Chats, Models and Challenges: Introducing a new IRIS Support
IRIS customer support has seen a whirlwind of change this year. Since moving our support team from our head office in Datchet to a new base in Slough, our customer service has been going from strength to strength.
Our first step was to cross-train our support staff, so that they could answer questions on multiple products rather than just one. Thanks to our new training system, our support staff are able to answer questions on both tax and accounts and this is only the start – my goal is for our staff to be experts in all our software. This means that more people can help resolve your issues which has seen a considerable improvement in our wait times.
Alongside these positive changes is a new single phone line that connects directly with support. I was just not happy that customers were incurring premium rate charges for calling support. So, I’m glad to say that this has now been rectified and our phone numbers have been changed to free 0344 numbers.
Introducing Online Chat
We have also introduced online chat. I am sure a lot of customers would prefer to get their answer without having to call up our support centre.
Scroll through our website’s support pages and you’ll notice an option to Ask IRIS Support. This connects you to one of our support team who will answer your questions, leaving you to get on with your work. With Online Chat our team can assist up to nine customers at one time, last month 627 customers contacted us on this platform.
Just three months ago our support lines were, honestly, not good enough. We could not answer your calls quick enough. Customers were left hanging on the phone for far too long but now, following the changes we have made, the waiting time for customers has been reduced significantly.
Our customers are aware that we have the best product on the planet, that’s completely integrated and nobody else can do what we can do. But they are justifiably disappointed when support lets us down i.e. when you’re made to wait a long time or support staff don’t have the answer to your question. This is why we are always taking measures to ensure our customer support is the best it can be.
IRIS role models
The example I always use is John Lewis that has been frequently praised for its excellent customer service. Like all businesses, every John Lewis partner across the company is responsible for upholding John Lewis’ reputation. When I’m shopping there I have no interest in the CEO, only the customer service partner who’s helping me with my transaction. As a result, their behaviour plays a vital role in my impression of the company. We install this same principle at IRIS.
In April, some issues with HMRC caused a huge number of support calls as customers were calling IRIS with their concerns. In response to this (the average wait time was unacceptable in my opinion) we took Product Managers, Consultants & trainers off their day job and enlisted them to help with support. I stole this idea from a friend of mine who is a director of one of our high street retailers. They send their HQ staff out to the stores during busy periods like Christmas.
This is what I mean when I ask my team to have a “can do” attitude. Without customers a company like IRIS would not exist. Making customers wait too long is a great way to encourage them to seek alternatives. Why would I want that?!
Customer support is the heart of IRIS. Without this we crumble, so we’re always looking at ways we can improve our support. To this end, if you have any questions on how we can improve or would like to get in touch please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org