Customer Service – What your team need to know
Having just spent a brilliant day with London’s newest train operator MTR Crossrail we thought that it would be good to share some insight into excellent customer service. You may be aware that we worked really hard in the run up to London 2012 with the London Ambassadors, staff at City Hall and the service personnel who did such a great job securing the Olympic and Paralympic games. We were involved with training, coaching, consulting and monitoring performance.
Top Tips for effective customer service
Understand what the term “customer” means. Many business’ don’t.
Definition “A customer is someone who receives something we provide, either a product or a service or information.“
You will note here there is no mention of payment! Most operational employees of organisations rapidly identify where the “money” comes from, but fail to see the frequent “internal” customer and supplier chains. These chains are the ones which ensure the external customer gets great service. They also help ensure the business is there for the long term, which is great for job security..
It would be daft to say that every customer is the same, because we are all unique, different individuals. However we can identify similarities in customers that will lead to particular customer service outcomes.
These are the people that recognise they have a choice for the provision of goods, services and information. They have the ability to move from supplier to supplier as a better deals or products come to the market. They are not tied in to the supplier. Organisations really fight hard to keep these customers by offering all kinds of loyalty bonus’, reward cards and incentives to attract customers back. When you genuinely have a choice would you put up with crappy products and services? Neither would we, so we go to the competition. So organisations really want to impress the Elective customers…. and do so by encouraging excellent customer service.
There are a vast array of business’ that have captive customers. Look at your phone. Did you get swayed by the shiny latest model and then sign away a 24 month contract to someone who knows it will cost you money to get out of their contract. The more complacent of these firms offer “new customer only” deals, which are far better than yours… If you are a captive and happy customer then well done to you and the supplier. The reality is that many of these business’ know you are captive and get complacent, until month 22…. when you start to become elective again and get better customer service.
Why would anyone be an unwilling customer? It doesn’t make sense! Well every time there is a bank holiday in the town we live in the refuse collection gets varied by a day or so. Every time that happens our rubbish isn’t collected, so we have bins full of household waste that sits for … well… The service supplier that takes our bin has a two week cycle, week 1 rubbish, week 2 recycling. Not a service level agreement we wanted, but that’s it! So when a failure happens on August 28th the next time the bin gets taken is September 11. Can you imagine what the sardines we didn’t quite finish on the 14th of August are like now? BUT we have no choice in that supplier, and they know it, and they don’t care until their contract is up for renewal in 5 years…… so much for customer service.
How can someone be a customer without using a product, service or information? In the UK cash is moved from banks and shops to cash centres and then back to banks and shops. It is done by several companies, but the largest is G4S Cash Solutions Ltd. They protect their employees well with good vehicles, body armour and training, making it very difficult for “baddies” to steal from them. Fewer thefts mean that insurance premiums stay low, so when we go to insure our homes, lives etc the premiums are lower because of G4S! Even though we don’t use their products.
If it was your business…
We always try to deliver customer service that recognises our customers as elective, it keeps us focussed, ensures we pay attention to detail, makes us really listen to our customers. If you would like to find out more about the training, coaching and development work that we do please contact:
or call us on 08712 349 873