What does it take to make customer experience a top priority in today’s service industry? We launched the Service Intel Podcast to answer that question. In each episode, service leaders join us to discuss turning status-quo service into exceptional experiences.
Recently, we sat down with Linda Tucci to talk about “a new era in customer support” — one where there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Linda is the Senior Global Director of Technical Solutions at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics. She and her team provide remote support, primarily focused on medical technologies in hospital laboratories. She also provides escalation support to field service personnel around the world.
Here are just a few of many great takeaways from our conversation with Linda.
Support Customers the Way They Want to Be Supported
Linda discusses how different customers are looking for different styles of support. For example, 24/7 phone support might resonate with a customer in the United States. In Asia Pacific, many customers prefer to interact through an app. And some cultures reach out more proactively, while others are less likely to contact a company if something is wrong. There are generational differences, too, including comfort levels with social media support. Understanding this, says Linda, is key to meeting customers where they are.
Look at the Intersection of Data and Support
In 2019, Ortho launched an internal tool called Smart Service. By looking at all the data on the company’s instrument base, it allows field engineers to go on-site and understand the current health of an instrument and whether there’s anything else they can take a look at. And when a customer calls for escalation support, there’s already access to great data to get that customer back up and running as quickly as possible. As you might expect, Smart Service became invaluable in 2020, with lockdowns making it impossible to go on-site. Linda shares how having a holistic view provided so much value when remote support was the only option.
Focus on Turning Information Into Value
Linda discusses why it’s so important to analyze interactions between customers and your service team. She shares how she takes inbound communication received by her remote support team, vets it, and feeds it back into the training organization for continuous improvement. Understanding these interactions also helps identify individual coaching opportunities, such as helping a new employee increase remote resolutions. It helps identify potential quality issues, too.
Own the Issue to Resolution
Resolution is far more important than call length to Linda. She shares how some customers don’t want to troubleshoot and prefer to have a field engineer come on-site. Others want to walk through the steps on the phone. It’s all about letting customers drive where a call goes. It may even require bringing other people onto the call. And her team always follows up with customers later to make sure the solution is successful.
Use Technology to Empower Your Team
Linda discusses a key question for service leaders: “how can we have technology be smarter?” She shares helpful insights around tagging events and being able to deliver not just data points, but actionable data. You can get paralyzed by the data and add spreadsheet after spreadsheet, or you can focus on the ways technology can ease the burden on employees.
Employee Engagement Matters Now More than Ever
Linda discusses a major process-mapping exercise she went through in early 2019, looking at the anatomy of a call or customer contact and understanding where people’s time was going. This led to a transformation initiative aimed at making the lives of team members easier — removing obstacles and understanding what’s most important to them from a technology perspective. “Whatever leaders have done historically around employee engagement, it’s even more critical now,” she says. “It’s critically important that people feel their voices are heard.”