Service Excellence is in the Eye of the Beholder

With more than 25 years in the customer support arena, I’ve witnessed many changes in the technology industry and certainly an evolution within customer support delivery. While we strive to continually innovate in areas that will benefit our customers, it’s important that we not lose sight of the basics.  A simple question worth pondering is, “Why is delivering service excellence important?”

The short answer is customers rely on customer support organizations–not only to help them to keep their businesses running, but to support a competitive advantage through use and investment in technology. For example, at EMC, customers in the financial services industry rely on our technologies and services so they can provide services to their own customers. Transactions and activities such as ATM usage, account information access, trading stock and processing home loans are all critical to their business, so in turn, providing high quality support to customers is a responsibility we take very seriously.

Beyond this, it makes good business sense to invest in service excellence as it helps to maintain a leading position in the market. For example, while EMC is recognized for its superior technologies, service plays an important role in EMC’s success. Customers continue to buy our technologies at an increasing rate because they value the service and support EMC provides. But service excellence isn’t something that can be simply added as an afterthought. Service excellence is more of a mission – a way to run the business. From product development, engineering, sales, account management, and yes customer support, there must be an intent focus on doing what is right for the customer. This focus should be part of the company culture and this doesn’t happen overnight. I can tell you that while you will find this customer-focused culture prevalent at EMC today, this began 20 years ago.

How do we know what is right for customers? From my perspective, you need to ask customers as often as possible – seeking this information right from the source is key! Customer surveys, customer meetings, industry conferences, and support interactions are all opportunities to listen and learn. Then, you must be fanatical about analyzing and synthesizing the information so it becomes the driving force behind service delivery improvements. The reward comes when customers like East Carolina University share their story — because in the end, service excellence is in the eye of the beholder – satisfied customers.

 “”We know that EMC will do whatever it takes to resolve our issue. This is huge for us. In fact, our satisfaction with EMC customer support has impacted our decision to continue buying more EMC technology.”
Garrett Killian, Operations & Systems Analyst, East Carolina University

About the Author: Mary Cay Kosten

Mary Cay leads a team of 1400 professionals that provide operational support to the Dell Technologies Services organization. Her team is responsible for driving operational excellence and implementing innovations across Dell Technologies Services. This includes areas such as eServices & Knowledge Management, Program and Change Management, Business Services, Remote Support Contact Center Operations, Command Center, Process Engineering and Data Sciences, Data Enablement and Analytics, and the Global Centers of Excellence. Kosten has over 30 years of experience in service and supplier management, with a proven track record in building outstanding service delivery organizations. Prior to joining Dell EMC, she was Vice President of global customer services delivery for Oracle/Sun Microsystems, responsible for delivering all elements of Sun Microsystems’ support services. Under her leadership, Sun achieved the prestigious J.D. Power Certified Technology Service and Support (CTSS) Award for "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience," the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Award for Excellence in Service Operations, and Sun was inducted into the STAR Awards Hall of Fame. Kosten is a 2008 recipient of the Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business (High Tech and Telecommunications) Award and a 2006 recipient of the Silicon Valley YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award. She also is on the Advisory Board for TSIA’s Field Services discipline. She holds an MS degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a BS in marketing from the University of West Florida.