Customers of Scottish Power and Npower would not have been surprised by the Which? survey which identified these utility giants as providing the worst customer service around. Customers, it seems, are using the media, and other innovative methods, to let companies know that they need to make drastic changes, or face the consequences.
So what, I hear you say. They don’t really care! It may seem that this is the case, but poor performance very often equals commercial turmoil and strife. After all, customers vote with their feet, and this has a MASSIVE impact on the company profits. This sentiment was support by Richard Lloyd, from Which? who said, ’Nearly nine in 10 people told us poor customer service puts them off using a brand again’.
Customers were particularly peeved by substandard complaints procedures, poor knowledge of call centre staff and their inability to make the costumer feel respected and valued.
It can’t all be bad news. Certainly not! Lush, First Direct and John Lewis were ranked amongst the top performing businesses with customer satisfaction reaching a staggering 89%.
While striving for improvement, it is useful to look at what others are doing well.
First Direct has recently partnered with the University of Huddersfield to create a Foundation Degree for Call Centre staff. Educated staff = happy customers. The market for low level call centre training is plentiful, but options are slim when you look for qualifications for higher level call centre management. This is disappointing as these are the individuals who drive change and have the ability to impact frontline communications.
Whilst complaints handling featured heavily as an area of concern, accurate written and verbal communication and the use of empathy can play a huge role in diffusing tense situations. Call centre agents need to be fully versed in Psycho-Linguistic tips and techniques so they can minimise the number of cases being escalated. Corporate communication should also be overhauled, so that the ‘Corporate Voice’ of the organisation is defined and creates a positive feeling for existing and potential customers.
We asked Dr Valerie Bram, Director of T2 and industry expert on Psycho-Linguistics what her ‘secret recipe’ is for customer service excellence.
“Just like Dolmio, we don’t give away all our ingredients, but our happy clients assure us that by following our simple recipe, they can guarantee a whole load of happy customers, asking for more of the same.”
She was happy to share her five ‘Top Tips’:
- Move from process to personal. It goes a long way in easing a tense situation
- Use a tone, when you write or speak, which communicates sincerity
- Make sure your customer feels loved and valued
- Communicate in a way which shows the customer you mean business
- Use language which creates trust!
Want to try out our recipe for success? Check out our website www.t2linguistics.com and get in touch.
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