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Poor Customer Service Costs Companies Billions

On the face of it, one of today's top headlines doesn't come as much of a shock to most of us.  Everyone has got a tale or two to tell about poor customer service and the anecdotes can sometimes seem funny: the waiter telling a customer "if you want faster service, bring your own sandwiches" or the call centre operative responding to a complaint with a burp.  But now the number crunchers at Tesco have put a figure on it: the less engaged customer spends on average around £23 per visit; the really engaged customer spends around £32.  Mmm. Nice uplift.  And why are they engaged?  Because a member of staff has added some sort of value in the form of problem solving, advice or general interaction.  Why has the staff member done this? Probably because they are themselves engaged with the company.

All too often staff and customer engagement is overlooked at the expense of delivering a ------------- (fill in the blank with margin/ratio/saving/target).  It's so short sighted when we are all in agreement with the general direction of travel because we are all ultimately consumers of some sort, whether in business or as individuals.  We all want good service.  Great service would be fantastic but sometimes even receiving good service can seem to be a bridge too far!

I'm just heading out to meet a client who is working hard to engage his customer and in turn, their customers.  We're looking at running a 2 month incentive programme which will culminate in an amazing trip abroad.  But engagement doesn't have to be incentive shaped.  It could be sharing the plans, forum-based, encouraging feedback, training, re-allocating staff to more suitable roles or teams.  Whatever it takes, staff and customer engagement leads to better customer service, better company performances and leaves all of us a lot happier.  Which, given the rain of late - I think we all deserve!

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