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‘Consistent and Persistent’ Drives Great Customer Service

Solutions4Cleaning won the Excellence in Customer Service Award at the British Chambers of Commerce business awards in 2011. The system that they operate, which helped them to win, is simple in its approach. It can be expressed as monitor, measure and manage. The magic is in the way in which it is applied consistently and persistently to deliver customer delight.

The process is delivered by Account Managers who make quality visits to every client, every month to have a conversation with them about their view of the service they have received in the previous four weeks. After the conversation, the client will complete a quality questionnaire which provides feedback to the company. If a client scores the company performance as less than excellent or very good, the Account Manager also asks the question “what do we need to do to be excellent?” and records the result.

The return of the questionnaire with feedback is scheduled by a central system. It is flagged using a traffic light system and should a questionnaire be a day late, the traffic light goes to amber. At two days late, it will show red. The system is monitored and actioned to ensure that all questionnaires are completed and returned to the central office.

Once feedback has been received there is a further traffic light system which reflects the average score from each client. Very good and excellent scores produce a green light and are recorded and filed. That means the company is exceeding expectations as they intend.

A score of good equals an amber light. These are signalled to the General Manager and will result in a conversation with the Account Manager to discuss what can be done in order to improve this score by the next visit. Where necessary the General Manager will schedule a call to the client to understand their needs.

Any score below Good equals a red light. This will trigger a call by the General Manager to the client to discuss the situation and to put in place actions to fix the problem quickly. If the result continues at this level, then the General Manager will schedule a personal visit to the client.

Monitoring the right things is important. A system that passively monitors customer complaints, for example, is unlikely to pick up dissatisfaction in more clients as they will simply move their business elsewhere.

The key to success in this process though is not in the data collection, nor in the monitoring system, though both are essential to it. It is in the recognition that there is dissatisfaction, identification of the cause and the consistent effort to ensure that there is no recurrence. The process is to admit fault, to put it right as quickly as possible, compensate if necessary (it won’t be necessary in most cases) and to put matters in hand to ensure it does not recur.

It is human nature not to want to hear what the customer really thinks about your business, however, knowing their views is what triggers your journey into continuous improvement. If you care enough about your customer, then you’ll be interested in their perception of your service and motivated enough, at all levels of the business, to do something about it

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