National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Take a Holistic Approach to Customer Service

Every business knows that good customer service matters, but are you paying close enough attention to the service your customer experiences?

Successful businesses understand that in today’s competitive business environment, a customer-centric philosophy is the most important step towards that success. That means every aspect of the organization looks at the impact of that aspect on the customer experience, from product development to digital development to, of course, customer service.

I recently posted an IdeaXchange blog that addressed this topic. At NationaLease, we place a very high emphasis on customer service and actually have Exceptional Service Awards which are given to members who go above and beyond when it comes to exhibiting great customer service. Whether your organization is B2C or B2B, ensuring a positive customer experience is essential. What I found is that great businesses don’t just talk about customer service, they focus on it.

If good customer service helps companies…how much does bad customer service hurt companies? In 2018, NewVoiceMedia in its “Serial Switchers” report found that “poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. Brand loyalty is tied greatly to the customer experience and that has become ever truer as the internet has made it easy for buyers to find alternative sources for whatever they purchase. The report found that “67 percent of customers have become ‘serial switchers,’ customers who are willing to switch brands because of a poor customer experience.” It is thus abundantly clear that excellent customer service is a cornerstone of a thriving business.

In my IdeaXchange blog, I identified Chick-Fil-A and Ritz-Carlton as companies noted for their great customer service. I wanted to see what other companies achieve that distinction. An 2019 article in Forbes identified 100 of the most customer-centric companies covering a wide variety of industries, including retail, hospitality, finance, and B2B. Here are some examples of what they found:

• Wegmans grocery chain tops the list of most loved companies as it focuses on employee engagement, and happy employees provide a better experience for customers.
• Trader Joe’s also has employees who will do anything to make customers happy, winning it the second higher American Customer Satisfaction Index) ACSI) score.

• Citizens is noted for mapping the customer journey in order to predict what customers will need in the future. They are the top-rated bank in the Temkin Experience Ratings.
• Ally Bank achieved its high score in the Forrester CX Index due to their use of digitization to provide convenient end-to-end solutions for customers

• Subaru’s safety reputation has made it a favorite for families, as has the company’s transparency and focus on proactively addressing issues.
• LG looks at ways to make their appliances innovative and customer-friendly.

DHL went through a major restructuring and ended up with an employee-friendly culture, and we know that engaged and happy employees lead to better service and satisfied customers.

Cisco is constantly working to match customer needs, evolving the products to cloud-based and subscription models. They created a customer experience group with 27K of its employees.

What is clear is that great customer service comes as a result of attention to detail that goes beyond answering a phone call quickly or helping out a customer looking for a specific item. It takes a holistic approach to every touch point a customer experiences.

A quick caveat here…with the current pandemic crisis, it is difficult to assess right now how customer service may have changed in some of the companies listed. COVID-19 certainly favors companies that have a digital presence as people have social distanced or stayed at home. But beyond that, I have a feeling that great companies will continue to focus on the needs of customers and that they will be agile enough to adapt to those new needs.

Read my full IdeaXchange blog to see how NationaLease members address their own customer service.


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