Customer satisfaction levels in the UK have had the longest period of decline since records started in 2oo8. That’s according to a recent report by the The Institute of Customer Service who say that the UK Customer Service Index (UKCSI) is at its lowest in 5 years.
Overall customer service satisfaction level across all brands was at 76.9, the lowest since July 2015. Despite its score dropping by 0.9 points year-on-year, John Lewis top the table with a customer satisfaction score of 85.6 They are followed by First Direct, Next, Nationwide and Amazon. It’s clear that customer expectations continue to rise and there is ever more pressure on businesses… like yours!
How can you deal with this? Well, you have two basic options: Go For Great Service Or Go Cheap!
Interestingly, at the bottom end of the league table when it comes to customer service is supermarket chain Lidl. They are the lowest scoring food retailer for customer satisfaction but they actually saw sales rise last year by 9.2%! So they give poor customer service but they out perform others. How come? Well, yes, their sales have been undoubtedly been boosted by store openings, refurbishments and vouchers, but the key driver is cheap prices – Only Aldi has higher satisfaction when it comes to price. They have clearly got their overall proposition and experience spot on and they meet the needs of their customers by doing that.
However, lots of businesses can’t (and shouldn’t) compete on ‘price’ alone and there are clearly opportunities for businesses that want to avoid that… The ICS survey suggests many customers want better service and are willing to pay for it.
- 25.9% of customers prefer excellent service, even if it means paying more.
- 59.9% of customers want a balance of price and service.
- Only 14.2% of customers prefer no frills, low cost service
Yes, that’s over a quarter of customers saying they are willing to pay more for excellent service – that’s A BIG OPPORTUNITY!
How can you take advantage of that? Here are 3 ideas to consider to:
iDea #1: Choose ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em!
3D Businesses focus on the customers they want to work with. They identify who their ‘best’ customers are and that can often mean those that are less price focused. It can typically be those who do things like focus on ‘value’ not price, those who consciously look for long term relationships, focus on quality, those that pay on time, or maybe even those that pay! Spend some time analysing your customers and their buying patterns. Who are your ‘best’ customers? Identify them, profile them and find more of them! Go on…. Find those customers, and consider getting rid of those customers that are only bothered about price – at least, reduce your reliance on them.
iDea #2: Be Easy To Buy From!
Finding ways to improve the customer experience is a something that 3D Businesses do consistently. A key way of differentiating themselves from their competitors is making the whole thing simpler and easier for the customer – it’s all about ‘convenience’!
That can be anything from answering the phones promptly (and the person answering it knows what they’re talking about!), improving processes to eliminate time wasting processes and ‘speed things up’ through to sophisticated AI technology that creates automated personalised responses. (Check out how Tottenham Hostspur do it here with beer!)
So, have a look at your business and identify how easy you are to buy from and deal with along the whole customer journey. Why not ‘Stand In Your Own Queues’ and see what it’s like to be a customer of your business and identify how and where you could improve the customer experience by making things easier for your customers. You can download our FREE ‘Stand In Your Own Queues’ toolkit to help you do that simply by clicking on the image.
iDea #3: ‘Delight’ Your Customers!
When some people hear the phrase ‘Customer Delight’ for the first time I sometimes see them grimace and with a look of despair say ‘Oh no, he’s been to Disneyland for his holidays – it’s going to be one of those seminars!’ So, first of all, let me state what this is not about! It is not ‘Have a nice day!’, ‘Missing you already!’ or ‘Buy One, Get 10 Free!’, – obviously, it’s got to make commercial sense (hey, even Lidl don’t give things away for free!)! It’s not a gimmick, and it’s certainly not a ‘one off’! In truly customer focused businesses, ‘customer ‘delight’ is part of the culture and make-up of the business. It’s the way we do things around here!
So, what exactly is ‘Customer Delight’? Well, my definition is.. ‘Surprising customers with the level of service you >provide’ and let me just emphasise, it’s surprising them in a positive way! It’s about ‘exceeding their expectations’, and the scary thing is that in many industries, that can simply means delivering things ‘on time, on budget and in a courteous and friendly way’! We believe that there are 6 ingredients of ‘Customer Delight’:
- It produces a wow reaction!
- It appears spontaneous or unexpected!
- It’s the personal touch!
- It makes the customer feel valued!
- It’s genuine… and…
- It creates a ‘talking point’!
Work out what this means for your customers and find ways to ‘empower your people to respond to, and ‘delight’ customers. Give them the help, support and encouragement to do it, and reward and recognise those who do.
For a more in-depth insight of Customer Delight, click on the image to download my free e-book Customer Delight As Competitive Advantage – 44 pages and over 60 ideas to help you make this stuff work in your business.