Creating an emotional connection with customers – by Mike Harfield
Last month, the Institute of Customer Service released its latest and eagerly-awaited UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) report.
Published twice a year, the UKCSI is a trusted and independent benchmark of customer satisfaction levels across hundreds of businesses and over a dozen industries. With a consistent set of measures, the UKCSI is essentially the country’s barometer of customer experience, needs and attitudes.
I read the most recent report and its recommendations with great interest.
The report included a section which covered the successes of the highest performing organisations and how good service keeps customers loyal in an era of price sensitivity.
In essence, what it highlighted was that the best organisations don’t just get things right around complaint handling and price points, but they also meet the level of emotional connection and trust which customers are now demanding.
The report, perhaps obviously, went on to state that businesses with higher satisfaction levels are keeping their promises and making their customers feel reassured.
In the customer service sector, these are the types of issues so many businesses are striving to achieve, with more and more looking for external support to help them get there, and stay there.
Be prepared to do things differently
This brief blog is all about highlighting the types of different options available to organisations to improve their customer service – and which may address the gaps highlighted by January’s UKCSI report.
The UKCSI highlights a slight decline of average customer satisfaction by 0.7 points. Jo Causon, the CEO of the Institute, is right to be concerned about the deeper issues this may point to.
The human connection, she rightly says, is something businesses should be concerned with, especially as there is evidence all around us that levels of financial wellbeing due to the cost-of-living crisis have plummeted, meaning people want and need interaction with someone who is knowledgeable, but also caring.
The report concludes with several recommendations, including around the need for organisations to build a culture of service excellence and demonstrate not only a strong strategy, but a clear purpose around engaging with customers effectively. To do that I believe businesses need to be prepared to do things differently. To be successful they need to challenge their normal approach including different operating models and a serious consideration of different customer service locations. It could be a game changer.
Offshoring – the real value
The UKCSI report states that customers would pay up to one third more for guaranteed good service. which in the current economic climate. is quite eye-opening. However, it does not need to cost a business more to deliver that service.
Every day we are talking to existing and potential clients about the best and most cost-effective ways to hit that customer service sweet spot, and close the gap to find those sought-after emotional connections.
One of the subjects we often turn to is the additional benefits that offshoring to our expert team in Cape Town can deliver. South Africa is well-known as a viable offshoring destination due to the cost savings it can deliver but not many organisations are aware of the high availability of quality people who deliver exactly what the UKCSI report says businesses should be aiming for – lasting and meaningful emotional connections.
When offshoring is examined, it often spurns a conversation about customer experience. As we have said many times before, we really enjoy challenging that thinking as we have found in champion challenger situations that our offshore teams can deliver the same or better customer service than inhouse teams. That is achieved with significant cost savings.
Put that value together with a time zone which almost mirrors the UK, South Africa is a strong proposition offering human interaction, professionalism and trust – all clear benefits the UKCSI report highlights in terms of what good looks like.