Customer service is arguably the most important aspect of the relationship with an HCM vendor. While it is critical to ensure that any HCM technology selected has the features and functionality required to meet your business goals and objectives, long-term partnership and exceptional ongoing support are the true keys to success.
At Kronos, our #1 focus is customer experience – the way we hire, motivate and structure our teams is around helping to drive success for our customers. Hiring service-oriented people and giving them the latitude to always do the right thing for our customers is at the heart of everything we do.
At the core, every support organization exists to answer your questions. Where they differ is in the approach. Some use a traditional call center model with strict handle times and multiple escalation tiers. While this approach works well to create a highly efficient team, customer needs are lost until they reach the person that has the skills and time to solve their issue. Others might use an account management model where all support is handled by an assigned representative. Here, customer experience is directly related to the ability of the assigned rep and the number of customers they have assigned.
We believe the best way to support our customers is to provide them a small team of highly capable people, and then remove the tiered barriers, so they can work with the right person the first time. How do we do this? We focus on three key things:
1. Building a service-oriented team
It all starts with hiring people who will provide great service. What does that talent profile look like? We look for those who have a service orientation – people that get personal value from helping others. We find that if we hire people with that and teach them the application, they naturally figure out the right thing to do for our customers. HR and Payroll domain knowledge is also imperative since it is core to what we do. With this knowledge, our team can take the time to understand what you are trying to accomplish – once they know that, finding a way to get the application to help is typically the easy part.
We believe the high retention of great service-oriented people means putting them in front of customers, empowering them to solve problems and only monitoring metrics that support them in doing that. By keeping our entire business aligned to our customer’s success, our team members feel good knowing they are doing the right thing for them and their business. As a result, they stay with us a long time.
2. Providing the right expertise
HCM companies use different support models in the market; some provide a single point of contact while others take more of a round-robin approach. On our HCM support team, the philosophy is that no single person can typically problem solve for everything that an HCM solution can do. Think about your organization and the expertise you have focused on different parts of your business – you may have someone who knows HR, someone who focuses on payroll, benefits or compliance, and someone else that focuses on operations. You don’t expect one person to know all those functions; you have knowledgeable people assigned to each one.
So, why assume it’s any different when a vendor is supporting your business? We find we can solve customer issues faster and more accurately with small teams of dedicated individuals. Each with unique expertise, they collaborate to solve issues right then and there – rather than escalating or transferring you to someone else. We’ve found that this approach allows our customers to build a relationship with their support team while giving them the resources needed to answer their questions quickly.
3. A differentiated customer experience
We know that implementing a new HCM solution can be long and painful, and sometimes even end up failing either through lack of adoption or inability to meet requirements. It’s important to us that our customers don’t end up there, and that they have the support experience they need to thrive after implementation. We coach our customers to set them up for success and increase their self-sufficiency. Our approach provides customers with a Kronos coach who can help review configurations, explain best practices, monitor daily processing and troubleshoot issues. By doing this we feel our customers mitigate the risk of failure, accelerate the point at which they start realizing value, and increase adoption and productivity. Getting these things right is what makes a difference between basic support and a really great experience for our customers.
There a lot of great vendors in the market doing innovative things with their products. As a buyer of HR software, it’s important to really think about the pieces of the vendor experience that matter most to you, your organization, and your teams. When you’re searching for a solution, make sure the product aligns with your needs – but don’t forget to equally evaluate the total experience you will receive with each vendor long-term.