Saturday, 17 August 2013

Importance of Communication in Service Management

As we have seen in my previous blog the importance of Traditional Approach of Service Management over Service Management with IT. In this blog we are going to some vital parameters while providing Service Management. The most important comes is "Communication". Service Management in today's market is provided through different medium Chat, Phone, e-mail, Front Office etc. In every form the importance of Communication Skill Set lags with many individuals. Communication cannot be made perfect by attending classes in training institute. Communication skill set should be improved by speaking with someone who is good in that area, watch news channels, reading newspapers etc. Why communication is given greater importance when it comes to Service Management. It is because when we deliver a service to a customer we need to provide him/her with the right information for his/her query. It should be precise and customer should feel satisfied with your answer. Let us see an example.

A customer who has a query on his/her Telephone Bill calls the customer support to get it clarified.

Agent :- Good Morning, Thank you for calling Airtel customer support
Agent : - I am Abhijeet. How may I assist you today?
Customer :- I have few clarifications on my current telephone bill.
Agent: - Sure I would be more than happy to assist you with this. May I have your telephone number to get the information from our system?
Customer: - It's 8939645058
Agent: - Thank you. Can you please let me know your query?
Customer: - I have been charged for the caller tune which I have not activated?
Agent: - I am really sorry to know that. Let me check the same from the system. Kindly provide me 2 minutes while I provide you with the information.
Customer: - Okay
Agent: - Thank you for being on line. I see that the caller tune have not been activated in the system. 
Agent: - I shall forward this information to the billing department. 
Customer : - When can I expect the refund for this?
Agent:- It will be processed with 5-7 working Days. Also you will receive an e-mail from our billing department.
Customer: - Thanks for the information
Agent: - You are welcome. Is there anything else I shall assist you with?
Agent: - You will receive an e-mail by the end of this chat session on the feedback. Kindly provide me with your valuable feedback.
Customer: - Okay Sure.
 Agent: - Thank you for calling Airtel. Have a pleasant day.

So here in the above brief conversation we see that the communication is to the question, that makes the customer comfortable and confident that he/she would get the required information clarified.  So the following are important parameters in communication 1. Be Precise 2. Time Management 3. Proper probing question 4. Clarity in speech 5. Focus on Customer. Time is now not there for many customers, they except the service within no time. In order to achieve the satisfaction of customer, agents should not be well trained on communication but should be regularly assignment on his/her support. A review feedback should be provided on a weekly basis which is normally a best practice to be followed in every organization.. Lets see another example of customer service in Banks with the above important parameters

A customer comes to the branch to open an account.

Bank staff should initially wish him/her and ask "How may I assist you Sir/ Ma'am?" Followed by that they should give then the account opening form along with they should ask for valid identity proof. While the customer is filling the form they should put forward some new schemes available in their Branch. Here the staff should again answer to the question of the customer so that the customer might be delightful to look into that scheme and might take it. So here the staff looks for the right opportunity. This is rarely visible in today's customer service. Especially in Super Markets, Malls etc we never come across such delightful customer service.

Providing service to a customer or a company is an art. It should be more creative rather seeing it from the perspective of Technical/ Management/ Research. It is more a Logical approach of satisfying a customer. Let us a see a scenario of Service Management where a software development firm provides support for it client i.e. a Book Store "Newage Book Store"

Customer calls the technical support and informs that their application is giving an error and it should be addressed immediately.

Here agent who addresses the issue should check for the error and then check if any work around available.  If not immediately check with the escalation team for the solution and get back to the customer, so here how should the agent put forward his reply " Sir, we have forwarded your issue to our escalation team and they will call you back with 12-24 Hours". This statement should be taken serious as they map with the agreed Service Level Agreement.

When we provide service to a customer we should keep the following statements in mind

1. Value the customer.
2. Treat every query as important
3. Direct the customer to the right person
4. Make him satisfied not just by providing offers, discounts etc.
5. Satisfactory feedback by providing right resolution.
6. Have a clear communication flow. Not to grasp by reading communication book.
7. Review your communication randomly at EOD after providing support.
8. Deliver the service based on the scenario. Communication remains same but how the agent delivers matter a lot. 
9. Be time conscious. Deliver the support on time, clarify the query on time, call back on time etc are some important customer expectation when he get a service from a provider/dealer.
10. Lastly if we are not good in communication never hesitate to learn from our colleagues, friends or anyone who can actually guide you to succeed.

 Communication in not only important but it connects people around the globe. Business of an organization completely depends on customer as products are made based on customers requirement. At the same time service management through proper communication adds values to the customer requirement on support/query. So see communication as a medium of getting not only business but also confidence in a customer that they have chosen the right product which actually makes a positive impression on a company's products and employees. When we say "Cisco", immediately the word "they are the best in the Networking products". This is attainable only through proper service management right from Sales -> Implementation -> Continual Service Management. Communication is applicable irrespective of Sector, departments etc. Many organizations know communication is directly related to Service Management but it lags because of an individual. Privacy of information is highly valued by a customer this also add a part of customer value in Service Management

Summary of this Blog

Every Organization should treat communication as a metric as it plays a vital role in Organization Growth by getting satisfactory feedback from their customer for the Service. Communication = Right information + Precise + Time Conscious + Privacy. Lastly always an organization should ensure that communication is seen with importance thereby growing in the market along with valued customers.

Let see a model of Communication in Service Management in the next blog. Kindly provide your suggestion and comments.

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