Why service matters
Every single department within a business has an impact on sales through their interactions with customers.
While sales people are responsible for going out into the marketplace to sell printing solutions to customers, at the backend you need a service department that can keep that fleet up and running with minimal downtime, says Paul Wendlandt, Customer Services and Support Manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.
In the ICT sector, a service department looks at predominantly technical issues, which often means it is populated by technically oriented people who may or may not have the same people skills that sales people do. This can sometimes result in a disconnect with customers.
“Service technicians are extremely important to our industry, not only to retain current customers, but to provide professional service to assist sales in gaining new business,” says Wendlandt. “Service delivery is a key factor in office automation and it’s vital to ensure we keep our technicians up to date with our technology.”
The growing dependency on technology in every industry has resulted in a dependency on speedy services; this leads to most new technicians preferring to replace items instead of repairing them, because it is quicker and more convenient, which can lead to cost impacts for businesses. The goal of a technician is to provide insight and expertise into every product available in the company’s range – this is why businesses need to heavily invest in their technicians, with rigorous training programmes.
“The technicians offer truly in-depth insights into how a product and solution works and how its implementation can impact the business. They understand their companies' products inside out, what they offer and how they can benefit the customer at their specific pain points. They are also a scarce commodity, so should receive recognition for their hard work and constant learning,” says Wendlandt.
In-demand service department skills
Over and above knowledge about the technology itself, service technicians need to have problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to deal with people with empathy and patience, while clearly communicating where they are in solving the issue at hand.
Wendlandt says: “It all comes down to the business training its service department staff about the business’ products or services, as well as developing soft skills such as being more mindful about the ways of working and communicating with various types of personalities in the field.
“It’s also important to have some sort of metrics in place to help you fix problems within your team before they escalate. A successful customer service department measures performance – but it’s important that these metrics do not focus on speed of resolution at the expense of quality, hence there needs to be a balance.”
In today’s connected age, customers need to be able to interact with you and report issues on a variety of platforms, such as
- Through your Web site;
- On your social media channels; and
- On an online chat platform.
“Service is more important than ever before, as there has been a shift from selling products that deliver a single service within a confined arena, to providing comprehensive solutions that take the entire business into consideration. I believe that the people within your business determine the level of success that it will have.”
This is why it’s critical for businesses to invest in the skills of its certified technicians who service their products and contribute to giving customers quality and reliable solutions to improve their business processes.
“Technicians are critical to the pre-sales and post-sales support, and I believe that their role is going to become even more crucial in the future and technical teams will get more and more involved in sales as well,” concludes Wendlandt