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Real-Time Communication is the Key to Great Customer Service

By Mike Henstridge

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

By now, everyone should understand the value of fantastic customer service. According to this Zendesk report, 95% of customers share bad customer service experiences, and 87% share good experiences. 45% share bad customer service on social media and 30% share the good. Once the story is online, it is very easy for it to go viral. Providing good customer service is not hard; it involves a lot of common sense and rational employees. Providing great customer service, however, is far more difficult. Especially for companies working with technicians in the field, maintaining great customer service and completing day-to-day operations can feel like an overwhelming task. That’s where real-time communication comes in.

Real-time communication isn’t new, but only recently has it become practical and efficient with the emergence of cloud-based software. While in the past field team managers could call up field techs to deal with issues as they arose, real-time communication has evolved from a verbal transfer into a transfer of information, images, and status. Managers can now see where their techs are and receive information about their current work status as it happens. The use of digital forms allows managers and business owners to get PO’s and retail audit data as the techs record it. If there are any anomalies with an order, or immediate action needs to be taken, managers can remedy the situation before it becomes a bigger problem.

So how exactly do these improvements to internal communication benefit customers?

Before real-time, we saw an example like this: a customer is waiting patiently for a field technician to arrive at a pre-determined time. After fifteen minutes pass, the technician still isn’t there, and the customer calls the company directly. A new tech is assigned to the location, and the customer is serviced 40 to 50 minutes later.

The advances in real-time communication mean that before the customer has any idea that something is wrong, field team managers can see that their techs are not in the area or are stopped for some reason. They can contact the tech to diagnose the problem, and quickly re-route another tech to reach the customer by the correct time.

Out of these two scenarios, which customer is going to be more likely to recommend the business which serviced them? While it differs from organization to organization, there is measurable ROI for quality customer service, and companies who refuse to adapt to new technologies and business practices will find themselves left behind.

Communication and customer service go hand-in-hand. New software innovations and the incredible spread of mobile devices has increased expectations of businesses, technicians, and customers across the board. What was once the standard for customer service is no longer good enough.