Customer service by region appears to have its own characteristics that impact the success of the companies that rely on that region for its call center operations. For the UK, customer satisfaction appears to be improving, proving that organizations in this area are doing something right.
A study carried out by the Institute of Customer Service as part of the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) focused on customer priorities such as compliant handling, professionalism, quality, delivery time and competence and friendliness of staff. Overall satisfaction levels show an increase from a previous UKCSI study of 66 to 69.
According to the study, much of the improvement is due to the fact that more and more organizations are recognizing that service excellence is the key differentiator. The pilot study provided a significant wake-up call for providers by showing a direct link between the effect of service on spend and the bottom line.
The organizations that were studied showed strong increases in core service areas such as keeping customers informed, delivering on time and treating people as valued customers.
Robert Crawford, ICS executive director, believes the index is proving to be an economic indicator and will become all the more so as it gets bigger and more of a track record.
“Despite the much-publicized credit crunch, most commentators believe there will still be economic growth in 2008 in the UK,” Crawford said. “The UKCSI figures support this. They show customers are more satisfied, and the more satisfied they are the more likely they are to spend.
“The majority of GDP in the UK is service related, so consumer spend has a big impact on the UK’s economic health. But a word of caution. In the States, a similar index that is universally recognized as a key barometer has fallen for the first time in two years, suggesting the US economy is on the decline. Is this a warning for the UK on the basis that when America sneezes we catch a cold?”
The services sector remains as the top performing sector, having an index of 76, with retailers, car companies and financial services all performing well in the top half of the UKCSI. Telecoms and local government organizations round out the bottom of the list with 63 and 58 respectively.
Both telecoms and local government sectors perform particularly badly when it comes to handling complaints. Customers and constituents reported that employees were grumbling that staffed showed lack of interest, were dismissive and too ready to pass them on to someone else.
Despite cultural changes, consumers around the world simply just want their problems solved, information delivered and the ability to purchase products with kind and courteous service. It really is that simple, yet the slightest deviation from this plan can greatly impact the bottom line.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.
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