Celebrating 30 years of National Customer Service Week
Whatever the industry, customers now have more choices than ever before. The balance of power between companies and consumer has shifted dramatically due to increased competition, the ability to share bad experiences instantly on social media as well as higher expectations of service. As a consequence, companies that have built their brands and reputations on rock solid customer service are flourishing. Even organisations that previously were accused of neglecting customer service have changed tack and reinvented their brand to be more customer friendly.
Customer service keeps a substantial proportion of the UK workforce employed. Some 70% of us perform roles that involve dealing directly with customers and the service sector generates around 78% of the UK’s GDP. This importance is reflected in National Customer Service Week, organised by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), which takes place next week, between 6th - 10th October. Originating in America, it’s now celebrating its 30th birthday with events worldwide dedicated to celebrating and improving customer service.
National Customer Service Week day by day Eptica is a strong supporter of National Customer Service Week and we’re seeing our customers really using it to focus their efforts on celebrating and improving the role of service within their organisation. This year sees the week grouped into different themes for each day:
- Monday 6th October is dedicated to understanding your customer. With changes in technology and channels transforming how customers interact with organisations, organisations and employees need to develop new skills and capabilities. Recommendations for the day include focusing on who your customers are, what channels they use, what their requirements are – and how this will change in the future.
- Tuesday 7th October asks organisations how easy they are to do business with, across every channel. Can consumers find the information they need and do your processes make it easy for everyone within the organisation to work together? One way of testing this is to carry out your own mystery shopper research to see how your customers are treated when they contact you across every channel.
- Wednesday 8th October will assess how effective organisations are when dealing with problems and complaints and whether they have the right processes in place. Do agents have the right training and how do you respond to a major crisis? Use the day to test your abilities, and benchmark against other organisations across your own and other sectors.
- Thursday 9th October looks at the business impact of customer service. How do you measure this and what is the involvement of senior management in customer service? Firms are encouraged to take a quiz which highlights a few trends and facts that many won’t be aware of.
- Friday 10th October is about recognising individuals within an organisation that have gone the extra mile to help customers in need. For example, you could run an awards ceremony to highlight star performers providing a chance to celebrate the best and an opportunity to encourage their behaviour across your organisation.
Redoubling efforts in light of declining customer satisfaction levels
To get ready for National Customer Service Week, the ICS has suggested a variety of activities that companies can carry out with their staff including pub quizzes, events, surveys, satisfaction surveys and a complaints master class. All of these activities are designed to address the stark fact that over the last 18 months customer satisfaction levels have fallen in 12 out 13 sectors, according to the ICS’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI).
It’s never been more important to redouble efforts to deliver the best customer experience. Consumers want faster, more comprehensive service across more and more channels – and have no qualms about taking their custom elsewhere. Whilst we can’t predict the future, it’s highly likely that the next 30 years will see even more challenging conditions for companies. Let’s use this week to prepare to meet this test by boosting long-term customer satisfaction levels.