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Customer Service - what does that mean?

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Customer Service – What does that “actually mean?”

I have recently been working with a number of organisations on projects and I am genuinely shocked by the varying level of “customer service” I received.  That got me thinking, do we actually know what “excellent customer service” is?

I spontaneously asked my team and they quickly and decisively said:

  • Service with a smile
  • Prompt responses
  • Knowing your product

That isn’t an exhaustive list as this blog will demonstrate, but I completely agree with the principles of what they were able to say. The points mentioned above aren’t onerous and they do not require a lot of preparation work however, when I compared the organisations I have been dealing with, some of them failed in all 3!

It is a mystery to me as to why, when you are working in a service-based industry, you wouldn’t want to ensure the person you are dealing with leaves with an excellent impression of you, the organisation you represent and your product!

Perhaps the companies I have been dealing with didn’t realise they were falling short of my expectations?  That poses another question……………………..

Complain or not complain?

To answer the question, no I haven’t complained

  • I am asking myself am I being too demanding? Are my expectations too high, unrealistically so?
  • The organisations do not have a complaints policy on their website so I am not confident they are interested in improving their customer experience, so why bother
  • I haven’t been sent an after service questionnaire so my overriding believe is that they are just not interested

There are many Benefits to receiving complaints!

  • You can learn from your customer’s perspective what it is like working with your organisation
  • You can make improvements!
  • You can put strategies in place to track and monitor to ensure your organisation consistently delivers a high level of service

Although complaints can be hard to receive, in customer service circles the phrase “a complaint is a gift” is often used.  One roadside rescue company said that 70% is about fixing the person, 30% is about fixing the car.

When was the last time you actually asked a customer how you were doing?

  • A quick and easy option to monitor your service is to initiate sending out questionnaires at the end of every piece of work
  • The manager or owner can personally call a customer to ask how they felt their last engagement with their company went
  • Complete honesty is best sourced by engaging with an external organisation that will contact your customers with specific tailored questions and provide you with feedback

So, now we come to the million dollar question: 

What is good customer service – which of these is more important?

  • Asking questions about what the customer wants, listening to the reply and acting accordingly
  • Have slick processes behind the scenes which also allow individual discretion
  • Think like a customer, use a mystery shopper to check standards
  • Encourage customers to complete satisfaction questionnaires

Answer: They are all important for a company to achieve good customer service goals. 

As a country does the UK expect high customer service?

Yes. The Institute of Customer Service (ICS) says that their research shows that a sustained improvement in customer satisfaction will provide a £33 billion per year productivity boost to the UK economy. Read more about inspiring a service nation here:

Why should organisations offer excellent customer service?

  • There has never been an easier time for customers to go elsewhere for their products and services just by browsing online
  • To reap the benefits of having a loyal band of satisfied customers whose needs you already know and who have trust in your service
  • Great customer service positively affects a company’s bottom line, increases brand loyalty, raises revenues and can reduce costs arising from managing back-office issues.

To conclude, personally, I get frustrated when I feel, as a customer, I am not being given excellent customer service, it doesn’t cost anything and it falls within being professional.

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