A poor customer service strategy can be costly
When it comes to customer service tips, a little known fact is that bad service actually costs more to provide than good service. And while it seems obvious to say that happy customers make for good business, how often do we consider the other side of the coin?
Unhappy customers can do real damage. Brett Whitford, founder and Executive Director of the Customer Service Institute of Australia, says surveys have found that nine out of ten consumers believed that good service was "very or extremely important" in deciding whether to give a supplier repeat business.
Brett says if a business retains a customer, they’re five times more valuable than a new customer. He says return customers know your business, they know how to deal with you, and they’re familiar with your billing and your processes. They can also contribute to your business – customer requests can often lead to product improvements or additions to a product range.
Improving customer service requires an objective assessment
If you pride yourself on your organisation's customer service, try picking up the phone and calling your business to put it to the test.
Paul Van Veenandaal, Managing Director of Customer Service Benchmarking, says too many organisations focus on the 'hard' elements of customer or client service, like the time taken to answer a phone.
To get a true idea of how well a company is performing you should also measure 'soft' elements such as telephone manner. When people call your business, they want to get through to someone quickly. They want to talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about. And at the end of the phone call, they want to feel like they have a resolution and know what to do next.
Paul Van Veenandaal says it’s important to step back and objectively assess how your business might be perceived by the public. How are your customer service team’s inquiry resolution skills? How well do they listen to a customer? How good is their product knowledge?
Paul says when it comes to customer service skills training, businesses see it more as a cost than an investment. They’re not spending enough time developing the skills in their customer service staff. He says the trend is not to spend time training people, but to do it all with automation, such as interactive voice response (IVR).
Paul says it’s easy to become too enclosed in your own organisation. But, he says, if you’re serious about improving customer service, you need an objective assessment. Once you have that, you’ll have the right foundation for getting serious about improving your business through customer service.
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