Back in mid-January, BDO released a report, written by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which looked into the impact of poor customer service on businesses worldwide.

The report, which surveyed more than 800 senior business leaders from around the world found that:

  • Nearly sixty percent of all firms admitted that customer service failings had had a clear and significant impact on financial performance
  • Some (15%) even went on to admit that customer service failings had hit their share price.
  • However, despite this, the report also found that more than a quarter of all firms admitted to having not invested in their customer service capabilities in the last 2 years.

When I read this I was a little confused and frustrated. Personally, I think that contact centres and customer service departments do one of the most important jobs in any organisation and it annoys me when I see data like this.

But, according to the survey, it seems that customer service issues are further down the pecking order than employee and other internal issues in nine out of ten organisations. This is despite the fact that 84% of the business leaders that were surveyed believing that customer service is ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ important to their financial performance.

As I dug a little deeper into the report, I found a couple of reasons why customer service is not getting the attention that, I believe, it merits. Those reasons are that:

  • Just over a third of all businesses surveyed don’t have a strategy linking service to financial performance; and
  • Only twenty eight percent of firms surveyed have a customer service representative on the board.

So, what to do to change the situation?

In the report, Jo Causon, Chief Executive of the Institute of Customer Service, advocates that “A genuinely aligned, joined-up organisation sees customer service as a key part of its strategy and integral for every aspect of the business.”

I agree with that. But, I’d like to see people in contact centres and customer service taking a more active role.

I mean, you may not be able to do much about getting representation on the board in the short-run. However, being at the heart of a business’ contact with it’s customers, I believe that you could take on the responsibility of developing the business strategy linking service to financial performance.

If you want more investment and for the business to recognise the important role you play in the overall business then you have two choices: One, wait for things to change; or Two, make something happen. If your board is not making the link between service and financial performance. Then, figure how to make the link for them.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Margaret Mead, a noted American cultural anthropologist and author in the 1960’s and 70’s, who said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Adrian SwinscoeAdrian Swinscoe
I have been growing and helping develop customer-focused large and small businesses for 20 years, in particular how they engage with their customers, build and develop their customer relationships and improve service.

My driving passion is helping create, develop and grow businesses that take care of their customers in the best way possible.

I’m a lover of simplicity and an advocate of the human touch with some really useful technology thrown in.

Do check out my blog at www.adrianswinscoe.com If you have any questions for me you can email me at adrian@adrianswinscoe.com or feel free to give me a call on 07971 608821.

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