It’s the age-old question that keeps rearing its ugly, unwelcome head: How do you truly transform the customer experience? It sure seems easier said than done, but one company is showing that giving the customer experience a well-needed facelift is easier than previously thought to be. According to Panasonic’s (News - Alert) Simon Parkinson, it’s all about applying new technologies in the right areas.
Recently, Parkinson, head of service for north-west Europe at Panasonic, divulged in an exclusive interview how the company uses new technologies to improve customer service, drive sales and boost overall efficiency.
“Recently we've launched an initiative aimed at improving the quality of the technical assistance we offer customers through our nationwide network of support engineers,” he explained. “We've set up an internal online training platform for technical staff, called Insite, which uses social media tools to make it easier for them to keep up to date with the latest guidance on repairing Panasonic products.”
Insite, which is based on a solution by a company called Fusion Universal, is especially designed to improve knowledge-sharing without organizations, Parkinson added. It is normally used as a “starting point” to give engineers access to an online forum where they can ask and answer a variety of questions about technical issues, as well as share insights they’ve gained while on the job, he elaborated.
After ditching training manuals and other dull forms of staff support, Parkinson says “it’s much easier for engineers to top up their understanding of the technical issues that [their] customers might experience.” In other words, it gives them truly deep and unparalleled insight into what the customer expects, wants and needs to know. Even better is the fact that it can provide this anywhere, as it has no limitations as to where staff can access technical support – whether it’s a mobile or tablet device or traditional desktop.
“The upshot of this is a better and more consistent standard of technical support for Panasonic's customers, helping maintain the reputation of the brand for delivering quality, reliable products. Our engineers can resolve customers' technical challenges faster and more effectively, ensuring they enjoy a better experience with our products,” he explains.
In conclusion, Parkinson offers some advice as to what he thinks makes the customer experience a successful one. Bottom line: it’s all about using the technology effectively.
“There's no point in using technology for its own sake – it has to offer a genuinely practical solution for staff or customers. We chose to base our new knowledge-sharing platform on Fusion Universal's solution not because it contains flashy technology, but because it uses this to deliver a more intuitive, useful service for staff… if you can successfully integrate new technologies within your customer service processes, employees can quickly recognize the value it can deliver.”
Parkinson continues, noting that it’s vital to carefully determine how this technology will improve the customer experience as well as strengthen the overall credentials of the company brand.
“Without a clear sense of the purpose behind deploying the technology, it is harder to secure buy-in from staff and difficult to gauge whether it has been successful or not,” he says. “A grounded, practical approach is best. Within the technology sector, the most successful companies are those with a product that consumers have been quick to see the value of when integrating it into their everyday lives. The same principles should guide the use of technology in retail: does it offer something new that will genuinely benefit customers and/or employees?”
To learn more about all of Panasonic’s consumer-friendly, award-winning offerings, visit www.Panasonic.com.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein