The Software Side of Customer Service
12:40 PM -- Selling a smartphone today is as much -- if not more -- about the software than the hardware itself. That's why EE is investing £50 million (US $78 million) in ensuring its operators, Salt SA and T-Mobile (UK) , know the ins and outs of all the major operating systems.
The company announced a new program Wednesday to train its 12,000 employees on mobile OSs, to open new contact centers and stores and to hire more staff, with a focus specifically on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS, BlackBerry, Android and Windows phones.
The move is aimed at making customer service reps jacks-of-all-trades, so they can speak to all the different phones and software without having to transfer between departments. The approach is already being trialed, and the carrier says it has dramatically improved the resolution of issues at the first point of contact.
This news caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, in my experience at operators' retail stores, I haven't found the salespeople to be that knowledgeable on the nuances of the devices they sell. They tend to have their favorites or stick to the basic lines about apps and battery life.
This was reinforced Wednesday by a research note from MKM Partners analyst Michael Genovese, who wrote Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s Lumia 900 is no longer being heavily promoted, with sales reps, who instead choose to talk up the Samsung Galaxy and HTC One models, which they report using themselves. It could be the case that a personal bias is getting in the way of really walking through a user's needs and balancing them against a phone's features. (See Analyst: Nokia Lumia 'Not a Company Saver'.)
The most important reason this caught my eye, however, was that I just got back from Management World in Dublin, where customer experience management was a big topic -- albeit one defined more by marketing than actual action. It's a mark of good progress to see an investment in the experience the customer has from day one. (See Management World 2012:
The Customer Experience Catalyst, Analyst Questions Customer Experience Message and Where is the Customer Service Culture?)
Sure, there's still a lot of work to do on customer experience, from the senior level down to the call centers, but equipping your salespeople with all the knowledge they need to make it a one-and-done trip to the store or call to customer service seems like a logical place to start.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile