The Changing Face Of Customer Service

Dhiren Savla, Chief Information Officer, VFS GlobalVFS Global is one of the largest outsourcing and technology services specialists for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages administrative and non-judgmental tasks related to visa, passport, identity management and other citizen services for its client governments.

Customers and their expectations are constantly evolving, and rightly so. With the advent of technology, the possibility of delivering services faster and more efficiently is continually growing. We now live in the world of 4G data, next day delivery, 30- minute pizzas; in short, instant gratification. What remains unchanged is the demand for high quality service. In fact, with the exposure we now have to the world around us, the customer cannot be fooled into accepting anything short of high quality.

So, in the current scenario, customer expectation is absolute convenience with no compromise in quality and experience, and it holds true for every service category. Moreover, with technology advancing at its current rate, it is becoming increasingly imperative that consumer-facing industries deliver on these fronts, if we want to remain ahead of the game.

Today’s customer is looking for easy navigation through information and options, and clear instructions in order to understand the most convenient and efficient way to purchase products and services. To serve this need, companies like ours have moved to new digital platforms that are locally available in multiple languages. The most important is to make the sites intuitive so the platform is available on any device, perfect for the customer on the go. It is a small yet significant change that puts your customers front and center.

Having said that, ensuring consistency in customer service at every touch point can be challenging, especially for larger organisations with multi country operations. Synergising technological infrastructure and customer experience has become the need of
the hour to help lay a strong foundation for customer service in a more comprehensive manner.

At VFS Global, we have adopted a new agile way of working - we develop and release software earlier in our development process. The emphasis remains on maintaining a rigorous approach to content governance, to maintain integrity of our global user experience. These efforts provide a strong base to explore more business opportunities by placing the customer and digital innovation at the heart of our strategy.

It is important for every organisation to remember that customer satisfaction is the keystone of all service-driven industries

VFS Global is the industry pioneer and has been in the visa services business for about two decades. The company has always laid a heavy emphasis on technological innovations to better serve our applicants, be it doorstep visa applications or app-based submission options. We build on some of our biggest technological successes introduced in the last five years, and are continually expanding on these to ensure customer satisfaction.

More recently though, we ventured into the government services space, and realised that this new customer expectation of convenience and quality transcends to this vertical as well. No longer does the average citizen want to stand in long queues at municipal offices and spend hours on getting the required documentation. This was a whole new playing field for us when we started, especially in a country like india where, owing to distances and population, bringing convenience into citizen services has been a long time coming. So we leveraged the expertise in customer convenience gained through our years in the visa services space, and developed the technology and methodology required to bring the same experience to citizen services as well.

There are myriad transformational solutions introduced on a routine basis in every aspect of the visa and citizen services businesses. Against that backdrop, we continue to build on some of our biggest technological successes introduced in the last five years, and which are continually expanding.

It is important for every organisation to remember that customer satisfaction is the keystone of all service driven industries. To this end, in addition to building on backend processes, it is essential to also invest in customer centricity. Seeking feedback from customers on your service delivery should be incorporated in the company’s DNA.

Apart from gauging information from internal stakeholders or conducting industry trend analysis, it is paramount for organisations to be alert and gather data as to what their customers are saying on various platforms and their expectation. These insights are vital so companies can accurately pre empt requirements, tweak processes and innovate the next level of products and services.

As an organisation, our strategy has always been to continuously work on these strengths - leverage technology, strong process orientation and customer service focus to meet the requirements of the customers in a secure and reliable manner in all our client partnerships.