I routinely read articles on customer support methods to identify ways to improve our technical support. I recently read one reporting on the top 10 companies known for customer service. Most of these are familiar names in conversations about quality service: Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, FedEx, and UPS. Some of the key policies that place them in the top ten are keeping their websites simple and easy to navigate, compensating employees well, supplying the necessary tools enabling employees to provide an immediate solution, doing what’s best for the customer, hiring nice people, and alerting customers about issues that may affect them. These top companies work hard to be more responsive by empowering their employees to make necessary decisions as well as tracking and analyzing their services.

Like corporations with top customer service marks, we continually endeavor to improve our customer support. We consistently add new white papers, reports, and knowledge base articles to our MyCityworks.com user website for our clients and business partners. We hire courteous, conscientious, hard-working individuals who communicate well and understand both GIS and Cityworks, so they can readily answer questions and find solutions to reported issues. Our customer support representatives are empowered to make their own decisions but may also forward issues to myself or others in the company if necessary.

We also use our software (both Cityworks Desktop and Server AMS) to log calls and emails, search for similar problems at other client sites, enter comments about issues and resolutions, submit work to other employees, and track our interaction with our customers with a series of reports. We also utilize customer satisfaction surveys to track what you think of our service. This system gives us real-world experience to improve our service to our clients.

A recent Consumer Reports article about the top customer service “gripes” identified some problem areas for many customer service departments, such as confusing automated phone systems, inability to talk to a person, rude representatives, and ineffective solutions.

Over a year ago, we changed our phone system to provide a direct customer support number, (801) 990-1888. The automated system connects you to your regional representative. If your representative is unavailable, you are notified and given the option to contact another rep. Our representatives excel at researching problems and can access a wide variety of resources while working with a caller to determine the cause of an issue. Our goal is to allow you to easily contact the representative familiar to you. As the company continues to grow, we periodically adjust regional boundaries and add new customer support representatives.

We regularly receive emails praising the efforts of our representatives. Recently we received this comment: “I wanted to let you know that Kyle was a huge help and without him I would have been in trouble. The support he provided was top notch! He was always available via email, phone, and through GoToMeetings. I really appreciate all the support he provided, and I can’t express how thankful we are to have him as our support person.”

We have received similar comments about each of our regional representatives. At our recent user conference, numerous clients expressed gratitude for the support they received. We’re pleased with our team of competent professionals who are committed to ensure every contact results in a positive experience for our customers.

By Steve Thomas, Executive Manager, Customer Support, Cityworks