Losing customers can be difficult to avoid. This company has an interesting approach to keeping its customers onside.
Eugene Nolan, managing director of Queanbeyan reseller MBITS, is a great believer in systems and infrastructure that turn customer service into a business strategy. Significantly, MBITS does not lose any clients, says Nolan.
The most important part is the MBITS ticketing system. Every customer inquiry is turned into a ticket, which always has to be resolved. “Every call raises a ticket, every email in the system raises a ticket,” Nolan says. “It’s a basic service delivery model. If someone rings up and says hello, we log a ticket. With our service desk or help desk, the calls are all answered within a minute. That is really important because there is nothing more frustrating when you have problems and you’re waiting on someone to answer.
“They also have the option to leave a voice mail if they want when they call the service desk. Every request that’s raised by a client is logged as a ticket and no ticket is closed without the client’s approval, even if the ticket is open for a year.”
Nolan says the ticketing system works a lot better than relying on email. It’s more resilient and more likely to be followed-up.
“Emails are not a good form of communication with clients because email can be easily ignored or overlooked, so ticketing is vitally important.
“A ticketing system by its nature can be done by phone call or someone can email and get a ticket booked. The difference between email and a ticketing system is that an average person would get 100 emails a day. It’s very easy to forget about an email. When an issue is opened on a ticket, it’s basically in your face and it is addressed.”
The ticketing at MBITS is carefully managed. “There may only be 20 to 30 tickets open at any one time,” he says. “There are people accessing the system so you don’t have one set of eyes looking at the issue. That’s really important.
“One of the things we do is reporting monthly on our performance. We do a lot of managed services work and our clients are long term so we report to our clients how many phone calls they raised, whether they were phone calls or emails, how long was the average ticket open for, how many tickets are still open at the end of the month.
“They can comment on it and ask why this is trending in a particular direction. They raise about 360 jobs a month so we categorise it according to which application is raised on the ticket and the nature of the problem. On average of the 300-plus tickets, we may have two that go forward for a month. Normally when something goes wrong with a product, we have to get vendors involved and that takes some time. It can be open two or three months.”
While the odd ticket can run for a year, most customers’ issues are sorted out quickly. “On average, 92 percent of requests are sorted out within four hours of them raising the problem with us and 95 percent are usually done within eight hours, and 98 percent are done within 24 hours.
We have statistics for how many tickets are logged. It’s fundamentally important in service delivery that you record your contact with your clients, no matter what it is. A ticketing system is the one source of truth. It has every point of contact with the client in it.” He says the system is constantly monitored to see what issues keep coming up.
“Normally we have a person on staff who looks at all the tickets,” he says. “His job is to look for trending in tickets and recurring issues.
“He will go through the ticketing system and actually categorise tickets based on application and user. We categorise tickets across all the applications. We then categorise them across users to see if we have problem users. If someone has 10 a month, then either there’s an issue with the machine or someone needs training. And then we help them through it.”
He says the company only hires people who are already trained in customer service and help desk operations. “They are mature; we normally don’t employ people who have no experience,” he says. “It’s just easier for us to employ people who are trained, and just train them in how we do things.”
All staff members are vetted to ensure the company only hires people focused on customer service as a strategy. Each person has two interviews. The first is to assess how they would fit into MBITS, the second is to assess their technical expertise. “They are put on six months’ probation in our company so we make sure we get the right individual,” he says.
“We don’t have a lot of staff turnover; we may only do two interviews a year.
- Every customer inquiry is turned into a ticket, which always has to be resolved.
- The ticketing system works a lot better than relying on email. It’s more resilient and more likely to be followed-up.
- The company only hires people who are already trained in customer service and help desk operations.
- All staff members are vetted to ensure the company only hires people focused on customer service as a strategy.