The definition of customer service excellence, according to LateRooms.com

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As customers’ expectations continue to increase, no longer do they remain loyal to a brand that delivers an “OK” service offering.  In order to deliver above and beyond customer expectations, we need to understand just what it is our customers want from us.  The ability to stand out and make a lasting impression is vital in the changing and ever increasing competitive consumer climate.  It is therefore crucial that companies implement robust programmes that gives their customers a voice and allows the teams the opportunity to react and adapt accordingly. 

The launch of LateRooms.com’s “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) programme, introduced a significant cultural change as well as incorporating systems and process enhancement.  The programme places listening to our customers at the heart of the organisation which enables us to react and adapt faster to their changing needs.

The journey so far

Positive staff attitude, business knowledge and experience clearly have an effect in terms of the customer experience, operational efficiency and morale.

It is for that reason a range of initiatives to address morale and employee satisfaction are key to the successful service enhancement.

Supported by some technical implementation we made a decision to move away from traditional KPIs - (average handling time, conversion, room nights per booking and call quality scores) choosing instead to focus more on behaviours that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our traditional KPIs (whilst still monitored and collated in the background) have been replaced by more up to date measures such as Net Promoter score, Customer Effort, Customer Loyalty and First Contact resolution.

Using a role profiling exercise we have revisited current roles and split out responsibilities to create more variety and customer ownership. Staff are now matched to their personal skillset, ongoing training is provided by the dedicated contact centre L & D advisor.

By reviewing our rewards and recognition programmes, ownership has been given to them and they feel they are in complete control of their bonus earning potential.   Helping to embed the culture change, staff are rewarded for the quality of service they provide, not how many sales they make.

Have staff bought into this change?

As with any new initiative, regular reviews are imperative.  In review sessions held with staff, feedback has been very positive in the main.

Is all this really that new?

Discussions around the decision to remove standard KPIs at recent networking and award events suggests this is still a new phenomenon. Removing the comfort blanket of factual figures to measure performance is not a step to be taken lightly, nor can changes be expected overnight. 

We know that customer loyalty is built out of trust, whilst customer satisfaction and NPS are fast becoming key measures across many companies; few are taking the time to understand what their own customers expect from them as a service provider.

Using customer feedback to focus on improvements they themselves ask for, not what we as a business think our customers need to experience, the implementation of VOC saw our NPS increase from 50 to 62 in September 2013. 

Whats next?

Today, 85% of customers expect a seamless experience across all channels, with multi-channel customers spending on average between 30-50% more than a single channel customer, and 45% of consumers seeking advice from peers before purchasing.  Moving with the times, Service Excellence FY 14 will focus on delivering exceptional service every time across every channel and device.

Interested in customer service excellence? Read our Top 50 tips to achieving customer service excellence.

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