Dealing with customer problems

Recently in the UK one of the big mobile operators, O2 suffered a damaging communications failure which brought disruption to many of its 23 million customers. Being media savvy many took to damaging twitter messaging to express their dissatisfaction, especially as the O2 website slipped out service for a while due to high demand. What was interesting was 02’s response to the barrage of criticism – they opted to respond to these social media messages by taking a quirky self-deprecating manner and responding using a personal tone. Did it work? Continue reading

Why Not Having a Business Plan is Like Driving in Circles

I find it amazing that many small businesses do not or have ever had a business plan; to me this is like getting in your car but not knowing how to get where you’re going and just driving in circles.  In order to successfully grow your business, you should have a business plan; quite honestly a business should not open its doors until it has one.  Many small businesses mistakenly think that a business plan has to be elaborate with lots of charts and spreadsheets, and this is not necessarily the case.   A business plan can be a simple two or three page document that simply out lines where you are, where you are going, and how you are going to get there.  Now most businesses do know where they want to go, they just don’t have a plan on how to get there. Think of your company as a car, and think of your business plan as your GPS.  If you take the GPS out of the car, you may have an address, but no idea how to get to it. Continue reading

IT Outsourcing Culture

Let’s face it, outsourcing isn’t new, and IT outsourcing in particular has been on the rise since the late 90’s.  There are many variables in the IT outsourcing equation, but the one most often overlooked, and in my opinion one of the most critical, is sensitivity to culture.  Being from the United States, we often find ourselves to be slightly culturally isolated from the majority of the world.  As a result, when we try to facilitate a productive working relationship with someone from say, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Ukraine, etc., our patience tends to get short and we oftentimes expect…no… demand that our offshore colleagues go out of their way to understand the way that we work and modify their behavior accordingly, rather than us all working together.  I agree that there can be a concrete argument made for customer service, and ensuring that foreign parties in question understand our culture for the benefit of customers in customer facing roles (i.e. when you call the support line). However, in terms of outsourced software development, we must be a little more sensitive to the culture of our foreign counterparts if we wish to achieve a successful engagement. Continue reading

Call Center Customer Service in the New Millennium

I found that many call centers are behind the times when it comes to customer service, and many have the mentality that because they are a call center that means that the only way a customer needs to get ahold of them is by telephone. This is false. In today’s world it is important to be flexible and realize that not all customers are the same, some want to call you, some want to reach out via Facebook or Twitter and some want to talk to you via Live Chat. Progressive call centers are offering their customers a variety of ways to contact them and if you are not, than you are operating a call center from the past, not the present. Continue reading