It is one thing for a technology company to provide an excellent end-to-end solution for its users, but its services should not begin and end with the product, writes LeaseTeam’s Ashley J Willey.

While many businesses credit innovation as being the core of their success, others are redefining innovation by providing unparalleled service baked right into their technology solution.

Customer service is an honest effort on behalf of everyone that interacts with the individual at any given point to ensure their experience with the company is consistently efficient.

In a world where people are empowered and informed more than ever through online markets, 59% of buyers prefer to do research online instead of interacting with a sales rep, making customer reviews a potential tipping scale for possible clients.

In 2014, Bright Local found that 88% of people trust online reviews from strangers as much as personal recommendations, and businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers when just one negative article is found by buyers considering their product.

Customer reviews can be an invaluable asset for any solution provider, especially for those that require significant investment into the products and services they are offering.

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Moreover, when clients review a product, they are often basing it on the experience with the company as a whole. When reviews are left they are often an effort to communicate an issue they would like resolved, and the faster it is addressed, the better.

Technology and social media platforms provide businesses with an opportunity to increase touch points with customers, and each of these interactions is a chance for the business to enrich the experience that the client has with the organisation.

However, with the client’s increased need for immediacy through platforms like social media, it can sometimes be difficult for an organisation to make these touch points an efficient part of the service experience. To the customer, the service did not necessarily start when they connected with a sales rep; it started the moment that they looked at the company’s website, which can ultimately set the tone for the entire customer experience.

Improve the Experience

Since 2008, some companies found themselves distracted by the continuous increase of regularity scrutiny, commoditisation, consolidation, and excess liquidity within the equipment leasing and finance industry, making meeting customer expectations less of a priority.

Despite these added challenges, it is important for an organisation to set itself apart from competitors by proactively tailoring the customer journey through the use of robust technology.

Furthermore, data analytics can provide insight on how to meet their expectations and make accurate market predictions. Data analytics also empower any given person within the organisation to serve the client better by giving them complete access to a customer’s status and experience history.

Companies like Amazon have been at the forefront of using analytics to provide buyers with an experience unique to their tastes and interests. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has said: “If you are competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”

However, a company’s focus should not fall completely on the customer.

Investing in Employees

According to The Telegraph, in a survey conducted by the Institute of Customer Service, Britons placed staff competence within an organisation as the most important factor for customer service.

While employee engagement may not be the entire cause of customer satisfaction, there is an undeniable correlation between the two. A case study by ITSMA provided a detailed look at the comprehensive approach to customer satisfaction that international software company Kronos took to improve its performance.

Since the company’s satisfaction initiative in 1995, it has continued to evolve and improve its services. Kronos used incentives, collaboration and analytics to increase employee engagement and provide customers with a more enthusiastic and seamless experience, contributing significantly to the overall success of the company.

There should always be transparency in expectations during the customer’s journey. Anyone working with a client at any given point in resolving an issue should take ownership of that user’s recurring problems and help them solve them. Organisations that provide employees with 360-degree views of the client’s journey can adequately address issues, making the experience more satisfying for everyone involved.

While many factors contribute to a company’s success, it is the customer that lies at the heart of that success. If a company focuses all its efforts on developing a product, it will ultimately miss the opportunity to provide clients with an experience that they can only find by working with that particular business.

Today’s customers expect organisations to consistently invest in the sometimes emotional journey they are having with the company.

Whether those touchpoints are on social media or direct contact on a support line, as technology evolves so will the desire for customer service – a service that is innovative, fast, and baked right into the technology solution you provide them.