system is hosted by a specialist company and accessed via the internet. Companies of all sizes are busy adopting cloud based systems – which are often easy and cost effective to set up. Cloud based systems can provide a high level of reporting giving useful insights into customers’ spending patterns. This can help with marketing as well as offering functions to trace, track and manage customer enquiries and interactions across lots of channels. Cloud systems are particularly useful if your business runs from multiple sites or has mobile operatives, but still needs to maintain always-up-to-date multi-channel customer support. One drawback of cloud systems can be usage fees though; they tend to license usage rather than sell systems outright, so bear that in mind.

Another important feature for a growing company is scalability. Around 18 months ago it became clear that our hard-working, diligent and dutiful customer service team were about to be swallowed up by the increasing demands of our growth. The same team structure and approach had so far handled an increase from around a dozen transactions a day to several thousand transactions a day. We needed a contact centre solution that would help us support our customer advisors so they could continue to offer the high level of service we were used to. As soon as I saw how Avaya IP Office worked I knew we needed to implement it urgently. It took around 2 months to install the technoloy and link it to our Magento ecommerce site, but the change has made a huge difference.

Being able to automatically distribute a wide variety of communications to advisors, combined with them having rapid access to customer records and order status is the bedrock of good service. When you combine a happy team, good product performance and thorough product knowledge, you are able to deliver the 5 star service which is so important to us. The switch to an IP-based telephone system also reduced telephony costs.

So, there you have it. If customer service is important to you, make an effort to do it well, especially if you are in a competitive market. It is a way to outperform larger companies, who may be slow to adopt the latest technologies. Even businesses that are only just getting started can provide multi-channel customer support in an innovative, straightforward and manageable way.

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