The alternative customer service awards
As we approach the end of 2012 we’re firmly into the awards season as the customer service industry highlights good practice across the sector. As part of this Eptica customer the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) has already been honoured at both the CCA and North East Contact Centre Association Awards.
Amidst all the good news, there is inevitably a spotlight on those that are not performing – essentially the awards that your company doesn’t want to win. In Australia, nominations have just opened for the 2012 Worst Customer Service Awards, with categories including Most frustrating contact centre, Company with the biggest decline in customer service and the grand prize – Australian company with the Worst Customer Service in 2012.
While those awards are based on consumer comments, MSN Money in the US is using a more scientific methodology for its 2012 Customer Service Hall of Shame. Based on research with 1,500 consumers it looked at service in 150 companies in 15 industries. The positive news is that overall customer satisfaction is up, though companies in the banking, credit card and cable sectors are still struggling to deliver what customers want, with 16% or over rating their service as poor. Bank of America scooped the unwanted number 1 spot, with 25.7% of respondents rating its banking service as poor and 24% saying the same about credit card interactions. More than half of those surveyed rated the bank fair or poor – hardly a ringing endorsement.
Although it can serve as a spur to improve performance, obviously no company wants to win this type of award. One of the first ways of avoiding making the customer service hall of shame is to actually understand how your customers actually rate you. There are multiple ways of doing this, but here’s a selection, based on Eptica’s experience:
- Commission your own independent research on customer satisfaction
- Follow up with consumers after they have spoken to you with a query to ask for quick feedback
- Ask your agents – do they think customers are happy? What can be done differently to change perceptions?
- Analyse your incoming queries across all channels – what trends do you see and what areas need fixing?
- Monitor social media for complaints and deal with them quickly. But also use the data to improve products and services so that the issues don’t re-occur
- Benchmark yourself against your peers – what you can you learn from them?
Good customer service combines a clear strategy with the right resources and a strong, customer-focused culture to push up satisfaction levels and retain business. Companies need to ensure they have all these things in place, unless they fancy winning the wrong sort of award in 2013.