Effective service delivery should go beyond customer expectations. Increasingly, with available technology and information sharing, customers expect organisations to deliver service when it is convenient to them, on platforms that are easy to use, and on any device of their choice. This puts a different slant on availability and convenience. Availability issues can have a lasting impact on customer perception, and competitors are only a search away.
By Rita Kruger, executive: customer services and call centre operations at Tracker
Therefore, to deliver meaningful service, you’ll need to have a better understanding about your company’s purpose and market offering. Here are a few pointers to consider.
Defining your company’s “X factor”
Define that one noteworthy aspect that makes your customers want to come back and do more business with you. This could be availability, time saving, convenience, quality or experience.
Once a company’s X factor is defined, it should be interpreted at the most granular level, clearly outlining what receivers can expect and servers need to deliver. For many of us, time is the most expensive and irreplaceable commodity. It stands to reason then, that fast and efficient service could atone product deficiency, even more so if a company is able to connect with the customer during the transaction.
Equip for service experience
A sound understanding of customer needs and a clear definition of service delivery expectations will not take you far if your organisation is not aligned and contributing towards a collective purpose. Some leaders may pay lip-service to the end result, each having a different opinion on how it should be executed or what the result should look like.
To prevent this, each person in the business, across all levels should work closely together to be ready and available to serve their customers. Customer needs and expectations must be understood by the servers. If this can be translated into technology availability and ease of use, the product will give the receiver what they expect. Added to this, an internal sense of ownership and belonging can be achieved.
An organisation should constantly seek to address the questions of what do my customers want and, why do we exist?
Understanding the generation factor
Some companies have evolved from doing business in the traditional way. Others are still struggling to balance and serve an old traditional customer base and a younger, more demanding, globally educated and technology enabled generation.
It is a fact that how we service customers today differs from how we were servicing customers in the early 1900s. This is, however, only true if one merely focuses on the technology enablement, communication differentiators and product offerings. The consumer of yesteryear and the consumer of today still have some common threads which will always remain: value for money and convenient service. These might even assure customer loyalty in the new millennials if coupled with company values and purpose aimed at sustainability.
Things like packaging have become important to the consumer, with increasing awareness on environmental impact. When thinking of quality, certain brands come to mind. Although not always more cost effective than competitors, they provide the consumer with the impression of lasting value.
It is important to understand what customers across generations expect, from purchasing experience to product. Generational grouping can offer insight into behaviour, preferences, outlook and ultimately purchasing behaviour.
Link values, purpose and culture
If your company can successfully determine why they are in business, and this is validated by public opinion, your product or service will have the edge. Company values and purpose should become the company DNA. For authenticity, every customer touchpoint should convey these values and purpose, leaving the customer with a lasting impression.
Misalignment and opposing service outcomes leave values and purpose watered down. Constant alignment of employees at all levels with an up and down the ladder approach is a must for achieving service excellence with the customer as the core focal point.
Organisational goals left unreviewed and unmeasured lead to insufficient visibility on results and achievement. Review and measurement are important from a strategic, customer and employee point of view. Measurements are easy when it comes to increased volumes and revenue but understanding your customers’ and public opinion is what will measure future success of consumer-based marketing.
Never underestimate the value of checking in with the opinion of your existing customers as well as market feedback on why you are in business, and what you stand for. It is also important to know what the market sees as your contribution to society and future generations. Thinking service should be the main drive and focus of any organisation who sees their customers and employees as the pivotal point around which all revolves.
One of the core values at Tracker is service excellence and we are on a journey of self-discovery, redefining our true purpose not only from a customer perspective but also to align our most valuable assets, our servers. In the new digitised world where customers want a quick and seamless digital experience immediately, you must ensure that you can deliver on their expectations and we understand that customers compare the service that they receive. This could range from buying essential items (food and clothing) or indispensable services (electricity and water) to grudge purchases like insurance, home security and vehicle tracking. Irrespective of the reason for the service, service delivery plays a key role in ensuring customers come back for more.