If you have called us in the last 19 years, you have more than likely talked to Heather Perry. Heather is my oldest employee and has done a little of everything over the years. Her most important job is to keep the sales department on top of leads. Heather and her family also run a local pizza restaurant so she understands business-to-business and business-to-consumer customer service. I asked her to talk about the changes she has seen in customer service over the last 19 years and this is her experience.
Customer service has changed over the years, especially when the auto attendant came into the picture. I have worked for iSupport for seventeen years, and the day I started we had 15 incoming lines on our phone system. We always made sure that our phone lines were answered with a human voice and messages were returned daily. Today we still answer the phones but we also utilize an auto attendant for efficiency – 15 lines was a lot to manage. But we really try to answer all calls and return a call if a voicemail is left.
The web is another big change for customer service. We used to attend trade shows, and had a booth with plenty of giveaways so we could collect a lot of leads. We would then take the leads back to the office where we would work hard to turn them into our customers. One of our biggest trade shows, Lotusphere, was held once a year. At the trade show a lot of relationships were made and social interaction was a key part of customer service and making future sales. Now we don’t do trade shows since most of our leads come from online sources, but of course we still make a lot of good old-fashioned cold calls. In the past we mailed out printed marketing materials and shipped our CD with documentation; now it is all done online through the web.
Customer service has lost some of its personal touches, but here at iSupport we still try to make our customer service a priority from the first time you call in or visit our web site to request information from us. Our sales staff returns calls the same day and the support team is always around to help answer all questions. A few of my favorite personal touches are the handwritten thank you notes and the personal calls to prospects and customers from Founder/Owner Daren Nelson. He also gives out his personal cell number. Daren wants comments back from you, whether it is a good or bad experience that you have had with our company. You just don’t see that too often in customer service today.