Stylish websites, creative brand identities, innovative marketing campaigns and fantastic photography all count for nothing if your customer service is poor. The one thing that stands out above almost everything else, no matter what sector you’re in, is customer service. Perhaps the only time poor service is tolerated is when an exceptional bargain is on offer.
With ever-increasing competitive pressures on businesses across the spectrum one of the best ways to differentiate one company from another is to excel on customer service. But, how many times are you faced with a disinterested or rude member of staff and as a result you vow never to use the shop/restaurant/hotel/airline ever again?
I think it’s quite easy to see why poor service is so commonplace. People who are not motivated are not going to care how they are perceived by their customers and will do the minimum amount of work to fulfil their contractual obligations. The causes of low morale are varied, but long hours, poor pay, lack of opportunity to progress and over-bearing bosses can all affect how people perform at work. Whatever the cause of poor service it seems to me that too many company owners fail to make the connection between good service and the long-term viability of their businesses.
Training and development, in my opinion, is a function of an organisation’s communications strategy and not something to be seen in isolation. From the way a phone is answered or how customers are greeted, to how an order is fulfilled all affect a company’s perception. Good customer service enhances a company’s reputation, which means that every employee is an ambassador for that company, and just like ambassadors that represent countries you need to maximise their influence.
So, perhaps if we start seeing employees as the embodiment of a company, implementing a one-to-one PR campaign, we might start to treat them with more respect and give them all the tools they need to do their job properly.