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Delivering and Improving Effective Customer Service.

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1 Delivering and Improving Effective Customer Service

2 Outline for today Introductions and welcome why are we here today? Customers, and customer service Customer Identification exercise What exactly do we mean by good customer service? Customer Relationship management Customer complaints – best and worst examples Managing customer expectations and complaints Key attributes of an effective customer service

3 How todays session will run I am here to stimulate your learning I will set you various exercises and tasks, there are no right or wrong answers. Be honest and open Contribute fully You are all here to learn

4 Applied knowledge This course isnt just about giving you some of the theory of delivering and improving an effective customer service. You can get that from reading books. The course is about you developing practical skills as well as knowledge and you will learn most effectively after the course if you start to make changes in the way you do things and apply new ideas during your work

5 The fundamental belief of a customer focused organisation Customers are the reason for work, not an interruption of work.

6 Moment of truth: Defined as Any episode in which a customer comes into contact with any aspect of the organisation and gets an impression of the quality of service (Albrecht 1988). Good customer service is all about improving the moment of truth

7 Customer, User, direct and indirect is there a difference? Customer – person or organisation who receives or uses something produced by us, regardless of whether they pay for it or not. User – person or organisation who directly uses the product/service, sometimes called end-user Direct = direct recipient or user. Indirect = indirect recipient or user. They may be 2 or 3 steps away from us, but our quality affects them. E.g. I didnt buy the computer I use in my office, I am not a direct customer of the computer supplier, nor of the purchasing department but I am a user or indirect customer.

8 Customer, User, direct and indirect Your organisation has all of these. MINI EXERCISE QUESTION - Should you treat any of them any differently? Or should they all be treated in the same way ?

9 What do we mean by the term customer? Anyone who interacts with us or the service we provide, either directly or indirectly, or is a affected by the quality of the product or service, whether they are paying for it or not, either indirectly or directly, whether they are internal to the organisation or not. They do not have to be in a contractual (i.e. paying) relationship with us.

10 Mini exercise When you hear the words customer service what does it make you think of?

11 Terms associated with customer service Customer focused Delighting the customer Satisfying the customer Meeting the customers need Exceeding the customers need. Giving the customer what they want, not what we think they want.

12 Customer service makes the difference Once differences between competitors are fairly similar then good customer service makes the difference for customers. Once: price, delivery times, quality of product are similar then customer service makes the difference as to whether a customer comes to you, stays with you, or goes elsewhere

13 Internal and external customers Staff who work within your organisation are internal customers of each other. You are all customers yourselves

14 Internal - external Staff at other branches/depots/offices/sites in Hull may be internal customers of both your Hull site and, for example, of your stockyard in Pontypridd (South Wales) and storerooms in Leeds. Do they receive the same service from each place/site within your organisation?

15 Individual Exercise Who are the internal customers within YOUR organisation? Make a list. How many other internal customers does each internal customer link to Spider diagram? May be surprising – sometimes the least important staff link with many more people than the senior staff do.

16 Individual Exercise Now try and, then try and group or categorize the internal customers For example by: size, location, power, influence, reputation, quality – what is important to you

17 What do we mean by the term customer service? For the purpose of today we will take it mean that it is the set of behaviours which an organisation undertakes during its interaction with its customers and how customers perceive the behaviours. Service quality comprises the degree to which attributes of the service desired by the users are identified and incorporated in the product and service and the degree to which desired levels of these attributes are perceived by the users to be achieved (Jacques Horovitz, 1987)

18 In other words Its not always what you do. Its how your customers pereceive what you do that makes the difference

19 But it isnt easy

20 Difficulties/Problems with measuring and assessing the quality of customer service Extremely subjective Quality is more frequently judged by price because there are less likely to be other measurable factors. BUT once price amongst your competitors is similar to your prices; then its customer service that makes the difference Each customer is different and has a different perception of what they expect/need/demand/want With products a customer can see it before they buy it, with a service the quality can only be experienced

21 Its not what you do but how others see it.... The quality of a service is determined by the users perception (Murdick, Renders, Russel, 1990). Its not what you do, nor the way that you do it, but how your customers perceive what you do and how you do it that determines the quality of your customer service.

22 Discussion point Its not what you do, nor the way that you do it, but how your customers perceive what you do and how you do it that determines the quality of your customer service. To what extent do you think that the above statement is true or false?

23 Its easy to spot poor quality, sometimes difficult to identify good quality. When evaluating whether or not a product or service meets his or her needs a customer will typically wrap everything into one. This means that everything to do with the product /service is considered together aspart of the overall package. What this means is that for your organisation to be able to provide a quality product/service you have to get everything right. The overall package.

24 Getting it right - the overall package Getting some of it right, or some of it perfect (whatever perfect is) is no good if something else isnt right. So your perfect whatdoyamacallit may be let down and regarded as poor by the customer by the surly member of staff who takes 3 days to return a customers phone call because they have better things to, or may be let down by the delivery being late.

25 Getting it right the overall package A great product and your organisations reputation may be let down by the delivery driver who walks dirt into the customers carpet or who is scheduled to arrive at 2pm but arrives at 4:30 without having let the customer know. Your subcontractors and suppliers affect your reputation

26 Exercise the overall package What do you think might typically form part of your organisations overall package from a customers perspective? And to what extent do your suppliers and subcontractors affect your overall package? you think different customers have different perspectives?

27 What types of things or attributes are customers likely to consider as being part of your overall package?

28 Customers will typically consider all the following as being part of the package: Product or service reliability. Consistency. Speed and timeliness of delivery. Accuracy of paperwork. Courtesy of telephone answering. The value of information you give e.g. accuracy and useability of any instructions on how to use it. The service provided by the delivery organisation. The attitude of staff - can do or not my job guvnor

29 Getting it right the overall package Customers include everything as part of the package - so you can never us the excuse – that is the other departments responsibility, or Its the delivery drivers fault, or Its a computer problem that caused it. A customer expects everything to meet their expectation – so you have to ensure that everything which forms part of the package is spot on – even if part of the service is outside your control or authority. And that may be difficult to do.

30 The two dimensions of quality customer service 1 procedural dimension Systems, procedures and processes - the way how things get done. The mechanisms by which customers needs may be met. Normally they are systematic, formal and organised. 2 personal dimension The human or interpersonal side.

31 Personal dimension The human or interpersonal side includes the attitudes, behavioural patterns and verbal skills which are present in every interaction with the customer. Unless the organisation is customer focused and staff are customer focused. Its easy to lose sight of how important the personal touch is. Things such as our: appearance, attitude, communication style, telephone manner, friendliness,etc

32 An organisation can manage the procedural dimension. An organisation can help develop the personal dimension and set standards. As individuals you can improve, develop and enhance your personal dimension.

33 Skills Audit ? After today you might want to have a go at producing a skills audit? A self review of your own skills, for your own personal and professional development. Simply write down in a list: All your skills you have that you use All the skills you need for fantastic service Rate them from 1-10

34 Skills audit part 1 Skills you already haveRate How good you feel they are 1-10 Rate how good they need to be 1-10 For any 10s ask what evidence is there? E.g. telephone skills69 Computer word processing35 as you rarely use a computer

35 Skills audit part 1 Where there is a difference in your numbers for a skills then think about how, where and when you will develop that skill in order to close the gap

36 Skills audit part 2 Skills you need to develop now and for the future Why are they important?Where and how are you going to learn these skills ? Negotiating with customers Important to be able to negotiate Learn from colleagues, shadow them and ask them to explain Better telephone skillsVery important for good customer service Attend training course Presentation skillsIve been asked to explain a new product to potential customers Training course plus watch others learn how they do it

37 Short break ?

38 Ok now well look at external customers

39 External Customer Identification exercise Who are your external customers? Use the handout customer identification grid purple coloured handout sheet Remember Direct = direct recipient/user. Indirect = indirect recipient/user e.g. may be 3 stages away from us, but our quality affects them.

40 Your best and worse customers Who are your best and worst customers to deal with and why? Discuss in pairs or in threes and write up main points

41 QUESTIONS How do your customer see your organisation? Is it a pleasure to do business with you? Do they look forward to it? Are your systems easy to use? Are your people easy to deal with? Are staff friendly and helpful? Do they enjoy doing business with you? Are they delighted to do business with you?

42 Question How do you think your customers see you? Would they classify your organisation as being one of their best or worse customers? There will be an exercise to help you think in more detail about this later on this.

43 Service characteristics Before you can systematically start to improve your service you need to understand its characteristics. The next exercise will help you do this.

44 What are your characteristics? Exercise What are your organisations service characteristics? See white coloured handout What Are your service characteristics? Complete the handout sheet in pairs or threes and then well discuss the results.

45 What are your characteristics? Exercise Your results ? If you had to draw a picture of this what would it look like?

46 Now an exercise on customer care

47 Excellent and poor customer service exercise See green coloured handout sheet customer care exercise. Think of two examples which you regard as being excellent customer service; one from inside your organisation, one from outside of the organisation. Thinks two examples which you regard as being poor customer service; one from inside, one from outside of the company. For each example identify: The key factors that contributed to the experience, Your feelings and reactions at the time, Your feelings and reactions now.

48 Quick break?

49 What did you list for excellent customer service? ?

50 Typical factors you might have listed for excellent customer service Knowledgeable and friendly staff Professional manner of staff Staff listened to me They did what they said they would do They seemed to care They responded to me promptly They seemed genuinely concerned They smiled They treated me as a real human being; not a distraction They seemed proud of what they did and of the organisation Courteous, friendly and efficient service

51 What did you list for poor customer service? ?

52 Typical fact is you might have listed under poor customer service Nobody seemed to have a clue what they were doing Nobody explained I was kept waiting They ignored me They treated me as though it was my fault They never got back to me; I had to chase them They blamed it on the system, the managers, the computers, their suppliers, They fobbed me off They were busy doing something else and I was an interruption and a distraction from their main work

53 How long did your reactions to poor customer service last? Hours Days Weeks Months Years A lifetime And how many people have you told about the poor service?

54 Typically Feelings about really bad experiences last for years? We tell at least five other people (and how many people do they then tell?). The organisation rarely knows how badly we feel

55 Some fundamentals…

56 4 fundamental principles for delivering good customer service 1 the organisation is fully committed to providing excellent customer care and the customer is the key focus throughout the organisation. 2 all staff are aware of and committed to, the vision of excellent customer care. 3 all staff are trained to provide the highest quality customer care. 4 systems and procedures are designed to enhance customer care. (F & R Bee 2003 reprint)

57 Mini exercise Draw an annotated picture of what you perceive to be the essential characteristics a person who is able to provide excellent customer service. Be prepared to explain any aspect of your diagram

58 Mini exercise Draw an annotated picture of the ideal, or best environment for providing an excellent customer service. Be prepared to explain any aspect of your diagram.

59 How do we know if we are measuring or meeting our customers needs? Its often a problem. There are a number of reasons for this: We tend to rely on anecdotal evidence. We tend to only really believe the positive things but often dont want to hear the negative things.

60 How do we know if we are measuring or meeting our customers needs We tend to over rely on the opinions of a small number of highly articulate and or wealthy customers particularly those who are of high status. We tend to ignore the views of customers who we dont like or who we believe are difficult customers.

61 How do we know if we are measuring or meeting our customers needs We tend to ignore the views of one-off or new customers as they dont understand our systems. Why should THEY have to understand YOUR systems? If its difficult for them the new customer wont become a repeat customer.

62 How do we know if we are measuring or meeting our customers needs We tend to rely on feedback from complaining customers which might give us a distorted picture of the situation. Conversely we tend to rely on a lack of customer complaints as being an indicator that everything is OK and our customers are all very satisfied. WE MAY BE WRONG!

63 How do we know if we are measuring or meeting our customers needs We tend to over rely on outdated conceptions about our organisations customer service - if it worked well 3 years ago it must still work well today. We tend to over rely on complaint filtering systems. Often only very major complaints get dealt with. Minor ones tend to get filtered out so we dont know about them so we cant do anything about them.

64 Now lets have a look at your internal and external suppliers (and subcontractors) Use the pink coloured handout Supplier quality service influence and control grid. List down major suppliers. They affect your reputation and quality Are they direct or indirect to your organisation i.e. do they supply your suppliers or supply you directly? Can you influence them or control them to any extent?

65 Relationship learning Relationship learning is the capacity to manage interdependencies with different stakeholders on a day-to-day basis under conditions of more or less uncertainty. The reputation of the individual and the business depends on these relationships.

66 Relationship Learning

67 Teams and relationships - relationship learning and stakeholders Relationship learning is the process by which stakeholders (that is both people and parties who have an interest in an organisation such as: government, shareholders, managers, employees, family, professional services, regulatory bodies and agencies and most importantly customers) are engaged in a two- way process for mutual benefit. We will use it to look at your customers

68 Relationship Learning Exercise This exercise will help you to develop skills in identifying the needs of your customers and seeing the reasons/needs for things from their perspective. Seeing things from someone elses perspective Youll split into 2 groups.

69 Relationship Learning Exercise part 1 Group 1 Educating the customer dark yellow handout sheet Read the handout – dont show it to the other group. May need to be in a different room for this? Group 2 Learning from the customer light blue handout sheet

70 Relationship Learning Exercise part 1 Group 1 are preparing a maximum 5 minute presentation talk for group 2. Group 2 are busy producing something.

71 Group 1 educating the customer - mini presentation Now we will hear the mini presentation from group 1

72 Relationship Learning Exercise part 2 We will now repeat the process but from opposite perspectives - with the company thinking about what they would need to know about a potential customer and the customers thinking about what the company would need to know about them. So group 1 prepare a list and group 2 prepare a mini presentation.

73 Group 2 educating the supplier - mini presentation Now we will hear the mini presentation from group 2

74 After the presentation How did the 2 groups lists differ? What similarities were there? What crucial differences were there? How did the information differ this time? – Quality? – Type and amount of information? – Level of detail? – Specific items added? – ???? Did either group feel a vital point(s) was(were) missing?

75 Relationship Learning After todays session you may want to reflect on this exercise – how could you use the information from it?

76 Captive customers Internal customers are often captive, that means we cant go anywhere else for the service. E.g. You have to go to your finance dept to sort out an invoice? E.g. You have to contact your sales person about a sales issue You cant control what they do; but you may be able to influence them in some way.

77 Captive customers and poor service What often happens with poor internal service is that we bypass the system, we ring up somebody else instead perhaps, or do it ourselves. The net effect of this is detrimental to the efficient and effective working of your organisation

78 Internal customer reputation Its very easy to get a reputation for being unhelpful, never delivering the goods on time, not knowing what you doing, being obstructive. Probably everybody in this room can think of at least one person they have to deal with to which the above applies???? Do you bypass the system and work around the unhelpful person in order to get the job done?

79 Is Odlings Tour Ready? Tour Ready The concept of organisation always being presentable should the Queen or other person such as a major new customer decide to pop over and have a quick tour of your area. What would their impression of your organisation be?

80 Mini exercise – another picture Draw a new annotated picture of the ideal, or best environment and person or people in that environment for providing an excellent customer service. Include in words any current barriers there are which prevent this environment or people from being in place today. Be prepared to explain any aspect of your picture.

81 Customer Perception Quality of a service is about customer expectation and perception. Exactly the same product or service may be perceived as being good or poor depending upon the customers expectations. Customer perception of the product or service is often just as or even more important than the service itself! Its not just what you do but the way that you do it.

82 Customer expectations Customer expectations change over time (usually becoming more demanding) and are influenced by their previous experiences and their experiences of dealing with other organisations. Almost every customer is unique; but we can categorise them.

83 Ways of categorising customers Prospective customers i.e. not yet a customer – and thats always more customers than you already have New Old long term Repeat customers Local and regional National and international By how much they spend By how quickly they pay

84 Mini discussion point How does your organisation categorise its customers?

85 Some facts Typically 68% of customers are lost through poor customer handling. i.e. They dont come back. But its cheaper to keep customers than to gain new ones Customers are not obliged to tell you if they are unhappy. Customers are not obliged to tell you if they are happy.

86 Short break?

87 Complaints Do we like complaints? Customers dont just complain for the sake of it! Nobody wants to complain; they complain for a reason. How we manage the complaint is crucial to our reputation and to whether they will want to do business with us again

88 Quick question How would you as an individual feel if you had made what you felt was a valid complaint, and the organisation/company dismissed it as being of no concern and not worth sorting out? What would you be likely to do? Discuss

89 12 tips for resolving customer complaints 1.Treat the person as an individual who has feelings, values and a sense of self worth 2.Let the customer have their say 3.Say you sorry to hear what has happened 4.Listen actively 5.Get the facts by questioning effectively 6.Keep an open mind, dont make assumptions 7.Dont argue or be defensive 8.Try and find out what outcome the customer wants

90 12 tips for resolving customer complaints 9. Concentrate on what you can do and explain what you cannot do and why 10.Dont impose your own solution – you must reach a solution which the customer finds acceptable 11. Summarise and check that the customer understands and agrees 12. Agree a timescale which is acceptable to the customer for resolving the complaint

91 How do you currently manage complaints? Note manage rather than handle or solve or deal with. Manage implies a pro active approach. Do we allow the customer to complain in any way they want to? What systems and procedures do we have in place? Do we learn from them?

92 Exercise complaint handling List the what happens when a complaint is received by your organisation. Who/where does it come from? Verbal complaints... Written complaints... Where does it go? What happens ? Any specific examples you can think of? Are there any gaps in or problems with the system? Procedural or personal?

93 Review of your results from your complaint handling analysis

94 A proactive view of customer complaints Complaints are welcome, without them we cant improve. We learn from complaints. We must make it as easy as possible for customers to complain to us. We take customers very, very seriously. Customers really are right. Solving a problem at our expense is an important investment in our customers.

95 A proactive view of customer complaints Customers must always be respected and treated accordingly. We want no unhappy customers. We will do whatever it takes to make all our customers satisfied and happy with our service. We respond quickly to all our customer communications. The way in which we solve every customer service problem has crucial or long-term ramifications, not only on customer loyalty but ultimately on the success of our organisation.

96 A proactive view of customer complaints exercise See yellow coloured handout A proactive view of customer complaints. In pairs choose two of the points and consider: Would it apply to you? If yes – how can you prove this? What evidence is there? Give examples. If no – why not. What barriers are there in place preventing you from doing it? Personal or procedural? How might you overcome the barriers?

97 Beware of Complaint filtering Or our complaints system filters out the unimportant complaint so that only the major complaints get properly dealt with. Less important complaints dont get dealt with. Yet to the customer the complaint IS important!

98 Question Do you have any complaint filtering in operation within your organisation? Are you sure? If you dont think you do then - How do you really know that you dont?

99 Complaints – difference between a complaint and a suggestion – eliminating the but The word But is either a complaint or a suggestion. If its a complaint - sort it out! If its a suggestion - it gives you the opportunity to develop new product or service differentiation. With differentiation you can charge more for your product or service!

100 Complaints – difference between a complaint and a suggestion – eliminating the but E.g.Your chips were really nice, but the batter on the fish was a bit soggy. This is a COMPLAINT – sort it out. E.g.Your chips are really nice, but it would have been nice to have had a choice of batter or breadcrumbs on the fish. This is really a SUGGESTION – the customer noticed good quality. If you eliminate the but youll differentiate your product/service and enhance customer loyalty.

101 Complaints LLOVE acronym Love the customer Listen to their complaint Offer an apology Verify the complaint/query Execute a solution

102 Good customer service ? A Possible definition… One possible definition of quality or good customer service is that it is supplying customers with what they want, to the standard and specification they want, with a predictable and acceptable degree of liability and uniformity, and at a price that suits their need (Perfect Customer Care – all you need to get it right first time – by Ted Johns 1999).

103 Quick break?

104 Factors which could add value to the customer service staff displaying appropriate body language staff being friendly on the phone callers not being placed on musical hold staff who actually know what they are talking about appropriate opening hours one-stop shop approachable staff friendly staff user-friendly prompt service – or reason for delay is explained.

105 Factors which could add value to the customer service Friendly and helpful staff Staff with ability to listen Appropriate tone, pitch and pace of voice Approachable staff Staff displaying appropriate body languagebody language How staff greet the customer Understanding the customers needs Staff with good soft skillssoft skills

106 Did you spot anything the points on the 2 previous slides had in common ? They are all virtually zero cost.

107 So how do we add value to the customer experience? It isnt easy Need to know our customers needs inside out – this in itself is not easy Need to be aware of different customers needs Need to be aware of changing customer need Need to know what our customers expect of us Need to know what it is that our competitors do differently or better than us - and learn from it Need to be consistent, yet improve over time Small things count

108 Adding value to the customer experience? How can you add value? What can the organisation do? What can you as individuals do to make a difference? Ideas and suggestions from you.

109 Ideas – overcoming barriers to making changes to improve customer service Good ideas can often be ruined or killed before they are even properly considered. In order to improve our customer service we might need to consider some new ideas and not kill them off. The next few slides are typical idea killers

110 Idea killers We tried it last year and it didnt work It would take too long Its not my job to… You may be right, but... Our department is too big Our section is too small We dont do it that way

111 Idea killers We have always done it this way If it aint broken it dont need fixin It sounds ok in theory, but…. It would cost too much Something that cheap obviously wont work That company down the road tried it and they wasted a lot of time and money and scrapped it in the end

112 Idea killers Its impossible Its too simple Its too complex Its obviously not going to work We need more time to research the full implications We need more time…

113 Idea killers Why should I bother My staff are too busy We are all suffering from stress Our budget has been cut Our team has its own way of working Maybe next year well re-consider it

114 Idea killers We need more …………. before we can implement it It seems like a good idea; but….. I need more information before I can make a decision I need others to make a decision before I can make a decision I can appreciate that there is a problem, but… I cant; because….

115 Tool and Technique The SWOT analysis Allows us to consider our: Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats All can be internal or external or both Can be done for the company as a whole, the Hull branch, a department within the Hull branch, or an individual person.

116 SWOT Analysis grid StrengthsWeaknesses OpportunitiesThreats

117 Exercise Have a go at producing a SWOT analysis for your organisation. Think about: Complaints Customer service Systems Procedures People Barriers to improvement What else is important to you?

118 Review of your SWOT analysis

119 Problems – the problem with problems Customers are not bothered about your problems, the problems of your supplier, your manufacturer, your staff, or your employees. Why should a customer be bothered about your problems? Customers are not always bothered about your shortage of staff, the fact that your computer network has gone down, power cuts, rail strikes, leaves on the line, frozen points, portion control policies, your customer service policy, your need for a lunch break etc.

120 Why should the customer be interested in your problems? The customer is not interested in these things, dont bother telling him or her about them, you will only make him or her angry and bored. They seem like feeble excuses. No matter how good your tests, your quality assurance system, your customer services, your systems have usually been designed by you, not by your customers.

121 The moral The moral is that quality service is not what your internal guidelines or tests or market surveys or policies or procedures or statements indicate is satisfactory. Quality and customer service is what the customer says it is, not what you say it is.

122 And Customers are the reason for work, not an interruption of work.

123 A question to consider later -Future proofing ? How might the key characteristics of your service change in the future if the customers and their expectations change?

124 Exercise for you after today? Have a go at producing a personal SWOT analysis for your own skills and knowledge. Do you need to work on developing any skills and knowledge?

125 And dont forget your skills audits

126 Skills audit part 1 Skills you already haveRate How good you feel they are 1-10 Rate how good they need to be 1-10 For any 10s ask what evidence is there? E.g. telephone skills69 Computer word processing35 as you rarely use a computer

127 Skills audit part 2 Skills you need to develop now and for the future Why are they important?Where and how are you going to learn these skills ? Negotiating with customers Important to be able to negotiate Learn from colleagues, shadow them and ask them to explain Better telephone skillsVery important for good customer service Attend training course Presentation skillsIve been asked to explain a new product to potential customers Training course plus watch others learn how they do it


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