In an increasingly competitive environment, keeping your existing customers coming back to your establishment is as important as gaining new ones. In order to do this, we need to up the ante on the Customer service you provide. Excellent Customer service quality delivery is not always defined as a systematic process but also needs to capture the intuitive side of situation management. In order to communicate the message of customer service to the entire organisation, customer service must be measured against what the brand stands for and what the brand promises to its clients.
According to Forbes and the Harvard business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Further research done by Frederick Reichild of Bain & Company shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
Another important statistic to note is that 80% of the average company’s revenue likely comes from 20% of existing customers. Over 70% of customers end their relationship with a company because of poor customer service. Most of the clients lost go to a competitor. According to a Serv Qual survey by the Centre for entrepreneurship and innovation, 96% of customers will not complain when dissatisfied with a service but 91% will never come back. This means we do not even need the competitor to beat us in terms of product, price or even service to poach our customers. If our company consistently fails to deliver on our service quality promises to our customers, we hand our them to our competition on a silver platter.
Can we afford to lose our hard-earned customers due to our own customer service delivery failure?
One way to know if our customers are happy with us is to conduct customer satisfaction surveys. However, do we wait till we receive bad feedback from our customer service surveys before we act? This methodology for maintaining customer service is rather counter intuitive since by the time we receive negative feedback it already means the failure of customer service has already happened.
Some proactive steps that can be taken to maintain customer service standards are:
- To ensure the team are well trained to execute the service that is expected of them
- To monitor that the standards are being maintained through regular Health (audit) checks
- To take proactive measures when lapses are discovered in these audits.
A formalised training program should be in place to facilitate the on-boarding of any new Team member. The on-boarding process should provide training that mimic the customer service standards expected as closely as possible. Technology today allows new staff to access training programs at their own pace through online training and for managers to assess performance standards through assessments and evaluations before deploying the team members to new job roles.
A successful audit is built upon a set of objectives and the criteria that describe those standards. It should be clear to everyone in the organisation what the company’s commitment to the customer is. In this case, it is what Customer service means in your particular industry. Making sure the team in different parts of the process understand what is expected of them and how to perform their duties effectively is important in customer service delivery. Knowing when and how to retrieve the situation in a case of service failure is also critical.
An audit program that covers the various customer service touch points can give the business owner feedback on how the team handles clients, both during regular internal process and mystery shopping audits.
Being able to analyse and take appropriate action after the data on customer service is collated is just as important as effective designing and implementation of the audit programme. To this end, it is important managers in charge of customer service are able to monitor the results of various service quality delivery against the company’s commitments and compare that to the cohort in terms of medians, benchmarks and categories. Being able interpret the information effectively guides the team towards understanding areas of weakness and for them to focus on proactive measures to improve on potential lapse and improve overall customer service.
However, implementing such a Customer service excellence program is a challenging process regardless of your product, industry, or client base.
The inherent inefficiency due to traditional methods of tracking customer implementations – usually using Excel worksheets, Microsoft Projects, and a flurry of meetings and emails with no formalized approval processes require a dedicated staff to enter and organise the data provided by the auditers. The traditional methods also lack program visibility which leads to lower internal accountability. The good news is that today’s technology allows for real time visibility, streamlining of data collected and summarized on a single outcome sheet. Software like Tree AMS, an Audit Management System focus on improving profitability through performance bench-marking.
To simplify the process of Customer Service Auditing, Tree AMs provides a platform for developing KPIs for Customer service behaviour, Evaluation, setting of benchmarks and review of outcome.
You can upload your training programs, monitor participation and assess understanding through our Training Feature. Having identified the criteria that describe your company’s customer service standards, you can then ask questions whose answers will reflect how well your team has embraced the service culture of your business. These questions can then be organised on the Tree AMS platform, in various categories and evaluated to see how well your team is performing against the desired benchmarks, customer expectations and between members of the team. The Tree AMS platform takes away the pain of manually collating information, documenting and categorising them so that the data arrives at a point ready to be analysed. Using this platform can save you 90% of the time you would have invested in simply managing the data. Instead, your team can focus on the key actions that can make all the difference in the way customer service is being delivered in your company.