Following on from Customer Service Week at the start of October we’re looking at the importance of excellent CS for your company but also the UK economy.
The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) measures satisfaction based on the experiences of more than 10,000 customers across 13 sectors of the economy. With 78% of UK GDP being generated by the service sector and 70% of the UK working population in jobs that involve dealing with customers, the importance of providing top level customer service cannot be emphasised enough.
At our September Peer Group session Nigel Risner spoke about the importance of customer service within the MSP marketplace. His talk focused on “how to be a good zoo keeper”, the art of communications and how recognising the methods you employ as a business to speak to your clients is vital to gaining – and keeping – customer loyalty.
He spoke about how it was surprising that many hotels had their “best” staff working on an evening when, in actuality, the last impression a guest will have of their service is the one they get at breakfast.
“Your receptionist’s real title is actually Director of First Impressions,” he added.
Research from UKCSI showed that companies with a higher customer satisfaction are much more likely to be trusted, recommended and retain customers reflecting high levels of loyalty. The implication of this is that building relationships with customers has become critical for success in all organisations.
How to provide excellent customer service
- Well trained staff
First and foremost is for all your employees to be thoroughly educated on your product or service whilst being aware of the most common questions asked. Aside from this, make sure they know how to greet customers, be courteous and be friendly so that customers receive a positive experience.
A point to remember is how well senior management treat your employees will be reflected on your customers. Setting a good example from the top and treating your employees well is the best way to show them how they should treat customers and embedding this into the company culture.
- Listen and provide a solution
How many times have you received a phone call or email where all the caller is trying to do is sell you something? They haven’t understood your company needs and failed to effectively relate what they’re selling to what you actually need.
All they seemed to be concerned about is their commission rather than helping you solve a problem. The best salespeople should spend 80 per cent of their time listening and not talking. Listen to what your customers have to say and be efficiently responsive in identifying and solving their issue.
- Be respectful and say thank you
The number one step to respecting your customer and the buying process is to get to know them and their company. Do your research before you approach them, what’s their product or service, what are their needs and who’s the decision maker?
Address them by their name and show them that you care. If you can’t help them then point them to an establishment that can, but be sure to be close by for when they do need you. Whether you made a successful sale or not, don’t get emotional or aggressive but show gratitude for their time and leave the interaction on a happy note.
- Ask for feedback
As mentioned before, two way communication can be the lifeline of any company; customers can be your biggest fans or your biggest critics. Feedback whether positive or negative is valuable and you may be surprised at what you can learn.
Find out what customers think about your company, employees, products or services through surveys and questionnaires. Once you have this information, don’t just leave it dormant, take time to review it and identify areas for improvement to be able to continually provide excellent customer service.