It Pays to Develop Excellent Customer Service

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Home > Articles > It Pays to Develop Excellent Customer Service

 It Pays to Develop Excellent Customer Service

Tan Chee Teik | General
May 11, 2018
​To get customers to return often, employees must spend a lot of time determining customers’ wants and how to fulfil them at great expense.

TO be a customer-focussed company, management must appreciate that if customers return again and again, the company’s financial bottom-line will grow annually. Employees must spend a lot of time determining customers’ wants and how to fulfil them at great expense.

The firm should implement monitoring systems to find out if customer expectations about the service provided are being met. In the service industry, many things can go wrong so the firm must spend great amounts of time and effort to strive for zero defects.

Managers must understand that the delivery of excellent customer service demands the hiring, training, and motivation of appropriate staff.

In an American Express Global Customer Service Barometer survey of 2017, it found that 66 per cent of Singaporean respondents did not complete a business transaction or make a purchase because of poor customer service. So Singaporeans easily show displeasure with poor customer service. 

A total of 33 per cent of Singaporeans will immediately consider switching companies after one instance of poor customer service and 67 per cent of Singaporeans are willing to experience two or more bad experiences before they switch. Once you lose a customer, you may lose the person for life.

Additionally, it found that 72 per cent of Singaporeans are willing to spend 16 per cent more money, on average, because of excellent customer service and 65 per cent have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experience.

Singaporeans have a low tolerance level for poor service especially in the food and beverage (F&B) business.

The Amex survey found the following key attributes to improve customer service in Singapore in the next five years:
41 per cent of respondents feel that speed is important. They expect their needs to be taken care of quickly,
20 per cent of respondents give importance to personalisation so train your staff to make a personal connection, and
20 per cent of respondents believe that education for staff is important. They should make customers know the benefits and services that can help them.

Great Service at Airport
To fund Changi Airport’s expansion, from 1 July 2018, travellers flying out of Singapore will pay a total departure charge of S$47.30 up from S$34 previously. This compares with S$12.60 charged by Dubai and S$62 charged by Australian airports.

Although Changi has been providing excellent service over the years, with the hefty airport charge, customers’ expectations will be raised even higher. On quality service management, Changi Airport believes that “all partners in our airport community must understand the elements that make up the Changi Service DNA and align themselves towards the goal of providing quality service. The elements expressed in the Changi Service DNA will foster a stronger service culture and guide the service team in their interactions with our customers at all touch-points.”

They summarise that their service is personalised. Every customer is unique so the staff are trained to be welcoming, interested, and attentive. To provide customers with stress-free service and peace of mind, the staff must be knowledgeable, resourceful, and responsive. To create good memories in every customer, staff must be involved, enthusiastic, and creative. Although many of the services are automated, such as self-check-in, there are always employees on hand to help those who are less information technology inclined.

Driving a Customer Service Culture
We can learn how to drive a customer service culture from CarMax, the largest retailer of used cars in the United States. The company focusses on its people and the family-oriented, caring culture it fosters. They treat associates with the same integrity, respect, and honesty embedded in its approach to selling cars.

Central to driving customer focus are:
Hire for culture fit and excellence,
Extensive and creative reward programmes. These include awards for customer feedback, membership clubs, rewarding high performance, and a monthly E-mail from the chief executive announcing the top performing stores with winners receiving a big sandwich party, and
Senior leaders connect with employees in the field.

The 2017 Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) national score stands at 72.9 points (on a 0 to 100 scale), a statistically significant improvement against the 2016 CSISG national score of 71.8 points. The year-on-year increase in the national score is led by upticks in the Finance and Insurance and Healthcare sectors. The survey results were released by the Institute of Service Excellence at the Singapore Management University on 28 March 2018.

Mr Tan Chee Teik is a freelance journalist. He is a regular contributor to M360 and Today’s Manager.

Copyright © 2018 Singapore Institute of Management

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