Executive Interview : Customer Service in 2012 - Exclusive Interview With Roshen Joseph from DHL Express Singapore Pte. Ltd.
In your opinion, do you believe the customer service you get today from other companies is better or worse than it was say 5 years ago?
Customer Service today has generally improved with more and more companies realizing the importance of Good Service and After Sales Support. Companies who have kept the Customer at the heart of every transaction and traditionally offered great customer service has grown from good to great.
Do you believe there is a correlation between the service you receive as a consumer and your loyalty to the supplier?
Yes, good service brings in more customer loyalty. most of my buying habits have been driven by my experience with the product and the service i have been offered. Even when something goes wrong, what is important to me is how they handle it to provide me a solution.
In your opinion, which industry sectors provide great service and which ones are poor?
I feel its difficult to pin point a particular industry sector that provides great service. One may argue its often the players in the service industry who are known for good service. But if you look at top players in any industry, in one way or the other they all are differentiated from their competitors because of the service they offer.
Can you recall a really good experience recently - where you were WOW'd by the service you received?
Recently I was wow'd by 2 companies - Apple and DBS Bank. Both different scenarios but what stood for me is the fact that both scenarios, as a customer, i felt valued during every interaction i had.
In case of Apple, I had ordered an iPad and incidentally the one i received had a manufacturing defect. I called Apple Customer Service and I got a replacement the very next day with instructions on how to send back the faulty unit. The CSA had asked me for my credit card details as a guarantee till they receive the faulty unit back, which was fine with me. After over 10 days, I suddenly get an alert from my bank that there is a transaction on my credit card with Apple. When i checked the detail the amount charged to my card was equivalent to the price of the iPad. I called up my bank to verify if this was a correct alert i got and they confirmed it, which meant I was charged twice now. I had to call up Apple Customer Service again and the CSA who answered did not have an answer to my question. But she assured me that she would call back by certain time with more details. I was not surprised that she did call me back before the time committed to me because I kind of expect that when I am dealing with Apple. It seems, they did not have a record of my faulty iPad reaching their fulfillment centre. Now that could not happen as I had returned it with the same courier as instructed by them using a pre printed waybill which i got with my replacement unit. Once i send them the tracking number, the CSA called back apologizing and offered me a 30% discount voucher for my next online purchase. What mattered to me most was the way i was treated throughout the interactions I had and the fact that the CSA kept her commitment to call me back every time she promised. Now the voucher has its pros and cons, and i would have been happy anyways since my issue was sorted out. But it just turned out to be a quite good gesture to top off some excellent customer service.
Talking about bad experiences, where do companies go wrong with the service they provide?
Companies often forget the fact that Customers have choice today. The internet has provided customers an easy access to review products and service faster and more comprehensively to arrive at a buying decision. Delivering a good product is not enough these days. Companies forget that fact that they need to invest in growing the skills of their frontline people and inculcating the culture of good customer service in their employees.
Have you noticed any differences in service from people from different cultures?
Yes, i have noticed differences in service from people from different cultures. This can vary from not so significant things like to how they address you, to more critical aspects like tone of voice, words used, etc.
The service culture is driven by the organization. As a organization, if you serve a domestic market, its fair to say they should follow local culture. But if you are an international organization serving different markets, you need to have a more wider global approach to service whilst appreciating local culture in each market.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding the use of technology in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Whilst automated service like IVR, Online Web services, etc are being used more widely today because its more cost efficient and provides options to customers, organizations must be careful to simplify these solutions for the customer. Having latest technology is of no use, if a customer finds it a hassle to deal.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding staff in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Many organizations keep saying everyone is a salesperson. In a similar way, good customer service must be inculcated into the organization DNA, making every staff realize that what they do impacts their customers directly or indirectly.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding business processes in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Keep it simple! Keep your customer at the heart of everything you do. If it does not add any value to your customer or the organization, don't waste time effort and money on it.
In your opinion, how should contact centers measure the level of service they give?
Contact Centres should have a right mix of KPIs and measurement processes in place to measure both the efficiency of their operation and the quality of service their provide to their customers. Industry standard KPIs like Grade of Service, Abandon Call Rate, Call Quality Evaluation Scores, etc are critical to the Contact Centre operation. In addition to this, there must be a robust customer feedback mechanism in place like Post Call Survey, C-Sat, NPA, etc., These can provide organization with valuable feedback/data, but the key here is to use that to identify the improvement areas and do what it takes to achieve that improvement.
Lastly, can you share with us one of the worst customer service experiences you have experienced recently?
I had my worst ever customer experience with a well known budget airline operating in SEA. Back in Nov 2011, I had taken a trip from Singapore to Hong Kong on this budget airline and they lost my baggage. Unfortunately, I had luggage for my subsequent trip to Capetown as well which just ruined my whole trip. What came after that was perhaps the worst customer service anyone could experience. Surprisingly, it was not just the airline, but even dealing with the baggage handling company for that airline in Hong Kong was a nightmare. Lack of ownership, response, respect/empathy, not responding to customer calls (even when i was sitting in front of them), hanging up on a customer, rude behavior, you just name what you don't expect from a customer service and i have experienced all that. I just got a final standard settlement after 4 months of frustrating chase. I have learnt my lesson, but for the sheer service that i have got from this organization, I will never use or recommend them ever again even if they are the last airline on the planet!
About DHL Express (S) Pte Ltd:
DHL is the global market leader in the logistics industry. DHL commits its expertise in international parcel, express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2012
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