When it comes to providing superior customer service, today’s SMEs are facing the challenges of coping with the rise of newer customer support channels such as social media, email, website, instant messaging, and phone. Soft Solvers Solutions have been promoting integrated communication strategy that will keep the support operation simple while providing customer service across multiple support channels. I had the privilege of interviewing Mohandeep Singh, CEO of Soft Solvers Solutions, during the Hard Talk session at SME Innovation Stories #2 last month. I thought the sharing by Mohandeep is timely for the SME business owners as well as customer service and marketing directors who wish to reinvent themselves for providing consistent high-quality customer service across multiple channels without incurring too much cost and overhead.
Thomas Cheah: We know that technology is key enabler to integrated communication strategy. But we also know that the results are naturally limited if the organization does not have the backbone to tie the data together. What is your advice to tackle this challenge?
Mohandeep Singh: With the rise of Cloud Computing, things have been much easier to do as compare to say 5 years back. There is a lot of cloud systems that allow you to put many of these things are much affordable budget and without requiring any major investment in setting up a infra team.
“Do not collect something that you cannot use or have the risk of data privacy issues, which is getting louder by the day. To list the top 3 data points, first will be the Customer Feedback, especially complaints from customers or things they are not happy with. As if you don’t know how your customers feel about what you offer, there is no point being in business.”
– Mohandeep Singh, CEO, Soft Solvers Solutions
Thomas Cheah: Many business owners have realized the importance of customer data and started collecting them from multiple sources. Some are wondering how much data they should collect, while some are unsure about how to deal with the customer information once it’s captured. What types of customer data should they collect and why? What are the top 3 ways they can see immediate benefit from the customer data they collect?
Mohandeep Singh: There are many aspects that business owners should have to look at. For instances, do not collect something that you cannot use or have the risk of data privacy issues, which is getting louder by the day. To list the top 3 data points, first will be the Customer Feedback, especially complaints from customers or things they are not happy with. As if you don’t know how your customers feel about what you offer, there is no point being in business. Second will be the demographic info or pattern on who are those, who buy from you, where do they live, what do they do, etc. This shall allow you to tailor your offering to those who matter. Last one will be the actual contact info for you to send them festival/birthday wishes, notifications, vouchers, etc.
Thomas Cheah: What do we do when we start getting the Customer feedback, you never talked much about that part of the process?
Mohandeep Singh: There are 3 main things that you need to do here. First is set up a team who will look at the data or do something with the data. It need not to be a big team, and it can be a single person. Some companies even implement this as an assigned responsibility, but there has to be someone assigned to do this. You need to set SLA (Service Level Agreement) for responding to all the customer feedback collected. It need not be real time, but still within reasonable time. Make sure you inform this to your customers and then stick to it. Lastly take action on the reported issues or ideas and make our customers feel good that we are listening to them.
Thomas Cheah: The customer feedback management that you suggested sounds like a great way to know our customers. What else we can do to further improve our communication with the customers?
Mohandeep Singh: Again, it is the 3 steps process. (1) Know your Customer, (2) build a customer database, and (3) log all interactions and then analyze the data to see who’s your best/worst customers. Once you get started, even on very small scale, you will start learning a lot more about them and the wonderful things that you can do to help them.
Thomas Cheah: To wrap up, we know that integrated communication strategy is a big topic. In essence, it means that all your customer service and marketing have a single view of your customer, regardless of the channels that their customers interact with. What are the key benefits of this strategy? And what are the new business opportunities do you see that will be created by this strategy?
Mohandeep Singh: To me it is not something that is new, just that now we have got better tools to do this easily. Even in the past, if you wanted to excel in your business, the common wisdom we know was always listen to your customers. Make this is as the center of your overall business strategy and you will see the difference within weeks instead of months.
What is SME Innovation Stories Series?
This is a talk series that share and analyze case studies of business innovation projects in the SMEs. The objective is to provide inspirations for SME business owners and CEOs on variety of ways they can innovate their business. The discussion will be presented in storytelling form of real-world projects, instead of theories and concepts.