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.”
Social media has had a key impact on service expectations, forcing companies to answer in a prompt and open manner. Blogs were cited as key sources of company information for customers. Wherever the customers might be, businesses need to have a strategy for communicating with them. Increasingly, the organisations that do this best, will have a big advantage when it comes to winning the word of mouth marketing war.
The way a company communicates with its workforce is of no lesser priority, for they are the conduit between and organisation and its customers. Cognito has just carried out a nationwide consumer survey, which shows there are still huge amounts organisations can do to improve their service, particularly when it comes to frontline staff. By engaging and motivating the workforce, the interface with the customer should see direct improvements.
So when it comes to communication, a joined-up and real-time approach between the company, its workforce and customers is the only way forward to keep all parties happy and informed. The good news is, a real-time communications system between all three is entirely possible. The challenge will be how to set a strategy that ensures an organisation can meet these service and communications expectations on a consistent level, whilst ensuring any additional investment pays back. As another respondent suggested, “the best way to meet customers’ expectations is to have a terrific understanding of how you are doing against their current expectations with your service. A robust feedback system allows you to gauge your current performance and better anticipate your customers’ future needs. In addition, these insights can help you focus your employees on delivering against the ever changing needs of your customers.”