All businesses strive to deliver a positive customer experience. After all, loyal customers are the life-blood of most successful models, providing continued business, constructive feedback, and favorable brand awareness. Positive experiences create this kind of loyalty, showing a level of dedication from the provider that customers often feel is well worth returning. But what makes a positive customer experience? And how has COVID-19 impacted this experience? While this wildly depends on customer expectations, there are some metrics that almost always play a part in how enjoyable a company is to work with. Below are the best practices Square 9 Softworks employs to maintain a customer experience champion level of service even during the recent global pandemic.
Communication is Key
Nothing leaves a good impression on a customer like swift and accurate answers. I’m sure most of us can recall a time waiting on hold, being transferred across multiple departments, only to painfully work through a problem that the “expert” doesn’t seem to know how to resolve. These scenarios are far more common than they should be, and it’s always a breath of fresh air when help is provided pain-free. Square 9 endeavors to have our customers’ inquiries and questions answered as quickly and thoroughly as possible. To do so, we have put in place procedures and systems, such as off-hour email options, that our support and customer service teams utilize. We also offer full transparency on our website support page into the number of calls in the queue and the current wait times.
While longer wait times are often the system’s fault rather than the person, they can be avoided by providing employees with the right tools. Square 9 Softworks uses several tools such as ActiveCollab project management software and Salesforce which offer visibility into any open customer discussions allowing for multiple team members to be of assistance. These tools have been extremely valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, many companies experienced an uptick in calls when their service and support reps found themselves working from home for the first time without the proper infrastructure. As a result, many struggled to help their customers. Square 9 was prepared with a continuity plan, so when our team, including support, needed to work remotely, they had the tools to interact with customers just as if they were in the office.
Training and Education are Essential
Training and education are also vital to the customer communication experience. Answering calls quickly is just part of the equation. Knowing “how” to answer customer questions and solve their problems is equally important. Over the past year with customer service and support teams working from home, companies saw hold times balloon by as much as 34 percent and escalations (calls sent up the chain of command) skyrocket more than 68 percent (HBR, Supporting Customer Service Through the Coronavirus Crisis, April 2020). Service teams struggled without peers and managers available to lend a hand.
Employee training is a keystone at Square 9. Each new employee is welcomed on their first day with an education account and a detailed list of classes to complete. The technical team, who is the frontline of communication with our customers, goes through a much more rigorous training process that lasts three to six months and includes a multi-step approach. Each technician begins as other employees with standard class education and testing. This is followed by more testing and training to ensure a thorough understanding of all of Square 9’s digital transformation solutions. Once complete, a technician is put through a series of scenarios in a virtual environment to develop and strengthen their technical skills. Once proficient in all scenarios, technicians enter a shadowing phase where they first shadow current technicians followed by reversed shadowing. This detailed process ensures our customers have the most productive experience when reaching out.
Provide as Advertised
While this may seem like a no-brainer, companies can fail to meet customer expectations in unforeseen circumstances or by being unaware of industry standards. For example, while same week delivery may have been celebrated a decade ago, Amazon significantly raised shipping standards with its two-day guarantee. Staying aware of industry expectations and being able to pivot in unexpected complications will allow you to provide consistent service that meets the quality expected.
Proper staffing levels with seasoned employees will allow for delivery on promises. In the tech industry, retention can be volatile, with the average employee tenure estimated around three years. Square 9 consistently works to provide a positive work environment and to retain our staff. Our support, professional services, and customer service teams’ tenure are above the industry average, allowing our teams to provide our customers with the experience they expect.
The Customer is Always Right
Constructive customer feedback can provide valuable insights into what customer needs are and aren’t met. GlobalSearch by Square 9 Softworks, for example, began as a virtual filing cabinet. As customers’ needs shifted, additional features and services allowed Square 9 to provide customers with tools to tackle countless challenges. The Return to Work Essentials solution was develop based on the need customers had to return to their places of business in a safe and compliant way. Using customer feedback to improve your operations and services in critical areas will always yield more satisfied customers and a better reputation.
Square 9 Softworks is proud to have achieved a perfect 10 rating from our customers on our tech, product, and sales twice in the last few months. To find out more about Square 9 read about us.