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9 July 2015

The Rosemary Anne Price Research Award 2015

A little bit of a departure from the Customer Service theme for today's blog post, but I'm delighted to tell you about this year's Rosemary Anne Price Research Award recipients and their fascinating work in Multiple Sclerosis research.

What is the Rosemary Anne Price Research Award?

During my research degree, I had the benefit of gaining some scholarship funding to attend a conference in the US that helped me on the way to completing my PhD. I was generously supported by the Kathleen and Margery Elliot Scholarship Fund in Birmingham, UK.

My mother, Rosemary, died from Multiple Sclerosis in 1991. Inspired by my study experience, I set up a similar bursary award scheme in conjunction with the UK Multiple Sclerosis Society. The Rosemary Anne Price Research Award helps support two promising research students to attend the bi-annual MS Frontiers research conference.

13 June 2015

Human factors: how complaints psychology affects business performance

If you ask anyone in customer service what they love about their job, it’s not long before they’ll tell you “it’s about the people.”  Customer service is a people business and there’s no better area of customer service than complaints management if you want to experience the best (and the worst) aspects of human emotions.

For those involved in managing an organisation’s response to customer complaints, this raises some thought-provoking questions:
  • What is it that makes some people complain, whilst others do not?
  • How can we influence human behaviour and encourage people to make their complaints?
  • How do employees handle human emotions and does this affect our performance?
In business, results are so often measured by profitability, costs, efficiency statistics and process
performance. Can we really translate the day-to-day reality of dealing with human emotions into these kinds of business performance metrics?

26 March 2015

Employee attitude can create a stellar customer experience

One of the great things about commenting on customer service is the day you get to tell a story about the little things that, in reality, go to create a truly spectacular customer service experience.

Leading management author, Ken Blanchard, has written extensively [1] about how customer service employees make the difference in providing an exceptional customer experience.

Ken’s experiences tell us that satisfied customers aren’t enough – we should look to create experiences that make “raving fans” of our organisation.

Today, I’m a raving fan of Upper Hutt City Council in New Zealand for the simple, dedicated actions taken – well above and beyond the call of duty - by their website administrator, Maria. It’s a story that I think should be mandatory reading for every customer service advisor who works on an e-mail response team anywhere on the planet.

Proof positive, just like my previous article on FedEx, how simple, thoughtful and committed belief from one customer-facing employee creates a genuinely exceptional customer experience enhancing an organisation’s brand.

6 March 2015

Raising the standard for complaints - what's new in ISO 10002:2014?

"Standards, Jason; standards.”  That phrase is permanently emblazoned in my sub-conscious thanks to my mother and I’ll wager there’s a fair few readers out there with similar parental advice at the forefront of their mind now that I’ve mentioned it.

From the day we’re old enough to understand that a knife and fork aren’t for decoration on the dinner table, we’re taught the difference that setting and achieving high standards makes in all aspects of life.

Granted, if you suffer from the same mildly obsessive-compulsive twitch as I do when faced with an incorrectly placed apostrophe, this can sometimes seem like more of a curse than a blessing.

However, in business – and especially in customer service – standards mean everything. We’re always hearing about the latest in ‘best practice’ and I’ve never been to a corporate event that featured “Striving for mediocrity” as a motivational slogan.

So how do standards – and in particular the newly revised International Standard for Complaints Management, ISO 10002 - help those responsible for delivering excellence in customer service?

29 January 2015

Improving service performance : Why complaints hold the key

It’s not breaking news to say that managers responsible for customer service are busy people with quite a lot on their plate. Managing day-to-day service performance in the dynamic, real-time world of customer contact can test the skills of both experienced hands and those new to service leadership.

This is before you’ve even opened your in-box to see the latest LinkedIn article on 5 steps to a better customer experience or answered that invitation from your boss to next week’s leadership strategy day on ‘doing more with less’. Sometimes, it’s not clear exactly where to start with service improvement.

Maybe that article in your reading list about eating elephants?  Or was it the one about getting ducks in a row? Instead, why not take a look at some practical steps to achieving service improvement results and see why complaints fit so well into the picture.