In light of Customer Service week 2015 (5th – 9th October), we focus on the importance of excellent customer service in your company and the UK economy. Giving you tips on how you can demonstrate and put this into practice and how we at Experian are striving to do this on a daily basis to ensure customer satisfaction.
The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) measures satisfaction based on the experiences of over 10,000 customers across 13 sectors of the economy. 78% of UK GDP is generated by the service sector with 70% of the UK working population in jobs that involve dealing with customers.
With the vast variety of options available to customers, their expectations are evolving rapidly as greater speed, convenience and value is demanded. These factors have attributed to a decline in trust in many sectors with companies having to work harder to earn customers loyalty. 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.
At Experian, our customer service agents and account managers are trained every quarter to make sure they understand and are up to date with our products and services. It allows them to be fully informed and prepared with any queries customers may have and as customer service is our number one priority, our call agents have no call length targets so they’ll help you for as long as you need.
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.
Every customer that joins us gets a dedicated account manager who will provide you with on-going support and advice throughout your entire time with us. They’ll be on hand to talk you through the product if there’s anything you’re unsure of, advice you on best practices such as how to best find new customers or steps you can take to improve your credit score. They’ll get to know you and your business to offer effective and suitable solutions.
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.
New customers that use Experian Business Express will get a call within two weeks to ensure you understand and get the most from the products and services you’ve purchased. And because we know how frustrating it is to be kept waiting or be on the other end of the phone to a robot. 94% of our calls are answered within ten seconds with no menus or options taking you through to a real human.
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.
We constantly encourage comments and feedback through formal and informal channels, whether it be positive or negative, your opinion is valuable to is. Because we continually aim to improve our customer service; customers regularly tell us how great our customer service is and that’s why 4 out 5 will renew with us.