Customer Service – So What?
Customer Service is the third key element of Fusion’s strategy and some of you will think “so what?” As a software services business, the clue is in the second word – services. Fusion does not produce software but provides services around software – we are a service provider. Customers buy from us mostly for our service whereas a software vendor produces a product that the customers buys. Of course this has become blurred with the SaaS model and software companies are both service providers and producers, with mixed success, it has to be said. More importantly once a customer buys some software and starts using it, their switching costs are quite high – not true for a service provider! So we must provide a higher level of service than a software company.
It is very hard to consistently deliver a top service, something we all know as consumers. Services are delivered by people and things go wrong from time to time. A key part of our role is to continually improve processes and systems to reduce problems and service dissatisfaction. When things do go wrong, putting it right as quickly as possible is key, accepting quickly that the problem exists. Sometimes this involves going the extra mile or spending what money it takes to put it right. I certainly believe it is the response to a problem that is critical to service providers.
In my experience, some software companies and service providers often distort their interaction with customers through their quarterly targets. As a private company doing a deal or fixing a problem is not impacted by an artificial deadline. We are there for our customers for the long term, quarter after quarter, not just at quarter end. The same applies to aggressive sales commission plans that have thresholds at quarter end that make one quarter more important than the next. It distorts behaviour and ensures that customer don’t come first.