In today’s fast-paced changing world which is due to the use of fast digital technologies driven by fast microprocessor technologies, there is a need to also change the way customers are served. Businesses that fail to meet customer expectations lose them to their competitors who are abreast of modern technologies. In the past especially in the African context, slow service was considered a better service. The average person was made to believe that the slower the service the more quality it was. Now, modern trends and statistics have proven that the slower a service delivery is, the more expensive. In the world of business poor customer service occurs when a potential customer is not satisfied. This could be due to several factors. I will reduce it to five key areas that link it to any other reasons for poor customer service;
1. Poor customer service setup in Business setups.
2. The poorly trained workforce at the customer support workforce division
3. Poorly motivated workforce.
4. Lack of good communication skills of works concerning the products they are offering.
5. Work overload leads to burnout in the workforce.
Some experts also classify the problems associated with customer service to poor application of “Hard” and “Soft” skills knowledge. The former refers to earned capabilities that are acquired and polished through consistent practice, and reinforced tutoring. “Soft” skills, however, are a set of transferable skills and key personal attributes that are highly valued by employers and essential for effective performance in the workplace (Sydney, 2019). Employers who employ workers to manage customer service canters look for all these qualities but however in real-life scenarios, despite this quality’s customers are not satisfied. The underlying reason is that speed, accuracy, and reliability which is a test mark of high-quality service is lacking. The underlying cause of these problems of poor customer service delivery is the failure to use computer-driven technologies to mitigate modern challenges.
The importance of speed in customer service.
In this fast era of smart technologies, the average global citizen is always in a hurry to meet the other pressing or demanding duties. Some business entities are interdependent on the service of other businesses. Their failure to deliver means that the second party will also fail to meet the deadline of their expectant customers. Speed is therefore crucial in customer service. Long queues at the customer service division are not acceptable. Irritated customers often end up quarrelling with service personnel and as a result, the business may be negatively be affected or be branded negatively on social media platforms. To avoid losing customers and negative brand tagging on social media platforms, customer services must be efficient.
The importance of accuracy in customer service.
The lapses that occur in many customer service divisions are due to inaccuracies caused by human errors. The reasons for these inaccuracies are due to primarily;
1. Forgetfulness: The average human is forgetful due to lack of concentration and tiredness.
2. Accuracies due to misinterpretation: The misinterpretation of information can often lead to poor customer service delivery
3. Problems in precise identification: Humans sometimes fail to make a clear distinction between two closely similar things which leads to fatal errors.
4. The problem of inexperience: Service fails because personnel lack proper training or do not possess the right experience.
5. Unintentional errors: Acts that are unintentional can cause fatal errors in the delivery of customer service.
When the issue of speed and the above-listed factors of inaccuracies are properly addressed, customer satisfaction will be guaranteed and will go a long way to promote the brand name. The deployment of computing technology tailored to meet such challenges will reduce or eliminate all these avoidable human prone errors and ensure quality delivery.
The importance of reliability in customer service.
With the underpinning of speed and accuracy laid, the next layer is the reliability of the customer service is to maintain your customers with the consistency of delivery under all situations. With consistency of reliable services in place, the company will win the praise of its customers because such a performance satisfy the definition of reliability which is defined by Crossley as the probability that a product, system or service will perform its intended function adequately for a specified period of time, or will operate in a defined environment without failure ( 2007).
A scenario at the DVLA
Within a short period of time, the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority) has improved in terms of its overall performance. I witnessed the time when everything was done manually to the gradual introduction of digital processes. This digitization of the processes has increased the efficiency at the DVLA. But there are still some issues I think, the DVLA can improve upon. For instance, at the branch office of the 37 in Accra. The waiting time for the collection of issued permanent driving licenses is very slow and frustrating for the average person. At the collection point, many of the processes are done manually.
The collection process starts with an individual receiving a text message via SMS (short message service) that his permanent driving has been issued. The client must pick the issued document at certain dates per the SMS, at a specified location.
But upon arrival, you are greeted with this scene as depicted in the picture below.
The information written on an A4 sheet informs customers to kindly to drop their temporal Licences in the box and take a seat under an open canopy.
A DVLA staff from time to time collects the temporal licenses that have been dropped into the box. After collection, a manual search is conducted for the issued document and if found, the waiting customer is called by name to collect his or her license. The system works but it is slow and inefficient. Besides, not many people want their names to be called in the midst of people. To eradicate these drawbacks, a system can be put in place that anonymizes the customer.
In many organizations, the “Born Before Computer” folks (BBCs) detest any form of computer-automated processes. They prefer the snail pace system because their jobs are guaranteed with this approach.
While waiting for under the open canopy, I quickly sketched a use case diagram for the card system alone. The use case sketch below depicts a typical scenario that clearly identifies, elucidate, and establishes system requirements for the automatic search process.
In other not to go deep into use case scenarios, I have given a typical workflow representation of the proposed solution instead. The reason is that many people like to remain anonymous for many reasons but primarily for security reasons.
At this initial phase of the collection process, if the customer has delayed in collecting the card within the stipulated period of collection, the necessary penalty charges are also printed on the ticket. The place to make this payment is printed on the ticket as well.
The Card System Administrator as shown in the workflow process works on the received information from the scanner terminal and forwards it to the intelligent systems for the card retrieval. Once the card has been retrieved, the Card System Administrator is alerted.
The Card System Administrator sends this returned information to the card-issuing desk. This information is held in a pool until it is displayed on the screen when the card dispatcher sends the found card to the appropriate desk for collection.
The customer is notified to collect the documents when it is ready at the serving counter. The information is displayed on the screen with the appropriate desk number. During this announcement process, a bell is sounded simultaneously with flashing of the client’s number on the screen for some seconds. At the issuing desk, the officer validates the customer using his fingerprint after which the temporal card is rendered invalid by a stamp or seal.
The work of the Dispatcher is to load and offload the cards. He loads the system when with the card and sends the cards to the appropriate collection point.
In many European countries when the stipulated time to collect a processed job is over, the customer is surcharged. In Ghana and other African countries, this is not the case. Base on the delayed period for the collection of the card, charges can be calculated and applied. This is another form of revenue collection. This system will also eliminate a lot of drawbacks the current system has, for instance, the incidence of unauthorized persons collecting the License for people will be reduced. The issue of anonymity is addressed using this kind of system. Elimination of errors due to tiredness and also avoid long waiting times because the retrieval method used is very fast. Finally, the implementation of this system will improve customer service as well as individual customer experience.
Crossley, M. L. ( 2007). The Desk Reference Of Statistical Quality Methods, Second Edition. ASQ Quality Press .
Sydney, U. o. (2019, 6 12). Career advice and developmentemployability-skills. Retrieved from The University of Sydney Business School: https://sydney.edu.au/careers/students/career-advice-and-development/employability-skills.html