Study Notes

Improving Customer Service

Level:
GCSE, AS
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Businesses need to regularly monitor the quality of service provided in order to assess and evaluate the degree to which they are meeting (and, hopefully, exceeding) the needs and expectations of their customers.

A common method used by many businesses to do this is known as benchmarking. This involves comparing the standards achieved by the business against known industry levels for key service criteria.

Another important method of assessing service quality is to look at customer feedback. It is important for businesses to obtain as much feedback as possible from customers. It is worth remembering that feedback can be positive as well as negative, and it is just as useful to know what the business is getting right as it is to know what it is doing wrong!

There are several ways that a business can encourage customers to provide feedback:

  • Make it easy to complain: e.g. free phone number; complaint forms
  • Customer service feedback forms
  • Train staff to listen carefully / look for problems
  • Reward customer feedback with incentives (e.g. discounts, special offers, entry into prize draws)
  • Thank customers when they submit complaints

Don't forget too that customer feedback can be:

Positive:

  • Information from satisfied customers
  • Confirms business is doing something right / well
  • Encourages & motivates staff

Negative:

  • Information from unhappy customers
  • Vital indicator about what may need to be done to gain and keep hold of customers
  • Often obtained from customer complaints
  • It is often said that the worst customer is an unhappy customer who doesn't tell you about it
Gathering data on customer service is not an end in itself. This data must now be analysed and conclusions must be drawn and presented to the relevant parties, i.e., all the people involved in delivering customer service. Clearly, senior managers who have ultimate responsibility for devising corporate strategy need accurate and up-to-date information in order to make effective decisions but staff who deal with customers directly may also benefit from knowing what they are getting right as well as what they are getting wrong!

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