The customer service divide – what is going wrong?

Yesterday I experienced terrible customer service at the hands of a well known large company. I was bounced around six different departments (which included my hanging up and redialing, and not to freephone numbers). Different departments were quite rude about other departments, then myself. My query was never really successfully answered and as one customer service rep told me bluntly: “You are being fobbed off”. Great!

As a result of this I was left frustrated and angry but what saddens me most, is that I wasn’t surprised. Nowadays it seems that good service is the exception rather than the rule. When I do my shopping, be it online or otherwise I use a variety of retailers, both large companies and smaller, independent ones. Over time I have noticed that the levels of good customer service between these are widening. I rarely receive anything but excellent service from smaller retailers and on the odd occasion that there has been a problem, it is usually dealt with quickly, efficiently and pleasantly.

I have to wonder if more needs to be done with larger companies to narrow the divide. I know that the company I encountered yesterday have an extensive induction and training programme and that customer service is included heavily in this. What is going wrong? What can these companies do to pull their levels of customer service up? Do staff need to be monitored more carefully? Is this plausable, given the extra workload and expensive it would cause? I hate to see large companies written off / slated because of the actions of the few.

What is the answer? Do you agree that smaller businesses and services have much better service records than larger companies? Why do you think this is and what can be done in big businesses to bridge the gap?

Are you a business mum who would like £750 worth of design and print work?


 To celebrate the launch of SupportiveBusinessMums.co.uk  and Biz-Brand-Buzz! ,  Ces Loftus (known as @Ces_Creatively on Twitter) is giving away £750 worth of design and print. The print of business cards and flyers are being sponsored by Dorset Digital Print. Everyone who applies to #WIN will be given a fantastic free promotional feature on www.supportivebusinessmums.co.uk.

I am a huge fan of Ces’ and her work (one example being my website header!). I’ve spoken to Ces online many times but I didn’t realise until recently how and why she set her her new career. Ces is a mum of 3 from Poole. In May 2006 her 4th son was still born at full term and she has overcome adversity to make a successful new cyber career. Ces says…….

When my son died I almost died too. During the following few years I had several miscarriages, was grief stricken and went through a rough time on many levels as I lost my business, got into debt and felt like my life was collapsing around meHaving worked as a brand image designer in agencies across the UK during my fifteen year career before becoming self employed, I set my business back up from scratch with no budget or funding in 2008. Purely by being innovative, self marketing and creating a biz brand buzz online I have taken my business from struggling to flourishing and I want to help other multitasking mums to do the same!“.

A remarkable goal to set yourself in the face of the tragedy she faced but one she has not only met but far surpassed!

So, whether you have an existing business or a new venture you can choose any of the following #WIN : professionally designed logo, twitter page, facebook fan page, flyer design and print, business card design and print, website or blog design, banner design, ebooks, and more.

HOW TO ENTER:

Email Ces via ces@creativelyminded.co.uk and request an application form which will form the basis of a feature to promote your business on www.supportivebusinessmums.co.uk. All those who enter will be sent details of further opportunities to create a Buzz for your business through Biz Brand Buzz and Supportive Business Mums. Closing date for entries 22nd August 2011.

A great opportunity for someone starting out, looking to rebrand or someone needing an extra hand to get moving.

TOP 5 TIPS FOR COST EFFECTIVE BRANDING

1. Look at your branding from your ideal customer’s perspective. Do you stand out and give them good reasons to choose you?

2. Build credibility through a professional image, compelling content, savvy self promotion and great reviews. Make it easy for people to find and recognise your brand.

3. Be innovative and look for niche angles, collaborations and ways to promote yourself.

4. Maximise your potential to win business through your branded online presence with effective microsites, blogs, twitter usage and facebook fan pages.

5. Remember to engage. Great conversations lead to great opportunities. When people like you and your brand stands out in a positive way they will advocate your business.

Great advice! Don’t forget to visit Biz-Brand-Buzz to find out more about Ces, her work and the competition!

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