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Driving Continuous Improvement: The Pursuit of Best-In-Class Service

Posted by Steve Alderson on February 22, 2012

I’m very conscious of two things in business today.

The first is how tough the modern service environment is. We’re probably all familiar with demanding customers who want ever better service at lower cost and in many companies this service needs to be delivered whilst responding to internal pressures for higher profits.

The second is just how much technology there is out there promising to improve the operations of service organisations.

But in all too many cases, businesses have found that though their service technology investments have delivered a positive return, they have fallen far short of expectations.

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How Can We Excuse Rudeness in Customer Service?

Posted by Steve Alderson on February 17, 2012

Our recently commissioned YouGov survey revealed that almost half (49%) of those polled [over 1,400] cited unfriendly and impolite staff as the most common reason for poor customer service.

To further explore this theme, Service Management’s Saul Sherry asked the following question on LinkedIn: What is going wrong in service departments that customers are left so unsatisfied by the lack of manners and empathy from service departments?

It sparked an interesting debate. In question was the UK’s service culture, where examples of excellent service are generally the exception rather than the rule. Top of the complaints list seemed to be call centre culture in corporate environments, where not enough attention is placed on the individual and their value to the organisation.

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The emotive topic of meeting ever-increasing service expectations – it’s all about communication

Posted by Steve Alderson on January 17, 2012

At the end of last year we posed the question ‘How do you meet the ever-increasing expectations of service?’ on LinkedIn, and received a number of industry views. Clearly it’s a topic close to the hearts of many organisations.

Practical solutions were put forward, such as automated technologies to cut out process, and systems to evaluate an organisation’s current performance, to best map out areas for improvement. All arguments we would heartily endorse.

However, the key theme of the discussion focused on communicating regularly with customers, on whatever channel you might expect to find them, or they you. The number one priority seemed to be picking the most effective communication channels (be it mobile, web, call centre, social media) and being available where and when the customer expects it - a massive challenge. As one respondent commented, to meet ever-increasing expectations ”we make ourselves available to our clients and answer their questions promptly.”

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Engineering Excellence: How technology and the engineer make for excellent customer service

Posted by Steve Alderson on January 13, 2012

In late 2011 we shared some engineer horror stories that we’d heard from our years in the service industry but that’s not the end of the tale, there can be a happy ending. We’d like start 2012 off on the right foot by identifying the engineers who, coupled with the right management and technology, achieve service excellence.

See our top five examples below:

1. The equipped engineer is supported by integrated dynamic scheduling technology enabling them to be in the right place with the right skills and parts to improve first time fix rates.

2. The responsive engineer has the ability to send customers up-to-the-minute-updates related to appointment times or anticipated delays, as well as receive and respond to updates from the office.

3. The engaged engineer is recognised for their efforts through performance management technology, which monitors and ranks performance according to various attributes including customer feedback and cost to serve.

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