Are customers happy with your service level?

Are customers happy with your service level?
Some sixty per cent of consumers have even higher expectations for customer service now than they did just a year ago.

dubai - Businesses are running the risk of losing existing customers to competitors with more effective customer service



By Rabiya Shabeeh

Published: Wed 16 Nov 2016, 6:53 PM

Last updated: Sun 20 Nov 2016, 5:31 PM

While the ideology that the customer is king is one which all business school graduates have incessantly been schooled upon, experts say that it isn't one that businesses capitalise on as much as they ought to.

A recent study by JitBit shows that sixty per cent of consumers have even higher expectations for customer service now than they did just a year ago but only eight per cent of them actually believe companies deliver it.

On a striking contrast, eighty per cent of the companies surveyed believe that they are already delivering that higher standard of customer service. By neglecting the trend of rising customer service expectations, businesses are depriving themselves from tapping on what could become a long term competitive advantage.

Not only so, they are also running on the growing risk of losing existing customers to competitors with more effective customer service departments. A staggering 90 per cent of customers state that they have stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer service experience.

To make it worse, nearly all customers stated that they share those bad experiences with others. On the flip side of this equation, nine out of 10 consumers verify that they never or almost never purchased from a business that they have come across a negative review about. As we slowly yet surely head towards an economic culture where customer experience takes precedence over price and product as the key brand differentiator, identifying gaps in the system and solutions to fill these gaps is vital.

The top ranking situations where customers felt that the service was poor were those where they felt underappreciated or those where they considered the staff to be rude.

Particularly, in a country like UAE where this is an expat population of over 80 per cent, it comes as no surprise that the most important challenge for customer service is the mixture of different cultures and nationalities which create very different and often contradicting expectations.

So, what can businesses do to improve their customer experience service for consumers from all sorts of backgrounds? "Better training for staff that face clients and customers is the most important place to begin investing in," says Maha Mazhar, business development specialist and consultant.

Multi-channel support systems such as online forums, live chats, fast email responses and click-to-call support systems in multiple languages are also methods to ensure customers have access to assistance any and every time they seek it. The Department of Economic Development in Dubai recently launched its Happiness Lounges in three of its service centres that use such multi-channel support systems intended to create a new environment of quality services for customers in regard to business registration and licensing transactions.

As established businesses acknowledge the rise in customer service expectations, it is more important that new and growing businesses do the same. "Remember the world is filled with examples of bad customer service but to set the new bar, you have to think outside the box and make it work in your favour," adds Mazhar.

After all it is growth, success and business that you look forward to," adds Mazhar.

And even if a business is one whose customer service department is already doing well, it is never a bad idea to go the extra mile just to make sure customers acknowledge the superiority of the service they receive.

JitBit's study concluded that businesses that grow their customer retention rates by as little as five per cent are typically seeing profit increases ranging from 25% - 95%.

There is an old saying that goes, "Advertising doesn't cost. It pays". The same can very much now be applied to customer service.

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Dubai. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.


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