Taking Customer Support to the Next Level in Today’s Business Environment

Q&A with Darren Kolb, Executive Director of Client Services, Verizon Partners Solutions (VPS)

How would you define today’s business climate through the lens of the Information and Communications Technology industry?

Historically, buying decisions have been primarily based on price, but in today’s environment there are so many more factors to consider. Customers are increasingly focused on customer experience. It is not enough to earn the first sale with a customer. We have to continue to earn the trust and confidence of our customers with our services in every interaction. Furthermore, businesses have to be agile now more than ever.

Speaking of agility, what are some of the ways Verizon Partner Solutions has worked to better support customers throughout the pandemic?

The onset of the pandemic led to some immediate shifts in the way we do business. My team recognized the impact the pandemic had on our customers and also on their end users, and quickly adjusted some of our traditional operating models to better suit customer needs. For example, we did virtual engineering site walks when being physically present was not an available option. We transitioned our entire team to a work-from-home model and handled numerous emergency orders to support the telecom needs of our customers, including essential service providers. Clear communication was key in supporting business continuity. We also developed a daily joint task force with our clients to identify their critical needs, which we worked internally to solve for them.

What Customer Relationship Management (CRM) trends are you seeing across the industry and what steps has VPS taken to improve customer relationships in the past year?

Customer Relationship Management is becoming such an essential piece in driving the personalized experiences that can delight customers. As an example, customers are expecting carriers to anticipate their requests and provide information prior to them requesting it. Several years ago VPS started looking at how customers were doing business with us and the processes involved. We want to digitally transform the customer experience in an effort to make it easier for customers to do business with us. Our goal has been to create an integrated process end-to-end. We are half-way through our journey to transform the wholesale customer experience, and we have plans to add more products and digital capabilities as a part of our new Verizon Partner Solutions Exchange platform.

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