Customer Service Evaluation in the Modern Market
In today’s marketplace it is difficult to gain competitive advantage solely on the basis of product differentiation. Price, Position and Promotion – the remaining three of the four traditional marketing P’s have likewise become more difficult to capitalize upon because the prevalence of available information on the internet has made the range of competitive options nearly limitless. It is a harsh reality, but customers can now switch vendors with a few clicks of a mouse.
38% of employees worldwide describe themselves as disenchanted or disengaged.
What can be done to prevent defection and promote customer loyalty? Businesses should make a significant and sustained commitment to measure and improve customer service.
Dramatic improvements in customer satisfaction can be achieved over short periods of time and without substantial costs or radical re-engineering of operations if: (a) clear service behavior standards are introduced, (b) a regime of constant feedback on service performance is instituted, and (c) management, aggressively and with single-minded focus, redirects the feedback to promote and hardwire consistent quality service.
Consistency really is the key to excellent customer service. Corporate marketing personnel expend considerable amounts of time, energy and money to market segment and identify customer preferences. Utilizing this research, operations directors design and institute processes to capitalize on unique market niches. Thereafter, perhaps the greatest challenge management faces is controlling service variability. If common service denominators can be defined, mystery shopping should be used to ensure all the research and effort underlying business processes is not wasted.
When customer service processes fail, customer dissatisfaction does not have to be an inevitable result. In fact, research has shown that a customer who encounters a problem with a company and has that problem addressed promptly and efficiently will be even more likely to remain loyal than a customer who never had a problem. Therefore, service recovery should be viewed as an opportunity. But service recovery is feasible only when businesses are aware of a problem and a large percentage of customers will not voice complaints unless solicited. For this reason, companies should continuously conduct customer surveys and promptly distribute the results to every employee who can properly act upon the information.
Customer service and satisfaction should be top-of-mind issues for every business. Since global competition and the increase in available information have made it more difficult to create competitive differentiation, the provision of consistent quality service is very critical.