Whoever said running a well-oiled service organization was an easy job? In order to create the right recipe for success, there’s a lot to be considered: offering the best solutions, staying ahead of the competition, and minding constantly changing compliance and labor laws just to name a few. But even the best service providers know that in order to steer a smooth sailing ship, you’ve got to have the most basic ingredient – exceptional customer service and support. Consider this a fundamental of the human capital management (HCM) business. Without a well-polished customer service team and effective support processes in place, you could easily find yourself going from smooth sailing to paddling upstream.

Like any thriving industry, the competition can become fierce. As the HCM market continues to grow, your customers and prospects have more and more options to choose from when it comes to selecting a service provider. So, what makes you stand out from the crowd? You need to be able to provide customer service and support that exceeds your customers’ expectations and the ability to prove your unique value props early on during the sales cycle with your prospects. One solid benefit you can offer as a smaller to mid-sized HCM provider is responsive and personalized training and support – one that many big boxed vendors can’t.

Merging an exceptional customer experience with tried and true internal support processes is the winning combination that will help lead you on the road to success. Kronos Workforce Ready Vice President of Customer Support Zach Untracht offers up ways service providers can bolster their support through Kronos’ tested methodology. It all starts with a customer-focused mindset and identifying their best interests to drive your unique support approach. How does Kronos do this? Zach lists three things in particular:


1. Building a service-oriented team

Zach said at Kronos, it starts with hiring people who will provide great service. What does that talent profile look like? He looks for those who have a service orientation – people that get personal value from helping others. Zach mentioned, “We find that if we hire service-oriented people and teach them the Workforce Ready application, they naturally figure out the right thing to do for our customers.” He mentions HR and payroll domain knowledge is also imperative since it is core to what they 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,” Zach stated.

Zach mentioned that to maintain a high retention rate of great service-oriented employees, you must put them in front of customers, empower them to solve problems, and only monitor metrics that support them in doing that. He also mentioned, “By keeping our entire business aligned to our customers’ 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

Every HCM provider and vendor uses a different support model; some provide a single point of contact while others take more of a round-robin approach. On Kronos’ HCM support team, the philosophy is that no single person can typically problem solve for everything that an HCM solution can do. Zach commented, “Think about your customers’ organizations and the expertise they have focused on different parts of their business – they 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 an HCM provider like yourself is supporting their business? Zach said that his support team finds they 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 the customer 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,” Zach stated.


3. A differentiated customer experience

Zach agreed that implementing a new HCM system 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,” he said. Zach mentioned by doing this they feel their 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 he said makes the difference between basic support and a really great experience for their customers.

There are a lot of HCM solutions and service providers in the market today and the evaluation process for any organization can be overwhelming. Entrusting a service provider to take care of a business’s HCM needs is a big decision. Make the process easier by offering them the total customer experience beginning on the first sales call. Determine areas that make you stand out from your competitors and how those align with your prospects’ and customers’ goals. Once you have an approach that works for you and your clients, you’re well on your way to success!

Published: Friday, December 21, 2018