Our June 2019 Masterclass was about Providing Outstanding Customer Service, which we all need to do. It was held on Thursday with around 30 people attending.
This was a panel event with Adrian Fitzpatrick of Arena Group, Julie Tumilty of Feature Media and Caroline Broad of Clarion Solicitors.
What is Outstanding Customer Service?
All three panelists said understanding the customer and what the customer wants, and hopefully exceeding their expectations, is what it’s all about. With the priority being about listening to them, and tailoring the service as every customer has a different expectation, and outstanding customer service is about a range of factors, and isn’t just narrowed down to one thing.
The attendees confirmed they were nearly all B to B when delivering customer service.
How the Panel provide it
Adrian started Arena Group with 5 colleagues in 1991 with the motto “win a client, keep a client”. Culture in an organisation is all important, and as a business expands the ethos needs to be the same as it was on day one, recruit for attitude not qualifications. When interviewing, spend as much time on personal matters/issues as you can to get to the core of the person you are interviewing. Give them scenarios and judge their results, you can’t put ambition into a person. Take them to meet the team and chat to them.
Performance development and training at Arena has customer service at its core.
The panel agreed that customer service needs to be institutionally embedded and this comes from the top down. If the management are customer focused, then the staff will be, and this will then support the reputation of the business.
Caroline explained that customer service needs to be constantly evaluated with the customer in mind.
Craig Burton -”perceived indifference” is a great danger, you must keep contacting them, and telling them you love them.
Julie – We have KPIs on customer service. We always ask for customer feedback at the end of a job. We’ve outsourced it and incorporate the feedback into what we do, if we can and tell the customer. The main feedback we’ve received has been about small tweaks we can make, with no major issues being identified. With issues, the importance is to acknowledge internal issues, and not just blame the customer.
Adrian – Arena have a team of 3 “cuddlers” who visit all customers once a year and ring all customers after a service visit. At any one time there are on average 8-10 customers who need special “cuddling”. Part of the culture is to be honest about customer feedback. Arena go the extra mile to keep customers happy and provide Customer Service training for all their staff. Arena always go to see a customer who complains, and have the ethos of ‘treat others as you would want to be treated yourself’ or better still treat customers how you would want your mother to be treated.
Caroline – The use of CRM for up to date information on clients is vital to Clarion, and this includes information such as preferred name and pets to make conversations more personal. They use a Net Promoter Score, where 10 is the customer is a promoter, and average score is 7 to 8, where Clarion are rated with 9.6. Use LinkedIn reviews as these help you and your customers, you can learn from them, and your customers can view them to see how good you are.
Keeping a consistent message
As any business grows the panel explained that the key thing to do is make sure all staff understand the internal expectations around customer service, and this needs to be constantly reviewed to make sure it is in line with your customer expectation.
Recruit staff who share your expectations, you can read their CV beforehand, and will know if they have the right skills, but do you know if they understand good customer service?
Don’t be afraid to adapt and change your service expectations in line with the feedback you receive, and tailor this to your customers.
Don’t try and manage too much, train people and let others get involved.
Do you know why you are losing customers? Speak to them, get their feedback and adapt.
Overall the key thing is to show and tell your customers you love them!