Cloud computing arguably grew out of a business model that initially catered to small and medium sized businesses. Certainly the small business sector drove much of the initial growth of cloud computing. These businesses wanted convenient and expeditious access to more resources, for less money.
Software as a service with lightning quick deployment, for little or no upfront investment, is a seductive proposition. Because of the modest cost, few customers were ever surprised at the low level of customer service they got.
Cloud Computing and Large Enterprise Customers
Most found it impossible to speak to a warm body when customer issues surfaced. Cloud computing caters to large enterprise customers more than ever, especially those that have their own set of reasons for wanting to exploit the advantages of the cloud.
Unfortunately, some public clouds that cater to large customers, still like the idea of not having to answer phones. They don’t feel they need to provide a high level of personalized customer service.
The Market Will Self Correct
It is understandable that cloud providers that are transcending the small business market into the large enterprise market might assume a business as usual mindset. Nevertheless, large businesses that are used to top level customer service will not lower their standards.
While the public clouds that provide world class customer service may be in the minority during the initial transition, the market has a way of adjusting and self correcting. It is only a matter of time before the best providers with the most desirable customer service offerings will rise to the top. The market will demand it.
Differentiate or Die
This is why a recent article in Forbes Magazine suggests that one of the critical questions every cloud computing buyer needs to ask before signing a contract, has to do with customer service. More specifically, does the provider provide 24-hour customer service?
Many traditional and overcrowded industries require innovators to really get creative in finding unique selling propositions to differentiate themselves from competitors. The key to success in the emerging cloud computing industry is an industrial strength no-brainer. Those providers that build a quality, responsive and personalized customer service offering into their business model will sit back and watch the bottom feeders fall by the wayside.
Elements of Quality Customer Service
We have all experienced the disappointment of paying for a service that is having technical problems or just not meeting our expectations. The frustrations can grow exponentially, the harder we try without success, to get the problem resolved with the customer service department.
Putting together an effective and responsive customer service protocol does not involve rocket science. It usually consists of a few basic, common sense elements such as, providing a toll free number that somebody actually answers. It involves customer service representatives that are courteous, knowledgeable and empowered to get the problem fixed without jumping through hoops.
As the cloud computing industry continues to mature in catering to large enterprise, the quality of customer service will also mature.
What do you do to maintain a high level of customer service? Let us know in the comments.