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WHY CUSTOMER SERVICE MAKES THE ABSOLUTE DIFFERENCE

By Clare Jupp, People Development Director

Every time that I lead a training session on customer service, I remind our team that we operate in an era where customer expectations are rising. As a direct result of this ‘consumer empowerment’, customers expect (and rightfully demand) excellent customer experiences from whomever they transact with and will make huge noises and take (potentially drastic) action if they don’t get what they expect and deserve.  I remind every training group that we operate in a hugely competitive marketplace and that a brand name and organisational reputation can be built on, or conversely, broken by customer experiences.

 

We are all sharp enough to know that when it comes to winning and keeping our customers, it’s just not enough anymore to offer a solid product or competitive price. Customers now have an abundance of ‘goods’ and ‘services’ to choose from, therefore businesses, including ours must make an extra effort to convert a customer into a repeat customer. One of my favourite quotes, regularly shared at such training sessions comes from the legendary Walt Disney who remarked. ”Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Furthermore, it’s all about delighting your customers so much, that they will return to you the next time and refer you to others to share in the positive experience too. At the end of the day, a competitor to your business is just a Google search away, so it makes absolute sense to give customers a reason to keep returning to you, even if they were fully satisfied with their experience. This is where the whole concept of the customer experience comes in.

 

Recent research shows that by 2020, customer experience is set to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. The study by VisionCritical in 2013 found that changes such as the explosion of digital, the empowered customer, and the acceleration of innovation are having a profound impact on customer expectations.

 

Customers expect companies to know their individual needs and to personalise the experience to meet those needs. Interestingly, the study showed that 86 percent of consumers are prepared to pay more for better customer experience. This means truly understanding what it is that customers really care about and what role businesses need to play in the customer journey.

 

Quite simply, if businesses look after their customers, I believe that they will never run into the hands of competitors. Investing in the customer experience has become a strategic priority and indeed a challenge, for organisations worldwide. I strongly believe that organisations who are getting it right by using customer feedback and using tools such as Trustpilot to guide their processes, are reaping the rewards, and are miles in front of their competitors.

 

For those whom are unaware, Trustpilot.com (or Trustpilot) is a website founded in Denmark in 2007 which publishes reviews for businesses: it’s the ‘Trip Advisor’ of the business world. Trustpilot has published 13 million reviews about more than 100,000 brands.

 

We introduced Trustpilot to Brightstar in July 2017 and effectively opened the doors to the rest of the world to see and hear about what people genuinely thought of our service. We have never looked back. It’s a ‘win win’ on every level. It measures the quality of service, it drives excellent service and it acknowledges great service. Using Trustpilot gives consumers confidence to transact with us and motivates our team to do the very best that they can and be rewarded for it.

 

Consumer driven feedback is a hugely powerful tool for both consumer and organisation. True, it can seem a risky approach, even suicidal some might argue. The ability for your customers to give honest and open feedback in the public domain can be damaging if things don’t go right: just think now how many organisations have social media teams at the ready to counter and tackle bad comments and feedback on Twitter, for example.

 

At Brightstar, feedback is sought via Trustpilot upon every completion: there is no ‘sifting and selection’ involved with this process. Indeed, by meddling and manipulating, the true purpose of this process would be completely lost and I would advise any organisation against this approach.

 

Quite simply, if a customer’s experience is consistently poor or if they are asked their opinion and subsequently ignored, there is only ever going to be one outcome: they will become someone else’s customer. Companies who fail to listen to customers, do so at their peril. As the saying goes, “If you don’t look after your customers, someone else will!”

 

I believe that organisations should ensure that the commitment to and delivery of excellent customer service should be included in every job advertisement and job description. Quite simply, customer service isn’t a ‘department’ as such, it’s everyone’s job. Everybody should feel and be made accountable and understand that the success of the business relies on positive customer experiences.

 

It is clear that the future of businesses depends massively on delivering the right customer experience. Excellent customer service truly makes the difference.

 

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