Executive Interview : Interview With Tricia Asuncion From Advantage Communications
Seeing the forest through the trees is often difficult. Taking stock of your position within the contact center industry is important and ContactCenterWorld.com went in search of answers from our global membership as to whether or not the industry is better than it was five years ago.
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?
I believe it's better today. Elements of "Customer Service" factors are present (usually) such as empathy, building rapport, efficient service, quality information, and resolution. Further more, opening up other channels of support give me options to engage -- I typically opt for Live Chat support when it's available.
Do you believe there is a correlation between the service you receive as a consumer and your loyalty to the supplier?
I'd like to say yes, but honestly my loyalty is usually based on the product/service offered by the brand. I can say this as I'm pretty self-sufficient in finding the answer or getting things done on my own without much intervention/involvement by the brand's customer service. On the rare occasion when I do need to get support from a person, my experience is divided between really good and really bad. But again, since I rarely require assistance, these very bad instances aren't enough for me to switch.
In your opinion, which industry sectors provide great service and which ones are poor?
Poor -- hands down, Telecommunications. In Canada, we don't have a wide range of choices outside of the Big Three. The company I'm with currently suffers from being too big perhaps. There is no continuity in support when you have to be transferred from one department to another and have to start the process anew with each new agent handling your ticket. There is a lack of visibility into a customer's file (sounds like they're given a limited slice of my account details which pertains to that particular department), lack of autonomy given to the agents to make decisions, and opportunity for improved skills in active listening and empathy.
Good service -- airlines. I have to say though, I purposefully travel with certain airlines because of their efficiency, price, customer service and engagement. Both are Canadian companies.
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Can you recall a really good experience recently - where you were WOW'd by the service you received?
Unfortunately, I can't think of a recent one. I tend to opt for Self-Serve when I need support and I can't say that any recent experiences with service wowed me.
Talking about bad experiences, where do companies go wrong with the service they provide?
My issue took 2 weeks from start to finish with multiple calls per day, some lasting over an hour. In totality, I believe I spoke with close to 10 different individuals -- I started a list of names and agent numbers throughout this process and citing them each time I spoke with someone new. This came in handy since their notes in my file all held valuable information and commitments made.
Have you noticed any differences in service from people from different cultures?
Sure, in general, service delivered from the Philippines are lovely -- they are highly respectful and exhibit a high degree of deference and willingness to please. Important to note however that the calls aren't always effective. Troubleshooting and understanding the root cause may take a while. As well, in general, service delivered by Canadians are typically more effective with a nice balance of soft skills and efficiency.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding the use of technology in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Eliminate/reduce the use of emailed tickets. They are not the most efficient mode of communicating (language, tone, completeness of required information) and are slower to get resolution.
If you had to give just 1 tip regarding staff in relation to improving customer service, what would your tip be?
Service delivered by staff is directly affected by how they are treated. So, recruit, hire, and train staff, but keep the employee engagement going through coaching and give thought to the environment in which they work. This means ensuring that the management are coached and held accountable for creating and sustaining this system.
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. Know what the end game is -- help the customer out of a pickle and get them on their merry way in the quickest and friendliest way possible. All groups within an organization should be aligned and view their departmental objectives as facilitators to this ultimate goal.
In your opinion, how should contact centers measure the level of service they give?
SLAs, internal QA metrics are necessary, but direct customer feedback through CSat/VOC/NPS scores are a must.
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About Advantage Communications:
Advantage Communications Inc. provides outsourced Customer Relationship Management solutions to clients across North America. Advantage has developed core expertise in Technical Support and Customer Care applications. We have a strong client portfolio in the Customer Service, Internet Service Provider, Application Service Provider, Hardware, and Software industries. Located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Eastern Canada, we provide high quality, technologically advanced CRM services via an outsourcing relationship that is transparent to our clients' customers.
Published: Friday, December 5, 2014
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