At Aspire Cambridge, we know that one of the most important things for your business is the customer, which is why we ensure that we are always ‘Placing People First’. But how do you deliver an excellent customer service experience for these increasingly important customers?
Customer service excellence is an important means to differentiate yourself from other businesses within increasingly competitive industries. Are you providing the best service possible to your clients and customers? How do you know? As they raise their expectations, will you keep pace?
Firstly, there are some important points to think about when talking of customer service:
- Customer experience is about how clients and candidates think and feel about your service.
- The recruitment industry is increasingly competitive. Getting customer experience right is an important way to differentiate your business from your competitors.
- Evidence shows that improvements in customer experience improve financial performance and employee discretionary effort.
- Only half of all HR decision-makers (47%) who have used a recruitment agency have been asked to provide feedback on the services a recruitment agency provides.
Customer experience is now central to business performance and management objectives. But part of the challenge of understanding the customer experience and what it means for your business is the breadth of the concept. The customer experience encompasses more than the transactional purchase of a good or service, but also includes ‘every aspect of a company’s offering – the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use and reliability.
The evidence shows that getting the customer experience right improves outcomes across tangible commercial metrics such as financial performance and employee engagement. But customer experience is about more than that; it is understanding the emotions and values of your customers, which is more intangible.
With this, we need to ask ourselves some key questions:
- Are you able to articulate the importance of customer experience for your business?
- Is the customer experience a priority for your top team?
- How does your understanding of customer experience tie in with the wider business objectives and goals?
- Does your business have a current working definition of the customer experience?
- Does your definition of the customer experience take account of all the stakeholders that you work with?
- Are you thinking about the customer experience at specific touchpoints or across the whole journey?
To answer these questions, and to ensure you deliver customer service excellence, we have devised some top action point to follow:
- Work with your top team to make the case for focusing on the customer experience.
- Be clear who the lead for this work is. Having lines of accountability will help maintain momentum and ensure that key milestones for the activities are met.
- At this stage you are preparing the groundwork and scoping out different definitions, so it is useful to talk to different people within your business and use a range of sources.
- Develop a shared understanding of what customer experience is with your top team. Have you done your research?
- Start to map the customer journey for your clients and for your candidates. Identify the journey of the client, including the key touchpoints as well
as how they think and feel at different points of the journey.
- Collate the data that measures your business goals and objectives. This will help you track and link improvements in meeting your objectives to improvements in customer experience. This will also help you understand what measures you have in place and where the gaps are.
- Have a clear idea of what resources are available to allocate to this work. This will inform what activities you can realistically put in place, and how much time you can commit to customer experience.
- Ensure that you have included a range of soft and hard metrics in your basket of indicators. Hard indicators are usually easier to measure, so revisit your metrics to ensure that you have also included soft measures, for example, employee attitudes and customer satisfaction.
- Be realistic about your business’s appetite for innovation. If your organisation tends to need evidence before embarking on new projects, build in time to collect the evidence to make your case.
For some organisations, customer service is integral to their business model; they continuously seek ways of differentiating themselves through service, track the return on investment and measure across the whole experience. Others see customer service as a lever of business performance and have a requirement for investment in service to be clearly articulated in terms of the return and competitive positioning.
Once you have answered your key questions and implemented the action points needed for your business, you need to develop a plan, using the following questions:
- Do the cultural and business practices in your business reflect the vision of your customer experience?
- Are you attracting the right employees? Is your vision of the customer experience embedded within the interview, induction and training activities of your business?
- Do your consultants and managers have a firm grasp of your client’s brand and business objectives?
- Do your consultants and managers avoid sending out speculative CVs and cold-calling clients?
- Do you know your client’s hiring business priorities, for example, are they focusing on diversity or thinking of encouraging more flexible work practices?
If you want to ensure that your employees are dedicated to Placing People First, and ensuring the best experience for your customers, give our team of HR and Recruitment professionals a call.
Headquartered in Cambridge with regional presence in Kettering and Milton Keynes, Aspire Cambridge provide cost effective Recruitment and HR solutions to an impressive portfolio of customers spanning the UK and Europe. Working with a diverse collection of industries from start-ups to blue chip companies covering a vast range of sectors. Aspire Cambridge has an unrivalled knowledge of the jobs marketplace so it’s no wonder that they hold an impressive track record of exceeding client and candidate expectations.
How do they do it? By “Placing People First”.
Contact Aspire Cambridge:
01223 855440 | Cambridge
01536 295460 | Kettering
01908 926610 | Milton Keynes