The term ‘Customer Service’ goes far beyond the contact with the customer. There are many individual processes that need to come together to be able to provide complete customer satisfaction. It is essential that businesses are aware of these areas and constantly monitor each point in order to build a good customer service culture. Because without customers, there is no business.
Customer service starts with market research and identifying customer needs and expectations. You need to find out who your customers are and what they want. It’s important to understand the demographics of the surrounding areas and also understanding the other businesses and competition. Find out things such as age, employment status, marital status, psychographic characteristics, average salary, dependents, etc. These things will help to categorise the type of people that are around and assist in creating a customer profile.
It’s then important to find out what the customers want and to not give them what you think they want. All customers’ needs are different and they are constantly changing, therefore you need to stay on top of their changing needs. Information about these needs need to be obtained and collected so it can be used to identify what customers require and to be able to communicate it to other employees. This information can be collected through surveys, conversations, trends, existing data, enquiries, complaints, Australian Bureau of Statistics, etc. This information also helps to identify new market opportunities and also helps to prevent issues that may affect the customer.
Once the needs have been identified it needs to be understood whether the required products can be obtained. A good supplier relationship is essential for customer service and suppliers need to be aware of the company’s expectations. Products need to be available constantly and delivered in a timely manner in excellent condition. This process needs to be monitored and discrepancies need to be recorded as this will determine future contracts. Contingencies should also be developed for the unfortunate occurrence that supply will be low. For example, it has been identified that beans are to be provided on a Wednesday night so the supplier needs to be able to provide the required number of beans in quality condition on Wednesday morning on a continuous basis. A price point can also be negotiated as there will be a continuous need. By promising the supplier that you will buy 10kg of beans every Wednesday, they may be able to offer a reduced price. It’s important that this is monitored over time to ensure consistent quality and supply. If the supplier is unable to deliver beans on a particular occasion, or they are of bad quality, then the customer service cannot be fully provided as they will go without beans.
The next stage is the staff training. Staff need to be trained on how to deliver quality customer service. Everyone needs to be made aware of their part in providing customer service and the importance of their role. This should be a part of the company’s strategic plan and incorporated into the induction of the new employees along with a standard training program. KPI’s should be implemented in alignment with the induction and the particular role of the employee. Goals and objectives should also be set that contribute to the organizational goals.
Staff need to be monitored and their performance needs to be evaluated to ensure that they are compliant with the standards and that they are offered the support to grow. Leadership and supervision is important in the monitoring process. Staff need to have confidence in themselves and their own ability to