Brian Wolff, our President and CEO, moderated a panel, “Optimizing Technology and People to Effectively Manage the Customer Experience,” at the recent T2 Connect conference.
Participants included Josh Cantor, Director of Parking and Transportation at George Mason University, Gabe Mendez, Director of Transportation Operations at the University of Wisconsin Madison and Anne Eskridge, Director of Transportation Services at the University of Washington.
Setting the Tone
Brian began the discussion by asking the panel how they set the tone for a great customer experience.
“The glue that keeps us together is our core values. It’s about hiring the right people and expecting them to do the right thing, go above and beyond, provide excellent communication, and a servant’s heart, honesty, and integrity,” Wolff said.
Eskridge said that they treat every staff member as internal customers.
“Do we treat them with kindness and respect and civility? If I can’t live that, how do they live that with our customers?” she said.
Mendez said that his team focuses on customers first and foremost. Required labor doesn’t deter them from undertaking new initiatives.
Implementing New Technology
Brian asked the panel how they decide what new technology to implement and to describe their process.
Cantor said his department carefully analyzes the university’s needs, including what is most pressing. For example, real-time parking signs were not a priority during COVID-19 because demand was down by 40%, since then they have focused on virtual permits.
Eskridge said they prioritize technology that alleviates their customers’ pain points and reduces their own department’s back-office burden. “Sometimes you have to work harder to get better,” she said. And while cost isn’t necessarily the main determinant, it is a factor as well. “If we’re going to get a big win in terms of labor savings, it may be worth the cost,” she said.
Communicating to the Audience
The next question was what strategies they use to communicate with their audience, alert them of upcoming changes and solicit feedback.
Cantor said involving the university’s communications department has been crucial to the success of their new initiatives, as it can “translate” information into an understandable language.
“Even if the technology is perfect, if people don’t understand how to use it, it’s worthless,” he said.
Cantor reaches out through every possible campus organization, attending meetings and including information in newsletters. “I was not shy about, ‘We have something important to get across,'” he said. “And instead of relying on our true and tried ways, really going out and getting people to help be our champions was really important.”
Wolff asked the panel how they identify those who struggle to use the new technology and manage those challenges.
“Every interaction is a chance to educate the customers on what you need them to do, what their options are,” Cantor said.
Eskridge emphasized that while complaints can be stressful, they offer a chance to educate customers.
Measuring Customer Experience
Panelists use various channels to solicit feedback, including biannual surveys and call analytics.
“We measure the number of calls coming in, and customer service measures how long they’ve been on hold, open salesforce cases, the age and nature of salesforce cases and how many are closed by employees,” Eskridge said. “We also measure how many adjudications our employees handle.”
Wrapping It Up
Wolff concluded by asking the panelists about their main message regarding how they optimize their customers’ experience.
Cantor emphasized the importance of relationships within different departments within the organization. “We provide a service to the entire organization,” he said. “The university doesn’t exist for us. We exist for them.”
Managing the Customer Experience Effectively
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Interested in learning more about how our solution can benefit your operation? Contact us and a member of our sales team will be in touch to discuss further.