Are you still hearing 'Covid' as an excuse for slow customer service?
There's no doubt that businesses experienced a phenomenal challenge with service delivery during Covid. Staff sickness, mandatory quarantine periods and the difficulty in rapidly transitioning to remote and hybrid working models - all within a culture of uncertainty and worry - created profound problems.
But it seems that, in many cases, businesses are still using 'Covid' as a short-hand excuse for poor or slow customer service - and customers aren't prepared to accept it. And why should they? The UK is operating freely, people are no longer subject to quarantine or Covid testing restrictions and the government isn't imposing any restrictive measures on businesses.
So why are so many firms still rolling out 'Covid' as a reason for slow service? The reality is, it still provides a handy, ready excuse when more complex reasons are not being overcome.
Challenges in the market
There are certainly difficulties in the current market. Union-led walkouts, supply chain glitches and rising energy prices are all very legitimate business concerns. But customers expect good service to resume - otherwise, they will seek out competitors and spend their money elsewhere.
Why prioritise customer service?
To retain customers, it's essential to offer the best possible customer service that you can. Markets are saturated with competition, particularly from online brands, and businesses must offer a superb and memorable experience to their customers in order to retain them.
Great experience builds your brand's recognition, reputation and value, building loyalty and repeat spending. Failing to invest in customer service means that people will go elsewhere and share their bad experiences as a warning to keep away, by speaking to their networks and leaving bad reviews.
Now is the time to act
Smart businesses will use this time to reinvigorate their customer service by:
- Hiring enough customer service staff to deliver quickly, efficiently and to quality standards
- Reviewing their customer handling times, processes and SLAs to check that they meet best practices
- Prioritising customer complaints for rapid resolutions
- Investing in accredited training to develop high internal standards
- Work towards attaining the Investor in Customer standard to build your brand.
- Invest in the necessary technology to deliver top-quality customer service, including digital self-service options and free customer helplines.
To retain your customers in today's competitive environment, you must delight them - and be consistent in delivering on your promises in regard to time, cost and quality measures. Get it right and you'll build an excellent brand and a successful business. Get it wrong, and your competitors will get there first!
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