date02 November 2023

Customer service and the PODStar approach  

We all know what good customer service is and how it feels to be treated like a valued client, after all, we are all customers in one way or another. In our personal lives, when we shop, eat out in a restaurant or even when organising our home or car insurance, we are a customer of a business.

In our professional lives almost any interaction with another company places us as a ‘customer’, even if we’re not the ones signing off the purchase order. In each of these situations we instinctively feel the benefit of good service where we are treated as a valued customer. Sometimes we all feel the frustration of receiving poor service where we are treated as a customer reference number and not a person.  

For customers, especially in a business-to-business setting, once the pre-sales and order fulfilment process has been completed, the next key interaction is with the customer service team. Customer services operates as the gateway for customers to inquire about the product or service, raise any questions or concerns, and to engage with the company they have chosen as ‘partners’ to resolve their issues.  

From a business perspective, customer service is a vital part of any organisation and can go a long way to enhancing (or destroying) a brand’s image and reputation. It is where customer loyalty can be won (or lost!), where upsell and cross-sell opportunities can present themselves, and a single sale can become the start of a long-term partnership.  

AI and Customer Service

It has been claimed that AI will be the future of many different business functions, including customer service. Whilst AI is an exciting new technology that has the potential to provide some benefits it is a long way from being able to take over completely.  

Assisting with automation and pattern spotting are areas that AI can excel at, but at PODStar, we believe that customer service is, and should remain, a human endeavour. Our support for you will always be led by real people.  

We do not believe that AI will ever be able to fully replace people as the key elements of customer service requires that special human touch, such as:  

  • Listening: We don’t mean listening so that we can pass you along to the next choice of the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, we mean actually and actively listening. People listen in a way that makes the customer feel heard, but also in a way that clarifies the issues and moves the conversation in the right direction.  
  • Empathy and Understanding: Through actively listening people can relate to the caller, they can understand and empathise with them. They can create the kind of human connection that AI can never achieve.  
  • Adaptability: AI struggles with any form of complexity and multi-layered queries that don’t fit into a pattern. Whereas people can more easily and quickly adapt to the individual they are dealing with. This allows conversations to jump, change course or repeat themselves as they do naturally amongst people.  
  • Problem Solving: Adaptability leads to problem solving. There are times where the solution required is one that is ‘out-of-the-box’ and finding those options is only something that people can do.  
  • Human Connection: Finally, one of the key reasons to employ people in customer service is that most customers would rather deal with a person. That becomes even more important when it is a person that you have dealt with before. Long-term engagement, especially when issues are successfully resolved, creates a sense of trust and a strength of relationship that even the best AI cannot replicate.  

What this means for you

Here at PODStar we pride ourselves on our customer service. We are very proud of the people that work most closely with you, our customer. One of the key aspects of our customer service approach is that we don’t believe in waiting for issues to arise, instead we always seek to be proactive. This means that at PODStar customer service starts as soon as the project does.

All PODStar projects include the following:  

Initial scoping: initial exploratory conversations enable us to understand your key requirements and produce detailed workflows and integration work. This ensures that we all have clear visibility of how the project will progress. At PODStar, during the scoping phase, we gather detailed requirements and produce an animated mock-up of the proposed end to end solution. This mock-up allows our customers to visualise and understand the final product’s look and functionality before committing to the contract.  

Additionally, we use this mock-up at the point of delivery to compare against the actual delivered solution, to ensure we meet expectations. This comparison is an important step in gaining customer approval before initiating our free 30-day user acceptance testing (UAT) period.  

Go-Live support: from the moment the project goes live we are by your side offering enhanced support, either on-site or remote, to ensure that everything happens as smoothly as possible.  

Configuration: the PODStar system is fully configured to your desired workflow, including setting up the master data, so that all implementation is complete.  

Training: we believe in providing quality training that is tailored to your specific needs. Firstly, we conduct a thorough training needs analysis to determine what training approach is best suited to your current situation and future requirements. Based on the outcome of the analysis we create tailored training sessions.  

Project Management: throughout the process we provide experienced project management to ensure governance of all project delivery related activities.  

Should you need ongoing support once your project is live, then our team of support personnel – real people, experienced at providing enhanced support services that help you to optimise the running of your business operation – is on hand.  

However, the exceptional, personal support they offer means more than that. It means that any operational issues that you may face are swiftly rectified, so that normal business operations can continue, and any downtime is minimised. Our customer support works to ensure that you can always use PODStar to enhance the efficiency of your delivery operation.      

People of PODStar Profile

Discover the human intelligence behind our PODStar solution.  

Marc Hyder: Divisional Head of Product & Project Management  

Marc has worked at TouchStar for almost six years and overseas all aspects of product development and the end-to-end project delivery process. Marc is passionate about finding simple solutions to complex problems and removing burdensome process that hinder efficiency and productivity.  

Prior to joining TouchStar, Marc worked at the RAC and Masternaut in telematics roles. He also served in the British Army for six years with the Royal Corps of Signals in military intelligence.  

Using his experience and expertise, Marc is on a mission to simplify complexity with technology that delivers real value by boosting productivity and delivering cost savings to companies.  

Marc comments: “I have met with several companies that wanted to modernise their systems and move away from paper-based workflows but were concerned their workforce will resist a change to the unknown. We understand that it can feel daunting for many employees to make the shift, however no company can afford to be left behind in an economy that is so competitive. Real-time data is vital for effective decision making when scheduling drivers and deliveries. Without it companies are operating in the dark, which can lead to miscommunication, poor resource allocation and missed opportunities, all of which impact the bottom line.”  

“The PODStar system is so configurable, flexible and feature rich that when customers ask if our solution can solve their challenges, the answer in 99% of cases is yes. It is a hugely satisfying part of my job when PODStar revolutionises how the business functions and makes life easier for the employees by simplifying daily operations. A successful technology project should be user friendly, deliver a simple answer to complex scenarios and provide the company with a solid return on investment. If technology doesn’t work for the user, then it doesn’t work at all,” concludes Marc.