Anne Qureshi (December 13, 2013)
Providing memorable customer support sets you apart from your competition. But to make that happen, you have to build a customer support team that has the skills and temperament to effectively solve your customer’s issues and positively represent your company. Finding customer service reps with certain fundamental skills, is actually more important than having an extensive background in technology.
Considering the need of providing state-of-the-art customer services and building long-term customer relationships, Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), Emirates National Bank of Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Tawteen Council conducted a training program titled, ‘Al Misha’al Teller/ Customer Service Executive Training Program’, for UAE Nationals in the EIBFS Abu Dhabi Campus (20th Oct – 23 March 2013).
Emphasizing the importance of having specialized customer service representatives in a business, Mr. Rehab Khalf Al Hosani, Senior Manager, Nationalisation Development & Business Communication, Emirates NBD, stated:
‘The training and knowledge transfer will help in developing prudent bankers from the talented local community.’
The purpose of this 51 days training program was to provide fresh national graduates the key skills, needed to be an effective teller and an excellent customer service executive. A special focus was given with regard to retail banking, customer service, operations and compliance.
Good customer service is of vital importance for all businesses. However, it requires certain key abilities and professional qualities to establish an effective professional service for customers. At such times, expert customer service representatives can act as a catalyst for their business operations, due to their knowledge of powerful customer service techniques and practices.
In a similar regard, a comprehensive survey study titled, ‘The Next-Generation Customer Service’, was conducted by Booz & Company (2013), to fully understand the demands of next generation customer service. The study covered 30 face-to-face interviews with senior customer service executives including Chief Service Officers and CEO’s, and 50 Senior Level Managers in Europe and the Middle East.
The study results for the same are mentioned below, representing the impact of trained/knowledgeable staff (24%) in customer service development and creating high-performance operations.
The survey findings indicated that mastering the basics of customer service is extremely important for customer service organizations and the ultimate success of customer service depends on the strength, strategic capabilities, credibility, and influence of the customer support team.
Therefore, Emirates most forward-looking business organizations are fully empowering their specialized customer service representatives as a key driver for customer-centricity, in the form of establishing transparency in customer service performance and contribution to strategic targets. However, technology and optimizing systems are regarded as maintenance factors, rather than the breakthrough elements of next generation customer service.
Business leaders often give their customer support team the freedom to make their own decisions about what customers need, as it inspires innovation and creativity often to the customer’s benefit. If your customer service representatives are empowered to think and explore the service opportunities they see every day on the front lines of customer interaction, then they would be able to serve customers more efficiently and effectively.
Here are some customer’s statements and reviews, specifically chosen from different sectors of UAE like IT, Health, Manufacturing and Transport, in light of their customer service representative’s performance and service delivery:
‘Dear Silentnight, I am amazed by the ultra-fast response to my query as well as the follow up. I was an Airline Executive for 40 years, and value superior customer service. I am just stunned. I think you are the ideal for Customer Service in general and deserve kudos for your assistance with my question. These days, customer service representatives are generally rude, don’t get back to you, or do not care about customers or even their own products. Thank you again – much appreciation.’
Mrs. J. S of Abu Dhabi – Feb 2013
‘From the very first phone call, the service was exceptional. Your staff was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.’
Mr. & Mrs. Parker, February 2013
‘Smart Cells customer service department was excellent. They dealt with all my queries straight away and were clear and concise, reassuring me and keeping me updated without being pushy.’
Marisa Nurse, April 2013
‘We have been using the services of Burhani Computers for last several years and have always had a pleasant interaction with their entire team. It is a professional organization and their staff has good technical skills to provide solutions to our IT problems. The service is prompt, courteous and solutions driven.’
Mr. Rohit Anand, CEO – SABT Industries LLC (Dubai, UAE)
‘I have more than 10 years of experience with Fast and I found it the best rental company in the local market. During this long association, I had an accident once and I can still recall the best service and action by Fast. Fast’s response was not only quick and immediate, but they also provided a replacement car at the spot. I am very pleased with Fast’s service and I found its entire member staff very pleasant on each of my visits to their office.
Mr. Tariq Raja
Excellent customer service starts with the people at the top of an organization. But top managers can’t do it alone. It takes highly motivated employees on the front line to deliver exceptional service. For a business organization to provide a complete customer experience, it must trust on the skills and abilities of its customer service representatives, having ability to understand and solve customer’s problems.
One of the biggest challenges for UAE businesses is to ensure that the people they retain are the ones who are committed to the organization and have trust and confidence in senior leadership. A recent study titled, ‘2012 Global Workforce Study Report UAE’, by Towers Watson found that ‘only two in five workers in Asia Pacific are highly engaged at work. The rest, three-fifths of the workforce, are struggling to cope with work situations that do not provide adequate support and emotional connection.’
Around 1,000 full-time employees from large to mid-size organizations in the UAE participated in the study. The key dimensions measured were productivity, work pressure, trust in leadership and talent retention. The results for the same are given below:
Majority of the UAE employees are highly dedicated and passionate towards work, which in turn reflects a positive attitude and responsibility towards achieving their targets i.e. customer satisfaction, high service delivery and memorable customer experience.
It shows employees interest and delight, while fulfilling their duties. An indication that they would be continue doing that in future too, and might go beyond traditional practices to satisfy their customers.
A significant majority is still trying to overcome substantial obstacles like access to the training facilities, growth opportunities to be more productive in future, and tools and resources to achieve exceptional performance.
b) WORK PRESSURE:
Majority of the employees are making extra efforts to manage work by taking control in areas lacking staff, or having excessive pressure at work.
A healthy work environment offers liberation and empowerment to its staff and gives them flexibility to think and explore new service opportunities. Unfortunately, a high majority of employees aren’t allowed to deviate from established rules and processes.
c) TRUST IN LEADERSHIP:
Frontline customer service reps can have a stronger voice in resolving forthcoming business challenges. The existing leadership gap between employees and senior manager’s needs to be filled by adopting an open door work policy i.e. addressing employee’s questions and concerns and putting employee’s feedback into action.
d) TALENT RETENTION:
The challenge for leaders and managers in UAE business industries is to empower employees to take control of their situation to reduce their anxiety and channel their energies to best support the goals of the organization.
Great ideas come from all over the company, and ultimately, this leads to employee empowerment. If employees had a faith that managers are recognizing their feedback, the company culture is strengthened. In addition, managers should empower their reps to work together to find solutions to customer problems and devise methods for serving customers more efficiently and effectively.
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