Recently, the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) honored several technology companies that earned certification in Support Staff Excellence (SSE) for 2020 at its TSIA Interact Virtual Technology & Services event.

SSE is a staff development program, offered by TSIA and delivered by Korn Ferry, that enables organizations to deliver a superior customer service experience by developing their most critical service delivery resource: their people. Certified TSIA SSE courses for customer success, technical support and field service include Service Ready, Service Ready for Technical Support, Service Ready for Field Service, Diagnostic Troubleshooting to Be Service Ready and Coaching to Be Service Ready.

SSE certification demonstrates that the entire service organization is committed to improving service delivery efficiency and optimizing the customer experience; it requires at least 90% of an organization’s management and front-line support staff to complete the Certified Support Professional training program. Organizations that finish the training are awarded the Certified Support Staff Excellence Center certification.

How Alcatel Continued Delivering Exceptional Customer Service in 2020

One 2020 TSIA honoree was Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, a global technology company that offers cloud, network and communications solutions. Alcatel first began offering technical support training courses for its staff back in 2014. But after the pandemic erupted, Alcatel’s training initiatives became even more important.

For Alcatel, it was critical to ensure business and service continuity for customers through the pandemic, according to Franck Dupuy, the company’s Head of Service Operations. The company, which has an 80-employee customer experience team, had to make overnight changes to set up a remote team capable of carrying out its commitment to deliver exceptional customer service—and one of the most critical steps the company took was developing and coaching managers and employees. The company has relied heavily on the skills imparted in Service Ready for Diagnostic Troubleshooting.

Dupuy explained, “Korn Ferry’s training courses have shown us how to move away from a command-and-control management style to a more collaborative, coaching-focused culture. Even though employees cannot work face-to-face during the pandemic, our managers are having more productive conversations with their employees. They’re now listening more and using more open-ended questions in coaching. As a result of the training, and the tremendous results we’ve seen, employees and managers are more motivated to continue working this way.” 

The training has also led to more positive customer feedback and fewer support tickets. When each ticket is closed, Alcatel surveys its customers and business partners. Over the years, the company’s customer experience metrics have improved steadily. Here are just a few examples of the growth in customer experience KPIs that the company has seen:

  • A faster fixed response time
  • A 6% drop in the number of cases that escalate to manager involvement
  • Fewer abandoned calls, dropping from 4.3% to 0.51% (abandoned calls are those where business partners don’t answer or follow up and calls that aren’t terminated in the right way)
  • A successful incident closure rate that has improved from 90.5% to 96.51% and is still growing

The training has also had a tangible effect on the company’s bottom line, according to Dupuy. He remarked, “Customers are increasingly renewing their maintenance contracts, with customers offering compliment after compliment to the service team, including ‘Awesome job as usual!,’ ‘Support Services provided the perfect solution,’ and ‘The technical support is quite reliable and timely.’” As a result of implementing customer service training, Alcatel has seen a 12% increase in customer renewals. 

Alcatel’s commitment to excellent customer service shows the importance of delivering positive experiences along the customer journey. To learn more about how Korn Ferry’s customer success training imparts critical skills that give your organization a powerful, sustainable customer service advantage, get in touch.

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