Improve your customer satisfaction levels against all the odds
Customer satisfaction levels are at their lowest since 2010 according to the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) – and is it any wonder given we are in an age where social media and digital technology means that we can publically comment on any product or service, anytime.
The Institute of Customer Service describes customer service as:
“Customer service excellence means many things to many people and is something often noticed more by its absence than its presence.”
So is anyone getting it right? According to online guru ‘Which’, John Lewis, and Waitrose consistently are rated for their good customer service, and they give reasons such as the helpfulness of staff and resolving complaints or problems and access to customer support – the common theme between all of these indicators being contact between the customer and the organisations employees.
Public sector versus private sector
Customer satisfaction levels have always been associated with success or failure in the private sector. However in the age of increasing accountability, newspaper headlines and financial pressures, public sector organisations are realising that looking after customers is essential to long term survival.
Given that the public sector is, collectively, the world’s largest service provider – improvements in their services will positively impact the lives of millions of people.
How you can influence customer satisfaction levels
The government’s Spending Review advises ‘putting users at the heart of service design’, yet according to the largest research centre in the (UK Ipsos MORI), 71 per cent of consumers don’t believe that this is happening as:
“companies are lacking the human touch when it comes to dealing with their customers”.
So building trust by’ using the human touch is the best way to influence customer satisfaction levels – and organisations should coach their colleagues to use the right communication skills to achieve this.
Individuals should learn how to create a connection with their customers by using an informal, caring tone.
Many public sector industries such as the housing sector are already starting to adopt this approach, making customers feel important by personalising communication, making them feel part of the ‘in’ crowd, asking them for advice, apologising and listening.
There are plenty of case studies available online (Lambeth Council’s Housing Reframing Project and the Aragon Housing Association) which demonstrate that coaching your staff in the art of communication leads to a huge improvement in customer satisfaction levels.