What is the real cause of poor customer service?

We’ve all been on the receiving end of different kinds of customer service, from exceptionally good or acceptably average, to downright appalling. Naturally, you attribute your opinion to the person you’ve been in direct contact with – but is this really the answer? Q2Q MD, Lorna Stellakis explores this notion below.

While you might perceive one individual as causing, hindering, ignoring or fixing a problem, are they actually the person you should be pointing the finger at? Often, we don’t know what’s truly happening behind the scenes, where customer experience is often a direct reflection of the culture within a business.

A manager can employ the most proactive, positive, capable and friendly customer-facing people, but if they aren’t happy on a daily basis, this will eventually affect the way they deal with clients.

Customer service in practice

In a recent conversation, an associate was relaying a situation with one of their own service providers. The customer-facing team were clearly trying to deliver a great experience and, on the whole, were succeeding. But they were finding that, periodically, their hands were tied with internal systems and operational red tape.

Such ‘obstacles’ meant that employees were unable to do what was needed in order to serve the customer effectively – without jumping through hoops. As a result, frustrations – which could have been easily avoided – began to escalate. Soon, the client was looking towards switching providers, even though they generally felt that the customer-facing team were doing a great job.

Another great example came from a friend who was finding it increasingly difficult to do anything other than ‘firefight’ issues for his customers, due to the lack of support from his senior team. He felt genuinely worried that the firm might begin to lose business if a way of becoming more proactive wasn’t established.

How to deliver great customer service in the IT industry

At Q2Q, we do a lot of work in the background which focuses on the service we deliver to our customers. These include simple ‘fixes’ such as constantly monitoring the helpdesk to ensure we provide timely updates on issues, never using technical jargon when speaking to a user and keeping on top of the outstanding ticket queue.

We also ensure the technical team is always learning and keeping up to date with the latest technology advancements. But, perhaps most importantly, they are getting to the root cause of issues wherever possible – to ensure that any future reoccurrences are prevented.

Yet, that still isn’t enough. It only focuses on what my colleagues need to do on a day-to-day basis to service our clients. My role is to ensure the team have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently.

As MD, it’s my responsibility to guarantee staff have the right kit – whether that be the PCs they work on, their bag of technical tools, or the software needed to diagnose and support the right solutions. I need to make sure everyone at Q2Q enjoys coming to work, feels supported and know they play a vital role in shaping the future of the brand.

It’s also very important to me that I foster a culture which encourages open and honest discussions – including any fears, concerns and dislikes – without worrying about  being ‘blacklisted’ for providing negative or harsh feedback.

By embracing each of these elements, we create a happy team – and also one that’s positive and far more likely to consistently deliver great service.

If you’re on the frontline, have you developed a positive way of feeding back to the boss about what tools you really need to be able to deliver great service? Or, if you’re the manager or leader in your business, have you considered all the aspects that contribute to the customer’s experience, including all the staff culture elements?

Priority cutbacks when things are tough can seem like the logical option, but if this, in turn, negatively affects your customer’s experience, then you’re simply making things worse!

While our bread and butter is IT support, if you’d like to chat about the unique approach we take to tech services at Q2Q, or simply invest some time in making connections with an SME owner, the kettle is always on at our HQ! Get in touch here.