Customer care has become one of the most important issues facing businesses in every market. 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.
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 – one poor performance can threaten the customer’s perception of the entire operation.
What Is Customer Care?
Customer care is about addressing three sets of requirements:
These requirements are interrelated – i.e. it is more difficult to deliver consistently high standards in customer care, if the needs of both the organisation and the staff are not taken into account.
- Excellent personal service – feels valued, listened to, treated as an individual
- Products that meet expectations
- Encouragement to express views and give feedback
- Effective relationship with the organisation
- 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
- 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.