Today’s blog post is from David Saul, Managing Director of Business Environment, one of the many Office Companies that we work with. National Customer Service Week prompts David Saul to examine the importance of customer service for the office industry. Please leave any comments at the bottom after reading………
It’s National Customer Service Week, which cynics might dismiss as a sign that there’s now a ‘week’ for everything, but which actually is an appropriate level of recognition for what is the foundation of successful business.
Across almost every business in every sector, excellent customer service is key to gaining and retaining custom, and this is particularly the case within the serviced office industry.
For office companies, customer service plays a key role in our customers’ success, enabling them to meet the needs of their clients.
Whether in the form of responding promptly to power cuts or IT issues, or just helping to create a professional atmosphere, in which a friendly front-of-house team greets guests ahead of meetings, an office provider strengthens its own business and its customers’ through its service.
It was in recognition of how vital the provision of high-level service is to the office sector that Business Environment created the industry’s first Service Excellence Guarantee (SEG) – a document outlining what clients could expect, containing exact and specific benchmarks agreed upon after extensive customer consultation.
To ensure this wasn’t merely a document that existed on paper but did little in practice, we’ve sought to integrate it into our business as much as possible, with our employee reviews changed so that staff are judged against SEG criteria, while a quarterly customer survey asks tenants how Business Environment has performed against specific Service Excellence Guarantee points.
We’re also proud of the results we’ve gained, with our customer retention rate increasing from 2.03 years to 2.33 years since the creation of the SEG – while the industry average is just eight months.
Of course, creating a document isn’t the only way to boost customer service – perhaps the most important first step is being prepared to listen to customers and conducting regular surveys to gain insight into how successfully you are meeting customer needs, the areas in which you could improve and what you could do differently.
Investment in staff training can also play an important role in equipping employees with the skills they need to deliver an exceptional service and meet customers’ requirements.
Key to any attempt to improve customer service is an emphasis on sustaining any improvements – a short blitz that boosts service levels momentarily before they tail off achieves little for customers.
While National Customer Service Week is only five-days long, office companies must commit to providing excellent service year-round to ensure their and their customers’ success.