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Customer Service ‘Post-Covid’

Covid changed our approach to customer service by forcing us to think about how important it was to physically visit a client and to get better at talking clients through solutions to their problems. While we’re afraid to use the term, we’re moving into a “post-Covid” era in the sense that we understand the virus better and have figured out how to deal with it for better or worse. Here’s how we’re moving forward with our customer service.

We’re back with in-person visits on a more regular schedule. Let’s face it: nothing is better than getting our eyeballs on both the problem and on our clients. Your body language can give us some insights on how a technology problem is affecting you and help us find the solution that best fits your needs at the moment. An in-person tech call also enables us to see things that are not readily apparent to you (we are supposed to have that expertise).They may be related to your current issue, or they may be potential problems we can head off before they happen.

We’re all also better at using video-conferencing technologies: Skype, Microsoft Teams, Google, Zoom, etc. as well as FaceTime, WhatsApp and others. When you combine video conferencing with our old standby, TeamViewer, for remote access to your computer, we can see things that help us solve your problem and get good visual and voice feedback on how effective the solution is for you. Remote service has been one of our staples in serving you, and everyone’s comfort levels are getting better with using technology. It helps us fix your problem directly or walk you through solutions that have physical requirements, such as unplugging and reconnecting cables. We can also stay in contact and see what’s happening if you need to reboot your system. Reboots disconnect our remote access.

In some cases, an online chat can work. But as happens when you have an online chat with a customer agent, that person may be doing several things at one time. Our advantage is that we can always schedule a time to handle just your issue.

With all we can do going forward, however, there are still some tried-and-true methods to reach us for your service needs. And if you thought “pick up the ____ phone” as you read this, you’re right. It’s still the best way to reach us. If I cannot answer the phone, it goes directly to our answering service. Their people are trained (by me) to take the information I need to determine if it’s an emergency. In that case, they can reach me immediately. Otherwise, I get their messages as soon as I’m able, and I also check my own phone messages as soon as I’m able.

We also use the phone to help you. We ordered a computer for a client, and it was scheduled for delivery the next day. Unfortunately, the website did not provide tracking info. So we called the vendor and learned there would be a one-day delay in shipping and that they would update us. Sure enough, the next day, the computer was “out for delivery,” and we told the client to call us when it arrived to schedule a session to set it up.

Another benefit of the phone is that as long as it’s safe, I can respond while driving to appointments. Your solution may be as simple as answering a question or talking you through a process to fix a problem. If it’s more complex, we can find a date and time to give it more attention. You can’t get any instant attention by email or text.

Text messages can be particularly unproductive. They’re short – and terse – by nature, and if you hit somebody at the wrong time, it can be counterproductive. Here’s my own illustration.

I was scheduled at a client for a whole day, but the job still ran longer than it should have. As it was getting toward the end of the day, I got a text from Danit at 4:58: be home for dinner? Frustrated by the job, I answered: don’t know. At 5:34: eat with us? Answer: no idea. At 5:38: should I make u dinner? Answer: don’t know.

She was concerned. I was frustrated and stressed. But we’re married and know each other. Think about how this exchange would come across between a worried and stressed customer and a frustrated and stressed-out me.

We can help you best if you pick up the phone and call – 973-433-6676 – when you have a problem that you think requires urgent attention. We can talk, determine the urgency level, and set up an appropriate time to fix the problem by the most efficient means. If it’s not urgent and you email us, we can have a discussion about it when we’re both able to give it proper attention. That’s customer service.