When three-year-old Lily Robinson wrote to staff at Sainsbury’s asking to rename their Tiger bread to Giraffe bread, she probably didn’t expect a reply from such a big firm.
But the customer service team who received Lily’s query about why their distinctive bread wasn’t named after giraffes, saw a valuable chance to engage and make a difference.
Manager Chris King took the time to write an enthusiastic response agreeing with Lily’s idea as well as providing background to the product and a gift voucher to spend in the store.
Lily’s letter and Sainsbury’s response went viral and the heart-warming exchange boosted staff morale as well as reminding staff and customers alike of how a small action can make someone’s day.
This ethos is the core of customer service training in business – that it’s the little things that count.
From taking the time to listen to customer suggestions to bosses giving staff the resources, training and praise to allow them to flourish in their role, getting the small things right will always benefit the bigger picture.
Today (Monday) marks the start of Customer Service Week, a chance to celebrate customer service teams across the UK and consider new ways to motivate staff and in turn benefit customers.
At REED we have a customer focussed way of working and are always looking to identify areas for improvement. Karen Pope, Head of Customer says: “Customer service starts from within. If you’re going to have happy customers, you must also offer a brilliant service to your own staff. This week is about making sure everyone in the company understands that they play an important role in the collective success of the business. Customer satisfaction is not only for those teams who have the word ‘customer’ as part of their job title – it’s everybody’s responsibility.”
Making a happy workforce
There is always room for improvement but to drive change, people need to feel valued and motivated. This is what Customer Service Week is all about – giving that recognition to staff.
This can be done through activities which not only raise the profile of the customer service strategy but also shine a spotlight on those people who are delivering an excellent service and going above and beyond.
It is also a chance to encourage non-customer facing staff to collaborate with customer service teams in a positive way, sharing experiences and advice across the board.
Those businesses that promote staff engagement will have a better chance at leading the way with their customer service.
Ultimately, happy staff mean happier customers and that positivity from both sides will only benefit the business.
At reed.co.uk our customers range from people applying for jobs and people looking for courses to businesses advertising for their next recruits.
We recognise each customer has a very different need and so we seek to tailor our approach to suit each individual that we work with.
We believe that internal staff collaboration is key to providing a quality service externally. It is essential to encourage collaboration and build an understanding from department to department and to take note of how information can be shared to benefit the whole company and give customers a better experience.
Listen and learn
Feedback is invaluable – listening to customers should be imperative and it is only through paying close attention to customer comments that businesses are really able to improve and grow. Criticism can sometimes be hard to swallow but ultimately taking the time to digest what has led the customer to that point is important.
In this spirit, I like to say to colleagues that a complaint is a gesture of friendship. This is because the customer is bothering to tell us what it is about our service that is troubling them which in turn means that we are being empowered to do something about it. I also like to remind people that it is our customers who pay our wages. We need our customers more than our customers need us.
So this week is officially Customer Service Week but in truth every week is customer service week. If it’s important to our customers, it must be important to us!