May 24, 2021
In industry, a collectively successful synergy is often indicated by the notion of the whole being ‘more than the sum of its parts: the concept that more can be achieved by the joint collaboration and mutual strengthening of all departments within a company.
For companies, exceptional customer service is not only enhanced by a sales department, but also relies on the bedrock efforts and role of the service department and technicians in forging a very strong link in the chain of customer experience.
In upholding the principle of exceeding customer’s expectations, and with a business-centric ethos of making agility count for customers through the provision of remarkable service, Rand-Air – an established leader in the field of air, nitrogen, power, flow (pumps), steam boiler and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division, recently held a national customer service roadshow (workshop) for the service department.
For roadshow participants – Rand-Air service department team members Service Administrator and Support in Jet Park, Gauteng, Denise Moodley, Service Supervisor in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, Zane Hippolyte and experienced Yard Technician at the Rand-Air Cape Town branch in the Western Cape Alphons Motalingoane – the roadshow workshop provided invaluable insight into the role of the services department in contributing to and advancing meaningful customer service.
“The roadshow emphasised that apart from perhaps more obvious aspects of the business – such as the sales team – the service department also forms an integral part of customer service and consequently, in the customer’s entire experience of Rand-Air,” says Hippolyte.
The roadshow, hosted at all Rand-Air branches and depots across the country, was facilitated by the company’s management team – including General Manager Kim Coetzee, Fleet Manager Craig Swart and Sales and Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne. The training centered on the role and importance of the Rand-Air service department with regard to the complete customer service experience provided, the customer service interface communication and relationships, and explored positive strategies for impactful performance and success.
“As a service department, we now view the value chain as a whole and understand the importance of our role within Rand-Air and the impact the services team can make on a successful customer experience. Moving forward, we aim to provide our service in an amplified manner with even higher quality and standards than previously,” says Moodley.
She elaborates that further roadshow impressions include a greater understanding of providing a respectful and attentive service to both external and internal customers, such as the sales department: “By meeting and exceeding the demands and expectations of the internal sales team, we can drive this service excellence forward throughout the value chain, ultimately ‘paying it forward’ to external customers!” Moodley enthuses.
Hippolyte further proposes that this service excellence not only entails the customer receiving the best opportunity and equipment or solution, but a warm and personalised interaction in the process: “Such a dedicated and immersive service interface will ensure a customer’s return,” he advocates.
Motalingoane agrees: “The service department does have an empowered voice with the customers, through which we can make a transformative contribution. Moreover, a positive outlook – looking ‘on the bright side’ and being energetic and friendly – are all key elements in attracting the return of customers.”
Further describing the key points of the roadshow training, Hippolyte highlights improving communication between the service and sales teams, for example: “We should disregard the notion of the sales team being the only communicators and forming the only relationship with customers – while the service department only supplies, repairs or maintains equipment. The training showed us that ensuring an optimal customer experience is up to us all,” he explains.
In aligning with the sales team’s communications with the customer, and by also knowing what the customer needs – in terms of the type of equipment and for which site it is required; and, by confirming that the sourcing, supply and delivery process runs swiftly and smoothly – we can ensure agility and make it count,” Hippolyte emphasises.
“There will always be a higher level of service poised to positively impact customers’ experiences of Rand-Air. Despite the perception of having achieved an ideal quantity of customers, customer service by its nature necessitates continuous improvement,” - Moodley adds.
As Rand-Air, we have a responsibility in ensuring that we conscientiously, and continuously, provide the best customer service, to all customers and in every interaction,” she emphasises.
However, the realisation and acknowledgment that success is achieved by a team, and not an individual, is non-negotiable.
“Therefore, based on an impactful experience from the training – which also boosted our motivation and morale – we will increase our performance and productivity. By ensuring that we consistently work together as a team – from service to service – we can aspire to and achieve our ethos of making agility count and in reaching the common goals of Rand-Air as a whole,” - Moodley concludes.