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Your red carpet moment!

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Whilst head honchos have been fighting it out with MPs this week (and scrapping amongst themselves – shame on you Messrs Chappell and Green) the customer service frontline has never been so important to your business.Research by NewVoiceMedia has shown that UK firms are losing £11 billion each year due to poor customer service. Come on people – we can do better. The good news – depending upon your definition of good – is that this figure is actually down on the previous year, when we were losing an extra £1.2 billion more. Every cloud and all that.
How are we getting it so wrong?

43% of consumers reported leaving a business due to the way they were treated – that’s nearly half your market – with the most common reasons being feeling unappreciated, rude staff and being passed around from staff member to staff member. These are all avoidable, although obviously not for the woman who served me in TMP’s local sandwich shop yesterday – no eye contact, a tone of indifference and no inclination to turn her frown upside down.

It’s true, poor customer service is still rife in this country, and it really gets my goat. Treat others how you expect to be treated, the customer is always right, show respect to get respect – however you put it, frontline customer service isn’t rocket science and we should be doing better.

CEO of NewVoiceMedia, Jonathon Gale (can he call himself a CEO these days if he hasn’t been hauled in front of a crowd of baying MPs?) points out that with so many customers switching businesses due to the way they’ve been dealt with, good customer service is the key differentiator in today’s market. Let’s just spell that out so there can be no confusion – get your customer service right and you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors.

How to put things right?

First up, think about the channels you use to allow customers to communicate with you. According to the research, 49% of your customers prefer to get in touch by email – and whatever line of business you’re in, there’s no excuse not to set this up. I’m hosting a dinner party at the weekend (get me) and had to order a kilo of fillet steak – beef wellington is on the menu – and I did this by emailing my local butcher. Yep, that’s a small, family run butchers on TMP’s high street. He’s going to email me to let me know when it’s ready for collection too and if he can do it, so can you.

You also need to make sure your other channels are up and running in a way that suits your customers – so no lengthy pre-recorded messages or automated call sorting on phone calls. Nearly half of surveyed consumers said this was a big turn off. Make sure your phones are answered by a real person and don’t keep the customer holding with some ungodly muzak. Wondering why your customers always seem angry when you get to speak to them? You try listening to half an hour of pan pipes accompanied by an up-tempo drum machine and see how you feel.  The research suggests you’ve got 11 minutes before your customer will hang up – or around one and a half if I happen to be the customer waiting to talk to you. Patience is not my strong suit.

This is why it’s worth it.

Get your customer service right 68% of those surveyed say that they’ll stay loyal to your company – now that’s a lot of repeat business. Wanting to proliferate word of mouth advertising? It all comes down to customer service, with 59% of consumers saying that they’d recommend your business to others when they’ve been treated well. Once again, the world of consumer research consultancy boils down to the phrase ‘small change, big difference’.

And as an economy that’s £11 billion of difference.

If you want your share of that £11 billion, make sure you’re getting things right. The Monachie Project has been into a whole range of businesses to see how things look from the perspective of their most important assets because it can be hard to see the wood from the trees yourself.

Think about any red carpet event and the certain A-listers who sashay along it dressed in millions of dollars of clothes and jewels, thinking they look incredible – and really what they needed was an honest friend to tell them to get changed. That’s who we are, your honest friend who will tell you what you need to hear. It’s for your own good and we’re always thanked for our feedback – especially when our clients start raking in their share of those lost billions.
Want in? Get in touch and we’ll have you on every best dressed list before you know it!

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