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Putting quality at the heart of your shared services: Top tips on improving customer service

PresentationSarah Feurey05.12.2012


As the world economic conditions change and spiral, can SSOs be as concerned about quality and service given the cost challenges?

At the 2012 Summit for Leaders in Shared Services Dan Foley, former Business Services Director at Premier Foods presented on customer service management in difficult economic conditions.

As the world economic conditions change and spiral, can SSOs be as concerned about quality and service given the cost challenges? Can customers expect the same service or are they now demanding even greater service levels than before?

Please find below the whole presentations and our key takeaways:

When under pressure to cut costs and juggling cost, quality and customer service, the customer service is often the first ball to drop. Dan explained why this is a mistake, and why when times are tough it’s essential to emphasize customer service. When winning new customers may be difficult, it’s essential you have opportunity to provide superior customer service.

He said in touch economic times, customers actually demandr more service and more value for money. Every deviation from normal standards will be scrutinized.
Excellent customer service will also enhance opportunity for more work when economy improves, and quality service can help to differentiate your business from your competition.

Here are five keys to customer service success:

1. Know your customer. You can’t service what you don’t know. Dan reconfirmed that customer Service is more than “mind reading”, you need to understand the drivers of satisfaction and invest in your customer requirements like the back of your hands. He suggested exercises like service listening groups or customer councils can help you step into the customer’s shoes.

2. Benchmark your services. When you baseline your current service levels will determine where you stand with your customers. Determine the "norm" for service in your industry find a way to go beyond it through an enhanced focus on process improvement. This will give you an understanding of how to review and revitalize your service standards / SLAs / OLAs.

3. Outperform Customer Expectations. Beyond just delivering on your SLA, if you seek means of responsive and "extra-mile service" that stands out in a unique way that customers will appreciate & remember the excellent service.

4. See complaints as an opportunity. Customers with complaints will point out where your system is faulty, or where procedures are weak or problematic. Complaints show you where your products are below expectations or your service doesn't measure up. These are the same insights and conclusions that people pay consultants to provide. A "complainer" gives them to you free!

5. Keep your team happy too. Controlling Employee Motivation/Commitment/Satisfaction as Employees are the extension of all SSO Customer Service efforts.  As SSO delivers on promise and creates a great Customer experience, customer confidence goes up transforming into customer loyalty

For more insight into how to improve customer service, attend our Summit for Leaders in Shared Services taking place 19th-21st March in London.

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dan foley, finance shared services, outsourcing, shared services, ssc, the european summit for leaders in shared services