What you need to know:
- Customer experience has become very significant in recent times.
- Why are companies focused on customer experience and what happens to those that disregard it?
Business leaders spent most of last year unraveling the repercussions of Covid-19 scourge.
Companies across all sectors almost immediately went for online sales and services while maintaining physical stores with downscaled operations.
Leaner staff, shutdowns and strict procedures to comply with public health guidelines, further complicated the field.
Modifying operational model, retailers across the world were determining where to pivot so as to achieve revenue targets in the face of pandemic-driven shifts in both store operations and customer behaviour and expectations.
Customer experience has become very significant in recent times. Last year enforced a transformative stimulus on the consumer service industry. Liaison teams are having to do more with less, demanding customers notwithstanding.
With constraints on resources, companies had little choice but to metamorphosise urgently to deliver with successful interfaces and interactions.
Surveys reveal that over 90 percent of customer service organisations have reaffirmed that customer service is now more imperative than ever before. Although technology has enabled customer trailing history whilst analytics dissect client statistics to identify possible trends and actionable insights, are businesses attempting to meet customer expectations of service quality, timely response and experience?
Why are companies focused on customer experience and what happens to those that disregard it? Some firms tend to forget that customer delight is equally as important as the product itself, especially in physical stores during Covid times when interactions require advance planning. Waiting for prolonged durations in environments with varying social distancing norms due to lagging service can cause anxiety in consumers.
Clients stay loyal to companies due to the experience they receive. Recently, a leading internet service provider disconnected services erroneously citing nonpayment. The customer collected proof of payment which was already made and then spent a harrowing three days without connectivity while the company fumbled. To this day this the fiber optic company has not bothered to apologize leave alone compensate, in a highly competitive environment.
At some retail outlets, customers are having to wait for prolonged durations to be served due to the leisurely approach of the cashiers. How many companies stop to think that bad customer service begins with the dirty trolley that the customer picks when shopping?
The billing counter assistant who takes over an hour to generate a receipt for a customer who has taken less than 10 minutes to pick a refrigerator? Some branches of leading banks are manned by a single teller.
Liaison teams of most organizations are either overworked or complacent when it comes to addressing customer grievances with the focus being on closing tickets rather than resolution.
During these times when the economy is progressively tightening its belt, the income of the average household has taken a nosedive and businesses have downsized operations owing to a shortfall in customers.
In order to retain existing customers and ensure business survival, it is of fundamental importance to focus on customer service experience. Some key questions the companies must ask themselves include: How quick is our checkout times at the cashiers in store? How effective and timely are we with after sales service and response to client queries? Are the staff fully conversant with the ideals of the organisation, capable with product information and importantly, etiquette?
How are we faring in such times? Leading businesses across all industries have all reduced staff. As per data published by the National Treasury, Kenya Revenue Authority collected Sh152.62 billion in Pay as You Earn during the July-December 2020 period compared to 205.27 billion in the same period in the previous year.
Listed companies have reported payouts for retrenchment and this is not good news for the longevity of effective customer service. A deficiency that will lead a downward spiral into a vortex.
Ritesh Barot is a business and financial analyst, humanitarian, conservationist and occasional artist. firstname.lastname@example.org