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Market differentiation through customer support 1

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Jelena Simakovic
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How can an IT company, hosting provider or a managed services provider differentiate their offerings when the services they offer are not much different from one another, when they are commoditised? One of the answers lies in providing exceptional customer service and support.

How to differentiate?

With managed IT services now being a mature industry, differentiating based on lower prices can only work for a little longer. Therefore, businesses are automating workflows to decrease operating expenses, while utilising technology to provide superior customer service. Service quality is a point of differentiation that is highly important to customers and difficult for competitors to replicate.

With social and economic forces, along with advances in technology, customers are placing a premium value on personalised service – they like to be treated as individuals, not as reference numbers! This places pressure on service providers to deliver on their promise and successfully meet customer demands.

Real-time, personalised service

One common consumer trend nowadays is being able to get information or help from a company when you want it, usually being – right now, at this moment. Customer support needs to be quick and efficient, in order to provide valuable service to customers and keep them content, otherwise they might start investigating other options. The Internet allows customers to research and perform transactions before consulting with support. That is why a properly deployed self-support automation system is one of the ways to respond and resolve customer inquiries quickly and should be accessible from multiple devices and channels.

Customer service tools

As already discussed, building customer relationships is highly important through providing personalised support. This is achieved by utilising features of various tools and softwares that can pull information about customers when they contact a support person. It is not only about communicating with support staff, but the desired channel of communication varies from customer to customer, hence, social networks and mobile applications need to be considered when providing support. Softwares such as Salesforce, Zendesk, GoldMine and many others are highly recognised companies that aid in building strong customer relationships through features such as ticket automation and tracking systems, multichannel support and self-service support. These tools can help a company efficiently log tickets, receive updates and view ticketing history resulting in a significant increase in customer satisfaction, as seen in the case of GCOMM introducing Support Central platform.

Salesforce, for example, has a feature that enables support staff to pull and update information about customers that contact them by phone, chat, mobile application or even  a social network. It provides a 360 degree view of the customer through a single window pane, with access to purchase history, previous requests, comments, satisfaction rate and more valuable information about the customer. This approach allows businesses to succeed in providing timely and personalised support to customers, while at the same time deepening and strengthening the relationship through meaningful interactions.

Being able to provide higher value through customer support sets you apart from other managed service providers. The technology innovation and tools provided maximise the potential of meeting customer needs and resolving issues through their preferred channel of communication. It’s not all about technology though, people and intellectual properties in form of knowledge base and expertise is what truly makes the difference.

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About Jelena Simakovic

Jelena Simakovic
Having graduated with a master degree from QUT and been internationally educated, Jelena has developed enthusiasm for Internet marketing. The international experience has helped her develop diverse skills and motivation to overcome any challenges, which she applies in the working environment. Jelena is very passionate about learning foreign languages and speaks Serbian, English, Italian and French. She also enjoys learning about different cultures and travelling.
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  • Matt Thompson

    I think response to enquiry and relevant information are key differentiators something that over time will become super critical. We as people already through technology have an increased sensitivity and expectation to time. I’m looking forward to our complete deliverance.