Customer care is set to become one of the most important issues facing businesses in every market – fact!
Customer care programs come under a number of titles – customer services; customer satisfaction; customer focus; customer orientated etc. Their common theme is meeting the customer’s requirements and ensuring that all aspects of the business contribute to customer satisfaction. The intention is to build repeat business. If customers are satisfied with the product and the standards of service they receive, they will return again – and again.
However, the reality is that whilst “most”companies have become totally focused on identifying and then converting new opportunities, “most”companies are pretty awful at retaining – let alone developing , existing accounts/customers.
“Most”organizations have become totally commercially promiscuous, continually looking for that new exciting conquest, and that inevitably leads to …
Inconsistent Customer Care
Inconsistent customer care performance can have a negative effect on customer perceptions. Petrol companies, for example, know that every time a customer walks into one of their outlets, wherever they are in the country, they should expect to receive the same standards of service. Nation-wide consistency is essential when customers are likely to visit multiple outlets and one poor performance can threaten the customer’s perception of the entire brand.
What Is Customer Care?
Despite popular misconception, customer care is about addressing three sets of requirements:
These requirements are inter-related – i.e. it is more difficult to deliver consistently high standards in customer care, if the needs of both the organization and the staff are not taken into account.
Let me elaborate …
- Excellent personal service – feels valued, listened to, treated as an individual
- Products/solutions that meet expectations
- Encouragement to express views and give feedback
- Effective relationship with the organization
- Problems and complaints are handled effectively
- Effective management style:
- Suitable working environment – pay and conditions / tools for the job
- Relevant training to develop skills
- Career potential
- Clarity of role / job description
- Performance standards and appraisal systems
- Sense of involvement / value
- Open communication
- Appropriate rewards / Recognition
- Mission statement
- Corporate structure
- Feedback and communication systems
- Human and technical resources
- Demonstrated commitment
Only when we get all three elements right, can we consider that our organization is capable of delivering consistently high levels of customer service.
Customers are not like tissues, to be used and then discarded – any company that thinks like that, will soon find that the box is empty!