Customer Service Levels Are At A 5 Year Low!

16Jan Customer Service Levels Are At A 5 Year Low!

Unhappy CustomersCustomer satisfaction in the UK is at its lowest since 2010 and businesses are failing to keep up with ever rising customer expectations. That’s according to a report from the Institute Of Customer Service.

The UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UCSI) is based on over 40,000 customer experiences across a wide range of sectors and the news isn’t good! Overall satisfaction is now lower than at any point since January 2010 – interestingly, only the utilities and banking sectors have improved during 2014 (is that because customer expectations aren’t too high anyway?).

Too many businesses are simply failing to keep up with increasing customer expectations, and it’s the younger customers who are the ones complaining more – their expectations are higher, so things are only going to get tougher!

The report doesn’t appear to reveal anything extraordinary in terms of what upsets customers. It’s the usual stuff! Guess what? They feel that that ‘speed and responsiveness’, ‘complaints handling’ and ‘staff behaviour’ have deteriorated most in the last two years.

The top 3 businesses for customer satisfaction are our ‘old favourites’ John Lewis partnership, Amazon and First Direct. What do they do? Well, our research suggests that they Create Delighted And Devoted Customers! That’s Characteristic #3 Of 3D Businesses – not ‘have a nice day’ or ‘buy one get 10 free’, but exceeding customer expectations – that’s customer delight! By definition, customer expectations then obviously rise and 3D Businesses work hard to create ‘Devoted’ customers – customers who have high expectations and consistently get a ‘great’ experience (‘Great’ as defined by the customers!). These are the customers who come back for more, spend more and tell other people!

Our research suggests that the key ingredients in Creating ‘Delighted’ And ‘Devoted’ Customers are…

Ingredient 1: Be Easy To Buy From And Deal With!… As the UCSI report shows, customer expectations are constantly getting higher – they want things quicker, they want things easier, they want it now! 3D Businesses are ‘easy to buy from and deal with’ and create seamless customer experiences – both online and offline, from enquiry through to invoicing and beyond! They work hard to identify and eliminate any ‘blockages’ in the customer experience and equip their people with the skills, knowledge and authority to give their customers what they need and want, and that even includes the accounts department!

Ingredient 2: Create Delighted Customers!… Creating Delighted Customers is all about exceeding their expectations. 3D Businesses ‘surprise’ them with the level of service they provide and find ways to ‘go the extra mile’ for their customers and ‘wow’ them. Some of the ingredients of customer delight include it’s ‘spontaneous’ (or it appears spontaneous!), it’s the personal touch, it makes customers feel valued and it’s genuine! Doing this leads to raised customer expectations, and they work hard to move from ….

Ingredient 3: From Delighted To Devoted!…  3D Businesses build consistency into their approach to creating ‘remarkable’ customer experiences by establishing systems and processes to make this work. They establish simple customer feedback processes and use the information to monitor this is happening and to raise the bar! They involve everyone in the business and provide them with the skills and tools to help them to ‘deliver’ – it’s called ‘empowerment’!

Ingredient 4: Deal With Disappointment!… Most customers accept that things go wrong – it’s how it’s dealt with that influences what they do next. 3D Businesses proactively establish formal customer feedback processes to find out what their customers think. They empower people to look for customer problems and complaints. Crucially, they ensure that are able to ‘Deal’ with them when they do!

So, what does this mean for your business? Why not spend some time ‘examining’ how you measure up when it comes to these things. Why not be even braver and ask your customers what they think – that’s what 3D Businesses do!

You can download a free 45 page e-book Customer Delight As Competitive Advantage here

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