Monday March 11, 2013
By Holly Edwards - Support Assistant
Year-on-year we see a rise in train fares, the increase supposedly leading to promised improvements in service. Yet often these are unclear to see - even to the rail companies.
It’s understandable, therefore, that the many commuters who rely on trains to get to work, are frustrated at this situation.
Whilst it’s near on impossible to guarantee a 100% perfect technical service all day, every day; an area which can be impacted is the quality of the customer service. From my experience as a commuter, I can say I’d be happy to pay a little extra if, as a customer, I was made to feel valued and listened to.
In order to have repeated business and excellent customer satisfaction, the quality of customer interactions is vital in any organisation. Loyalty of customers leads to positive word of mouth and future sales. Therefore it’s important service delivery for current customers is just as outstanding, if not more, than that provided to new clients.
This also means opening the channels of communication so that customers can let you know about their issues and not just compliments. Without this means, many customers feel their concerns are trivial and hold off reporting them. This, over time, leads to frustrated and unsatisfied customers. Michael Schrage, author of Serious Play, and researcher and blogger for Harvard Business Review supports this, stating that businesses need to ‘have the courage and creativity to find out the petty, trivial things that [customers] are too embarrassed to complain about’.
Here are my five key tips to getting great customer service back on track:
- Make customer service a priority throughout your business – this needs to be of high importance and focus, so all employees know the level of detail and quality that as a company you aim to reach
- Communicateclearly and respond quickly – keep thing simple and don’t confuse the customer with vast amounts of unnecessary information. A quick response to any query or issue shows that you care and are determined to find a solution
- Be approachable and courteous – a smile goes a long way, make customers feel valued
- Override expectations – over deliver in order to impress, showing determination and commitment to providing and outstanding service
- Deliveron what you promise – be professional, reliable, and trustworthy to increase customer loyalty
Customer satisfaction surveys can also be used to measure quality of service, and are useful tools to gain a better understanding of customer experiences, improving knowledge of customer needs, and how improvements could be made to enhance the scores. Investing time in getting down to the ‘nitty gritty’ will have positive future impacts, and resolve any reoccurring concerns for good. After all, as Michael Schrage also said, ‘turn their irritations in to your innovations’.
Do you really know all of the challenges that your customers face? How do you communicate with them? Do you know how satisfied your client base is?