Keep standards high and response time low
Feb 26, 2018-Pramesh Kharel, the managing director of the internet service provider Classic Tech, has been with the company since its inception in 2010. In that time, he has overseen the company branch out into 72 districts with 1,100 employees. As the internet penetration in the country grows and the market gets more competitive by the year, Kharel says that his company’s unique selling point is that it puts superior customer service at the heart of everything. In this interview with The Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Kharel talks about the evolving market and the keys to keeping customers happy in a demanding environment. Excerpts:
How did Classic Tech’s journey begin?
When I was growing up, internet was something new and exciting. I also remember visiting cyber cafes with friends and having to wait for a long time for just a single webpage to upload. At the time, though I didn’t know any better, I had always wished to see a faster internet service. So, in 2010, when the internet connectivity started getting better, I was fortunate to be able to enter the market with a team that tried to offer competitive packages to customers. Currently Classic Tech provides internet services in 75 districts through 21 branches. From our wide network, we employ over 1,110 employees and serve more than 45,000 clients.
Internet penetration has increased significantly in Nepal and many internet providers have introduced interesting and attractive packages for customers. How does Classic Tech stay competitive in the market?
It is true that internet penetration has greatly increased. It is easy for any internet service provider to introduce lucrative packages but there is a tough competition because almost every company has similar packages. It is also true that a lot of companies are focusing on increasing the current clientele rather than planning for the future. At Classic Tech, we try and focus on providing a reliable service to our valued customers but also keep evolving for the future. We see no point in just working towards increasing subscribers if at the end of the day you can’t give them what they paid for.
Your sector does need to focus on customer service. What are the key service mantras that Classic Tech abides by?
Addressing customer issues instantly has always been our core mission. If we don’t provide the best possible service to our customers, there is no point for our existence. At Classic Tech, we believe that it is important to be there for the customers regardless of the time and place. Technical issues can come up at any time, and should you fail to address them immediately, you might lose the customer forever. At our company we have internalised how important internet has become—without it, students can miss their assignment deadlines; someone may be having a business meeting on Skype, and so on. Hence, to assure excellent services, we have opened many branches and support centres, and are planning on establishing more in the coming days. Because, internet service providers are getting better with their services and marketing schemes, it is only natural that we don’t give our customers room for complaints. For us, customer service means having a well-trained, highly-responsive staff with a deep technical knowledge and expertise.
Technical issues are inevitable in your line of work. How quickly does Classic Tech respond to network issues?
There have been many instances where network issues have caused a heavy damage to a company’s brand. For us, we are very particular about how customers perceive our brand. It is true that network/technical issues are inevitable. Currently, because most people are always connected to the internet, customers get very agitated when internet doesn’t work even for five minutes. So, as soon as we discover that a certain area has a technical issue, we assign our technical staff immediately and sort out the issue within 10 minutes to 30 minutes. However, if there is a critical situation like fibre breakage, it takes us a maximum of four to six hours to sort out the problem. Thankfully, we have hardly received any complaints regarding technical matters. And we want to stay this way. The other point is, we constantly try to improve ourselves. Our employees are well-trained and motivated to work and to learn new things. In a field like ours, it is important to work as a team.
How do you train your employees to become better at customer service?
To be sustainable in this cut-throat business, you need to aim for perfection. We understand that to be on top of your game, you need to grow along with your employees. If your employees grow, you grow, your company grows. If you don’t take good care of those people who work for your vision, the company will surely fail. I believe that it is essential to help your employees improve constantly, and to train and motivate them. At Classic Tech, we train our employees regularly and make them participate actively in technical and non-technical seminars. We also involve them in conferences and webinars. Apart from these activities, we focus on giving emotional and financial support to our employees. They need to feel at home when they are working for you. For an employee to be better at work, an employer needs to constantly motivate them. They need to be given a pat on their shoulders when they achieve more than what was targeted. Also, I think each employee should be given equal opportunities to grow; that way there is no room for negativity and unhealthy competition.
What are your top tips to great customer service?
Be proactive. Stay visible and available. Smile is the biggest, yet the most underappreciated asset. You need to smile when you see a customer and while bidding them goodbye—it encourages customers to return again and again. For internet service providers, it is essential to always have a back support and to have clear communications with customers. Always use positive language. Keep standards high and response time low.
Published: 26-02-2018 08:40