The Pursuit of Customer Service Excellence
Contrary to developed world, in Pakistan the customer input is hardly invited in planning of current and future services. As a matter of fact, service quality and customer satisfaction are not regularly assessed by the companies in Pakistan.
The following facts emphasize on the importance of quality customer service and experience:
- Even in a negative economy, customer experience is a high priority for consumers, with 60% often or always paying more for a better experience (Source: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report).
- 81% of companies with strong capabilities and competencies for delivering customer experience excellence are outperforming their competition (Source: Peppers & Rogers Group, 2009 Customer Experience Maturity Monitor).
- 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience, up from 59% 4 years ago (Source: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report).
During the past 5 years, the awareness regarding the enablement of quality customer experience across all the touch points has increased among the stakeholders of futuristic companies in Pakistan. The approach to customer service has been changing for many companies, and it clearly needs to change. Companies are facing not only the need to ramp up positive customer experiences whenever customers interact through any touch point, but now must understand and construct strategies for providing a seamless customer experience over multiple channels of communication. But companies are not helpless in this “new world” of customer engagement. Companies have full power to create a consistent and differentiated service experience for their customers, across any and all channels. Making this happen is not an easy task, but making it happen can be a solid path to sustained competitiveness, and to providing continuous real value to customers.
To overcome these challenges and survive in the competitive and volatile environment, companies require greater understanding and responsiveness to customers’ needs. Assessment of service quality helps in identifying weak and strong areas as well as decreasing the gap between customers’ perceptions and expectations. It also indicates how well a service is provided from a customer’s perspective in order to allocate resources wisely, and to plan for services and needs.
One invaluable tool/phenomenon that companies in Pakistan can use is “Mystery Shopping”. Using the mystery shopping approach, the companies can monitor and gauge the quality of service provided at their network by recording the customer experience of the mystery shoppers.
Sometimes contemplated as troublemakers, sometimes as spies, others think of them as a force of improvement, Mystery Shoppers have largely induced businesses to focus on the quality of customer service by improving their daily doings. Such snapshotting quantifies customer service benchmarks as the watchdogs not only shop but they also compile a report, highlighting the good or bad aspects of the service at various touch points through the entire course of business dealing.
The underlying premise of mystery shopping is measurement: measurement to ensure consistency in achieving a specific level of performance, consistency in delivering a specific experience to the customer, consistency in compliance with company policies and procedural expectations.
Taking up mystery shopping initiative is what would pave the way for a definitive improvement of customer service standards. Customer’s feedback is not only important, but critical to success. Today, companies need more than just a good product or service to become successful. Based on mystery shopping survey results, companies are able to develop and deliver training programs that supports them in offering a customer experience better than the competitor. The more loyal the customers are, the better positioned company is to survive a downturn.