Business urged to better customer service strategies

Many Australian businesses don’t put enough focus on customer retention strategies to ensure growth during tough economic times, which is becoming increasingly essential given the current economy.

According to survey by Customer Experience Company (CEC), retaining existing clients in today’s economy could not be more important for businesses of all sizes.

“Given the high cost of customer acquisition, retaining existing clients is always a focus, but this becomes a priority when the market slows. Organisations that address this through comprehensive strategies addressing the “outside-in” perspective of looking at a company through the eyes of its customers, will be better off,” CEC Co-Founder and Director Chris Severn said.

On a positive note, the field of customer service is gradually developing, and according to Severn most companies delegate customer service responsibility to someone directly reporting to the CEO.

This said, 25 percent of respondents said their business delegates responsibility to low-level management, which often has no customer service focus at all. This latter strategy could result in customers falling through the cracks.

One challenge to improving customer service is its difficulty to measure. The survey reported the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of good customer service is customer loyalty, but only 67 percent of respondents have satisfaction measurement systems in place.

“Quantifying customer satisfaction is a notoriously difficult thing to do, so KPIs in this space need to be matched with a metric that is relevant and meaningful,” Severn added.

Severn said companies need to measure the financial benefits of good customer service, create a customer-centric culture for employees and overcome skills shortages given the experience that would be required to improve customer experience strategies.

“Failure to move in this direction could have dire consequences if the market goes through another tumultuous time.”