Competent Employees = Customer Satisfaction


 

If you want to ensure your customers are fully satisfied with the service your company gives them – make sure you have competent employees.

This was the top priority for respondents according to new research published by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

Following on from this was staff ‘doing what they say they will do’, and competence over the phone.

The latest release of its UK Customer Satisfaction Index shows that what’s most important to customers has changed in recent years.

In 2010 staff competence was ranked eleventh, while it is now number one. Similarly, employee helpfulness has jumped from twenty-first to fourth.

Friendliness of staff and the ease of doing business are also rising in importance with consumers, along with the desire for a seamless experience when interacting with a company using multiple channels.

So what is behind this shift in customer values?

According to Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the ICS it’s because,

“Customers are seeking more personalised, authentic and relevant experiences.

Mass marketing or a one size fits all customer experience deliver diminishing returns and dilute customer relationships.”

 

Pencil Graph

Driving Up Performance

It seems that as a nation our collective satisfaction levels are actually on the up. In January 2016 it stands at 77.0 out of 100, this is up by 0.8 from July 2015 (76.2) and a whole point above where it was a year ago in January 2015 (76.0).

Customer satisfaction directly feeds into consumer buying choices and ultimately affects business performance.

The best performing companies scored nine, or ten out of ten in this area, with 90 percent of them also achieving the same ratings when it came to being trusted by their customers.

Organisations falling into this category enjoy higher levels of customer loyalty and recommendation to others.

An example of this is borne out by the current success of discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl. They have both experienced year on year sales growth of over 17 per cent for the twelve weeks leading up to 11th October 2015. By way of comparison, Iceland came third with a figure of just 3.2 percent growth for the same period.

So what are the reasons for the discounters’ seemingly runaway success? The research states that,

“Aldi and Lidl’s growth is based on achieving very high satisfaction with target customer segments, combined with superior satisfaction on pricing and parity with the sector on customer perception of product quality.”

 

Business Recommendations

Being armed with this information is one thing, but how can you as a business owner translate it into your everyday trading?

The report lists six target areas to address in order to improve your service levels:


  • Find ways to measure the return on investment of your customer service strategies, to gain an accurate understanding of which ones are successful.
  • Maintain a constant focus on getting the basics right, such as product quality, ease of finding what’s wanted, availability of support and billing. Have a quick and efficient procedure in place to effectively handle complaints.
  • Invest in high quality customer service training for your employees so they can offer the kind of experience your customers demand.
  • Use a variety of ways to measure the quality of the customer experience to give a clearer overall picture, rather than focusing on just one area. This allows you to effectively track buying behaviours such as repeat purchasing and customer retention.
  • Find out the priorities of your particular customer base, and use this information to serve them in the ways they are asking for.
  • Offer a consistent experience across all of your different channels (e.g. in-person, telephone and website). Seek to understand the reasons behind the ways your customers interact with you. For some using more than one channel is a positive choice, while for others it is a sign that their complaint has not been dealt with effectively.

 

Now that you are equipped with this information, is there an area or maybe even areas of your business that need attention? If so, take action today to address them. Get in touch with us at Finer Future for impartial help and advice.

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