How to Improve the Customer Service Experience and Build Loyalty

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At Verizon Enterprise Solutions, creating excellent service experiences and keeping our customers happy is the top priority. Tom Garry, Verizon's managing director of global operations in Asia Pacific, advocates that great customer service is everyone's job. Nil Pritam sat down with Garry, during global Customer Service Week, to discuss his single-minded goal of focusing on stellar customer service, every day.

Tom GarryTom Garry, Managing Director of Global Operations,
Asia Pacific, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Verizon: How does VES measure customer satisfaction?

Garry: We measure our customers' happiness through daily, short transactional surveys coupled with a semi-annual "Voice of the Customer" relationship survey. Relationship survey results are captured through two metrics: a customer loyalty index (CLI), which measures how likely a customer is to remain a customer and a net promoter score (NPS), which measures the willingness of customers to recommend Verizon to others. Our VES teams are continually transforming our business — we have invested in focused service improvement plans for customers and rigorous execution of service lifecycle best practices. In essence, our approach is always that our best is good enough for today, but tomorrow, we'll do better.

Verizon: You talked about business transformation efforts. What does this involve?

Garry: We've transformed our global operations team to offer consistent levels of support for customers buying similar products and services. We have a range of service models and automated tools that enable us to offer our customers high-quality service, linked to a disciplined approach to business process improvement. Hundreds of Verizon Lean Six Sigma initiatives, across global operations, help refine business processes, and in doing so improve — directly or indirectly — the customer experience.

Another platform and process improvement investment, Verizon Rapid Delivery, is helping simplify how we are able to do business [by] eliminating rework, handoffs and errors. It has helped automate and speed up the delivery of our products and services to customers. We also expand the number of ways customers can transact with us through the Verizon Enterprise Center portal, which includes mobile self-service options.

Verizon: What do customers value?

Garry: It's simple, really. Our customers want high-quality services, delivered on time and well supported. Any process improvement which removes the onus on the customer to call us is also important — hence our ongoing investment in our customer portal capabilities and network management tools. It seems quite obvious, but our customers also expect accurate and timely bills for the services they receive — so the full end-to-end experience — from placing the order to receiving the bill — has to be completely joined up and integrated.

Verizon: What makes a great customer service agent or client service delivery professional?

Garry: Whether in a service center-based environment or onsite with our customers, great service agents and client professionals always strive to make it easier for customers to do business with us. They need to listen, anticipate and respond to our customers' needs. This is a key tenet of Verizon's credo: "We focus outward on the customer, not inward. We make it easy for customers to do business with us, by listening, anticipating and responding to their needs." We mean what we say.

Verizon: What keeps you up at night?

Garry: Our customers — sometimes literally — keep me up at night. Despite all our best efforts, things can and do at times go wrong, and we need to ensure we're there to help our customers whenever they need us. I believe a well-known CIO said once, "The customer experience is the next competitive battleground." Our view is that we should be partners with our customers, working together to help them achieve their business goals. Our every effort is made on their behalf, and service excellence is our key objective. If that threatens our competition, we'll leave them to worry about it.

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