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Customer Service

Customer Service by Rodney Overton
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This is a revised and enlarged version of this book which was first published in February 2002 and which has proved to be a very popular and topical title. Customer Service, or a lack of it, will of course inevitably be a topical subject. Excellence in the provision of customer service continues to be an elusive target. Many organisations make what often turns out to be hollow promises in regard to customer service, with a subsequently dissatisfied customer vowing to never do business with that provider again. Providing quality Customer Service to customers of your business is a cost effective way of increasing market share and profits. The provision of excellence in Customer Service also offers the opportunity to be seen as a superior, preferred, supplier over your generic, ‘me too’ competitors. At the same time many organisations feel very strongly that their customers have no right to complain about their service levels and endeavour by various means to punish the customer concerned. Many industries appear to have chronic customer service problems. As an example ask consumers about courier deliveries, telecommunications and the IT industry. In recent years the writer has received refunds, in some instances multiple refunds from many of Australia’s best known organisations after taking them to task for poor customer service. Despite many leading edge companies realising the myriad advantages of excellence in Customer Service, and the inherent benefits of taking full advantage of the opportunities provided, many organisations still have great difficulty in providing even a modicum of reasonable service. The successful implementation of Customer Service usually involves a major change in the culture of the organisation, which is very difficult to achieve and involves the investment of considerable time and energy. The queue at a local bank often stretches out the door and into the street. And when you are served, one staff member finds it necessary to chew gum while processing the transaction! This book is especially aimed at those involved in customer service issues, and will also be of immense assistance to most people in business and service organisations. The objective has been to provide easy to read and understand information which can be assimilated into, and used in real life, day to day business situations, quickly, easily, and in many instances, with little expense. We currently have a range of more than 100 books, CD ROMs and Training Facilitators Manuals available, covering areas of business such as Business Administration, Business Planning, Finance, Human Resources, Management, Marketing, Sales and Small Business. A training course based on this publication is available. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Martin Books; July 2007
138 pages; ISBN 9781921360398
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Title: Customer Service
Author: Rodney Overton
The benefits of customer service include: Increased customer retention rates Attracting new customers through word of mouth Reduced costs of running the business Reduced scrap and wastage rates Reduced marketing costs Stronger competitive position in the market place The ability to offer service as a differentiated advantage Increased staff and job satisfaction Increased sales turnover Increased profits Customer satisfaction surveys consistently indicate that service can be grouped into three broad categories: Excellent service, leading to completely satisfied customers. These customers are advocates for the business. Mediocre service, leading to non-committed customers. These customers will remain with the company until a better alternative can be found, and every new transaction may be the last. Poor service, leading to customer dissatisfaction. Their customers are highly critical of the service levels and are pro-actively looking for alternate suppliers. Don’t overlook that your staff do not create the service provided by your company - they in fact deliver it. Some 80% of the service delivered from a business usually stems directly from the company’s processes, systems and policies. Your staff have very little capacity to influence the overall service quality, as much of what they can and can’t do is effectively dictated by management. Good service can only occur where the management culture brings together a service environment that integrates the staff with processes, systems and policies that are focused on servicing the customer. Good customer service comes from what the business is doing. The best management and staff ‘service attitude’ in the world means nothing if it is not put into practice with what it actually does. It is what your staff do, and their behaviour that matters. Having a customer focused attitude is important, but it is only converted to service when your staff actually does something for customers. Responsibility for managing the service culture lies with management. It is the role of management to ensure that what their business and staff actively do is focused on providing excellent customer service.
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