23Aug Poor Customer Service Is Costing Your Business – 7 Things For You To Consider
43% of UK customers have consciously NOT made a second purchase from a business due to poor customer service! That’s according to a new report from the Institute Of Customer Service.
The biggest culprits that send customers away unhappy according to the report are…
- A lack of employees offering immediate help (56%)
- Disinterested staff (51%)
- ‘Unhelpful’ attitudes (36%)
- Poor complaint handling (35%)
It’s happening a lot! In fact, 1 in 6 of customers say they experience at least one poor customer experience every week and this very much influences their decision as to whether return…. and clearly, many don’t.
What can be done? Well 84% of UK customers believe that customer facing staff need more training! That might very well be true, but I think it’s much more than that.
Obviously training is good (as a customer service speaker and trainer I would say that wouldn’t I!), but the most customer focused businesses do a lot more than ‘training’ and take a ‘Dramatically and Demonstrably Different‘ approach.
What do they do? Well, here are 7 things for you to consider…
1 Spell Out What You Expect!
3D Businesses ensure that everyone understands what’s expected of them when it comes to customers and customer service. They ensure that their culture (‘the way we do things around here’) is lived by everyone. It means spelling out what you expect from your people – not lots of nice posters on the wall, but ‘preferred behaviours’ that can ‘be lived in the day to day’. For example, Pret A Manger look for three key characteristics in their people: passion, clear talking and team working, What ‘behaviours’ do you want from your people? Do they know that? Have you spelt it out?
2. Reinforce The Behaviours You Want!
This means establishing systems and processes that help shape and reinforce those behaviours – from recruiting people that ‘fit’, to ‘measuring’ people’s attitudes and behaviours through to reward systems that reinforce those ‘preferred behaviours’. It has to be reinforced in the day to day too by managers and team mates. My Name Is…. is a wonderful example from the National Health Service established by the late Dr. Kate Granger who campaigned passionately to ensure that over 400,000 doctors and nurses introduced themselves personally with their name when greeting their patients. Simple, but powerful stuff.
How ’empowered’ are your people? Do they really contribute to your customers’ experience? Are they encouraged to ‘delight’ your customers? Are they allowed to? Well, one UK business who does empower their people to do this are the locksmiths and shoe repairers Timpsons. Their people can spend up to £500 to rectify a customer’s problem without management authorisation! That’s ’empowerment’! Here’s how they do it!
Back to Pret A Manger. Their staff are encouraged to give away sandwiches and hot drinks! No, not just to anyone, but to their ‘regulars’ or someone who has been particularly ‘polite’! The judgement call of whether to do it is in the hands of their front line staff – they decide when! Now, THAT’S EMPOWERMENT and it’s part of the ‘culture’. (Download a free E-Book Create An UBER Culture here)
4. Enable Your People…
This is where the training comes in – give your people the training, knowledge and support to do this. However, it’s not just about ‘customer service’ skills, it’s about ensuring that they know their products and services (not just the ones that they sell personally) and have the appropriate skills to effectively question, listen, build rapport, solve problems, handle customer complaints… and to spot opportunities!
But, it’s much more than training…. it’s coaching, it’s supporting, it’s encouraging them and allowing them to just ‘get on with it’! “Make it easier to get forgiveness than permission’ is Sir Richard Branson’s mantra Here’s a video of him explaining his approach.
5. Champion Your ‘Champions’…
What’s the ‘reward’ in your business for someone who does proactively ‘go the extra mile’ for a customer? What do they ‘get’? Our experiences suggests that in lots of businesses, the reward for ‘doing a great job’ is they ‘get’ to do more work! Do you have someone in your team that if you want a job doing well, you give it to them? Even worse, do ‘slackers’ get away with things? Recognise those that live and demonstrate the behaviours you WANT! Establish ways of spotting and recognising those that are doing things right. Proactively ‘Champion your Champions’, encourage and support them, and where appropriate, highlight them to others in the business – it’s about creating ‘role models’!
6. Challenge Your Challengers…
Constructively challenge those that don’t act in line with your ‘preferred behaviours’ – it’s about making it transparent and consistent!
7. Be A Role Model…
Clearly, this does not happen ‘by chance’ – It’s about leading from the front, and crucially, being seen to be leading from the front! Get this stuff on the agenda and encourage and support your fellow leaders to do the same! What are you like as a role model when it comes to demonstrating the behaviours you want to create great customer experiences in your business?
So, how do you measure up against these 7 things? What do your people think? More importantly, what do your customers think?
Why not ask them? That’s what 3D Businesses do!