I’ve worked hard to provide good customer service for a very long time. I started out at VTR (then VLC) as an intern in the support department.
Even waiting tables in high school, my focus was on “supporting” people through their meals, making sure everything was as it should be, and that my tables had all the tools they needed (refills, ranch, napkins, etc.) to best enjoy the food, the restaurant’s actual product.
The longer I work directly with clients (whether they be businesses or individuals), and especially since I have more recently worked to coordinate our other departments, the more I am convinced that service and support is one of the most important things we do.
Focus on the Customer
In e-learning, as it was in food service, the meaning of the work is the same:
Keep your customers happy, well taken care of, and supported in using your products or services. Make sure your internal processes allow your reps to be well-informed, well-trained, and able to quickly and accurately answer all incoming issues.
Sometimes, in businesses of every shape and size, there’s a spot that has to go without proper staffing or training for a season. At that point, prioritizing can seem impossible. Which ball do you choose to stop juggling to keep the others in the air?
A lot of that likely depends on the type of business you are running. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, unless you’re in a start-up scenario with literally no customer base, Customer Service had better not be the ball that drops.
According to handfuls of consumer studies including one in 2017, 82% of customers recalled a time they left a provider due to a bad customer experience incident. U.S. Companies lose an estimated $62 billion a year due to bad customer service. Even more interesting, 86% of respondents said they would actually pay MORE for a product if they were getting better customer service, and that service is a bigger deciding factor on purchase than the price of what they’re actually buying or where they’re buying from.
From a personal perspective, it makes sense. When I want to go eat at a restaurant, I am significantly less likely to go somewhere that I had to ask three times for a set of silverware and go hunt down my server for a refill, even if it was the best chicken fajitas I’d ever had.
Retain Your Customers
More than this, any company’s opportunities for growth and longevity hang on their ability to retain customers. It has been and will continue to be much easier (and cheaper) to keep customers than acquire new ones. We retain customers by meeting their needs with our actual product, while having customer focus so they feel supported and appreciated along the way with service.
It doesn’t mean that the incredible skill and time our Development team or Marketing team puts in isn’t valuable, because it is. It just means that if our Customer Service is poor, the actual value of the work of other teams is squandered-- and studies show that providing poor service to customers actually hurts employee morale! This should be part of the a strategy for organizations.
We at VTR are proud of the courses we offer and the platform we use to deliver them, but if it wasn’t working and we didn't provide good customer service, we realize our product would be moot.
Erica is the Director of Administration at VTR, and a mom. She delights in challenging the status quo of how organizations run and how work happens, and is on a never-ending journey to make the workplace and culture optimal for human productivity + happiness. She enjoys good coffee, hiking, painting, and is also an enduring fan of The Walking Dead.