Companies that produce, sell, install and maintain highly technical products have multiple service issues to address from time to time. They often have to deploy technical staff to solve technology problems. And, because they are dealing with customers who have high expectations, they have to have lightning speed response time and rapidly resolve outstanding issues.
We sat down with Crestron’s Richard Sasson, Director of Global Technical Services, for his advice on why integrators should invest in fully training their staff so they require less reliance on external technical support.
What would be your #1 piece of advice for CI channel integrators?
Educate your team to ensure a successful installation, profitable projects and a great customer experience. Take the time to ensure your teams are trained on the best techniques. Make sure they understand how to install and commission a system. If you have a sales person, make sure they know the best products to use for a great customer experience. If they are a designer, make sure they know how to fully document and design a system that is rock solid. If they are an installer, make sure they understand industry best practices for wiring, labeling and installation. All members of the team need to be trained on how to provide the best experience with an integrator to obtain referrals, and repeat business.
How do integrators know if their technical support is good, bad or indifferent?
Create a ticketing system. You need to know what issues your customers are experiencing. This way you can correct it and prevent it in the future. If you don’t measure it, it’s not real. Come up with a simple check-list of the improvements you want to integrate regarding supporting your clients. Where can your company improve? How will your company execute? How will we know if we are being successful? Then, track and analyze the results every six months. Hold yourself and others accountable. If you don’t measure your results, you’re simply not as serious as you think about improving one area of your business where you can certainly out-perform your competitors.
Your customers know how you support them. If you provide the best support and care, they refer you; if you don’t they move on to another vendor.
Other advice you’d give.
Open up more channels for customer feedback. Look to improve your forms of communication with your customers. In the high-end residential market, the client does not want to fill out a survey monkey form. Talk to them. Listen to them, at all phases of the project. Ask how they prefer to communicate with you. Ask them what they would like to see from your company in the future. Now you are engaging your customers. They become your partner and ally.
Technical Support is Customer Support. The goal of any integrator is to provide the best experience for their customer. Experts will tell you that technical support is all about your team and how you manage for success. I will tell you that technical support is being a solution provider. Make sure your team is adapt at listening to an issue, stepping back and looking at the whole picture before jumping to a conclusion. Be systematic in your approach to diagnosing an issue.
Finally, no matter how proactive you are, you’ll never get out in front of every technical service issue. But a well-coordinated team, deploying various feedback mechanisms, timely response, and personalized support will help keep unhappy customers from going off the deep end and voicing their displeasure across the social media landscape.