Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Key elements in customer service

Why is customer service so important?

-          In the long run, good customer service is the only way to grow a successful business.  Satisfied customers come back to buy more and also tell other potential customers about your service

-          Good customer service forms a virtuous circle with employee satisfaction.  People like to work for a business that they can be proud of and they like being able to make customers happy

-          Poor service will produce the opposite effects and eventually destroy a business

What are the key elements in good customer service?

-          Communication

o   Understand your customer categories and the benefits they seek

o   Engage customers in product development and service improvements

o   Respond quickly and effectively to enquiries via the people who can provide the best solution to their need

o   Agree with each client up-front what is to be delivered and how success will be measured

o   Be accessible to customers at all their preferred times and using all their preferred channels

o   Measure customer satisfaction regularly, publish the results and make sure the results provide a basis for action – then take it

-          Culture

o   Make explicit your values that tell everyone the customer is the top priority

o   Train all employees in customer service and your values and then empower them to do what it takes to deliver great customer service

o   Have an accessible complaints procedure focused on resolving the issue for all customers and all time

o   Measure customer service and reward or acknowledge individuals who excel

o   Do not tolerate poor customer service

-          Processes and outcomes

o   Define how you measure good customer service in your business and what key performance indicators (KPIs) are relevant for controlling the end-to-end process

o   Include targets for these measures for all staff and review performance monthly and annually.  Include them in your incentivisation scheme if you run one

o   Publish actual performance figures against target

o   Carry out regular and post-project reviews.  Learn from mistakes and successes and capture improvements in revised processes

o   Benchmark against the best performers inside and outside your industry

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