Benchmarking your customer service

By Christopher Lyon,  NTEA Director of Fleet Relations

This article was published in the August 2019 edition of NTEA News.

Customer service is vital to continued business relationships in any industry. Although it would be ideal for companies to avoid mistakes entirely, they’re bound to happen. But having a customer service plan can often turn a mishap into a positive experience. As such, internal benchmarking may be beneficial to ensure your company is identifying and fulfilling important customer metrics.

Start by making history
If you’ve been conducting internal benchmarking, you’re well positioned to measure past growth and determine future potential. If such information isn’t available, start making history. Much like going lean with the Six Sigma approach, having historical data can put your company on the path to continuous improvement. It’s important to remember benchmarking metrics should be used for operational enhancement, rather than discipline or criticism.

Look at the metrics
Where should you begin? As with most businesses, decisions revolve around the bottom line. Consider cost-reduction opportunities, such as more efficient customer service which, along with sales, is a critical profit driver.

  • Customer wait time Nothing can be more frustrating than sitting on hold or waiting for an email. While you may not have an instant answer, acknowledging the customer bridges a personal connection.
  • Solution Addressing the solution with the end customer is more productive than focusing on the problem. The cause of the issue should not be forgotten, but unless the customer was ultimately responsible, it’s better to concentrate on the remedy.
  • Resolution time Customers want timely resolutions to their issues, as opposed to having to find an alternative provider. This is a key factor in maintaining positive business relationships.

Customers have valuable input
A popular motto is that the customer is always right — but they may also have meaningful insights. With ever-changing advancements in communication methods, understanding what customers want is important, as the follow-up can offer helpful information on their operations. Not touching base after the sale means you have no perspective on any of your service efforts. Without knowing customers’ ultimate experience, you could be at risk for losing buyers. It’s important to remember one negative experience can negate all of the positives tenfold.

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