Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 40

A Minor Project On

“CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”

Submitted By
PRIYANKA VERMA
(0052101707)

Under The Guidance Of


 ANSHIKHA RAJVANSHI 

(In The Partial Fulfillment Of BBA Degree)

IDEAL INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY


(G. G. S. INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY, DELHI)

1
PREFACE
Initial in the one module of the project, which is allotted to me,
“CUSTOMER SATISFACTION” is covered in this project report.

The report contains very nice and well arranged topics related to the
subject “CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”. The main contents of this project
describes that ‘How to handle Complaint from the customer’, ’customer
loyalty’, ‘measurement of customer satisfaction’ and many other topics
which is countable in the “CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”.

The project report also contains a description to satisfy the angry


customer and what are the problems faced during satisfying the angry
customer also what are the profit to satisfy an angry customer.

This project also contains a case study and a survey report.

Overall this report may work like a guide for the subject
“CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”.
Priyanka Verma

2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Perseverance, inspiration and motivation have always played a key role in


the success of any venture. Working on this project was a challenge and
made us a bit filtery in the beginning.

At this level of understanding, it is often difficult to understand a wide


spectrum of knowledge without proper guidance and advice .hence, we take
this opportunity to express our heart felt gratitude to MR. XXXXXXXXX,
for his round o’clock enthusiastic support and commentaries which made
this project successful, we are thankful to him for making impossible look
easy for us.

We also extend our sincere gratitude to MR. XXXXXXXXXXX, for


his inspiration, encouragement and for the impetus obtained throughout the
course of our project.
Finally, we would to like to thanks XXXXXXXXXXX and all of
XXXXXXXXXXXXX department, for their motivation and encouragement
throughout our endeavor.

3
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

"Working with Wipro across service lines we have optimized our in-house
resources. This helped us focus on strategy, commercial sourcing and
contract management."

Carole A. Connolly
IS Programme Director
National Grid

4
INDEX

1. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

2. BASICS

3. WHAT IS THE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION MODEL? DESCRIPTION

a. Origin of the customer satisfaction model. History

b. Usage of the customer satisfaction model. Applications

c. Steps in the customer satisfaction model. Process

d. Customer Expectations

e. The Canon Production System (CPS) is about:

4. CUSTOMER LOYALTY

a. Strategize And Plan For Loyalty!

b. Market To Your Own Customers!

c. Use Complaints To Build Business!

d. Reach Out To Your Customers!

e. Loyal Customers and Loyal Workforces

5. Customer Complains

a. Why Tackle Customer Complaints?

b. Customer Complaints Create Profit

i. Individual Employees

ii. The Company

iii. The Customer

iv. Summary

6. MEASURING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

5
7. METHODOLOGIES

8. PRODUCT AND SERVICE MANAGEMENT

a. (recurring activities to manage a product or service)

i. Basic Guidelines for Nonprofit Program Design and Marketing

ii. Basics Introduction to Product Management

iii. To Broaden Your Perspective on Product Management

iv. Sources of Ideas

v. Protecting Your Ideas

9. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN 7 STEPS

a. Encourage Face-to-Face Dealings

b. Respond to Messages Promptly & Keep Your Clients Informed

c. Be Friendly and Approachable

d. Have a Clearly-Defined Customer Service Policy

e. Attention to Detail (also known as 'The Little Niceties')

f. Anticipate Your Client's Needs & Go Out Of Your Way to Help Them
Out

g. Honour Your Promises

h. Conclusion

10. CASE STUDY:

a. Earnhardt Auto Centers Arizona

i. Retaining the Right Employees Results in Higher Customer


Satisfaction Ratings

ii. The Challenge:

iii. The Process:

iv. The Results:

6
11. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN THE CHANGING GLOBAL ECONOMY

a. Accenture 2007 Global Customer Satisfaction Survey

b. Executive Summary

c. ORIGINAL SURVEY REPORT BY ACCENTURE

i. Summary

ii. Accenture helps organizations find their most intelligent,


efficient path to customer centricity

iii. Behind the Research: How the World Is Changing

iv. Key Survey Findings

v. Undifferentiated service means lost business

vi. Our Perspective

d. About Accenture

7
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Customer satisfaction, a business term, is a measure of how products and


services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. It is seen as a
key performance indicator within business and is part of the four perspectives of a
Balanced Scorecard.

In a competitive marketplace where businesses compete for customers, customer


satisfaction is seen as a key differentiator and increasingly has become a key element
of business strategy.

There is a substantial body of empirical literature that establishes the benefits of


customer satisfaction for firms.

8
BASICS
Basically, you might look at marketing as the wide range of activities involved in
making sure that you're continuing to meet the needs of your customers and are getting
value in return. Marketing analysis includes finding out what groups of potential
customers (or markets) exist, what groups of customers you prefer to serve (target
markets), what their needs are, what products or services you might develop to meet their
needs, how the customers might prefer to use the products and services, what your
competitors are doing, what pricing you should use and how you should distribute
products and services to your target markets. Various methods of market research are
used to find out information about markets, target markets and their needs, competitors,
etc. Marketing also includes ongoing promotions, which can include advertising, public
relations, sales and customer service.

9
WHAT IS THE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION MODEL?
DESCRIPTION

The customer satisfaction model from N. Kano is a quality management and


marketing technique that can be used for measuring client happiness.

Kano's model of customer satisfaction distinguishes six categories of quality


attributes, from which the first three actually influence customer satisfaction:

1. Basic Factors. (Dissatisfiers. Must have.) - The minimum requirements which will
cause dissatisfaction if they are not fulfilled, but do not cause customer satisfaction
if they are fulfilled (or are exceeded). The customer regards these as prerequisites
and takes these for granted. Basic factors establish a market entry 'threshold'.

2. Excitement Factors. (Satisfiers. Attractive.) - The factors that increase customer


satisfaction if delivered but do not cause dissatisfaction if they are not delivered.
These factors surprise the customer and generate 'delight'. Using these factors, a
company can really distinguish itself from its competitors in a positive way.

3. Performance Factors. The factors that cause satisfaction if the performance is


high, and they cause dissatisfaction if the performance is low. Here, the attribute
performance-overall satisfaction is linear and symmetric. Typically these factors
are directly connected to customers' explicit needs and desires and a company
should try to be competitive here.

The additional three attributes which Kano mentions are:

4. Indifferent attributes. The customer does not care about this feature.

5. Questionable attributes. It is unclear whether this attribute is expected by the


customer.

6. Reverse attributes. The reverse of this product feature was expected by the
customer.

10
Origin of the customer satisfaction model. History

The approach towards analyzing customer satisfaction was first published in an


article by KANO, N. SERAKU, N., TAKAHASHI, F. & TSUJI, S. (1984) Attractive
quality and must-be quality, Hinshitsu (Quality, the Journal of Japanese Society for
Quality Control), 14, pp. 39-48.

Usage of the customer satisfaction model. Applications

Besides the obvious quality management and marketing usage, Kurt Matzler,
Matthias Fuchs and Astrid Schubert wonder in their article "Employee Satisfaction:
Does Kano's Model Apply?" (Total Quality Management & Business Excellence,
November-December 2004) whether Kano's model on customer satisfaction factors is
also relevant to describe employee satisfaction. Since employees can be perceived as
internal customers. They reach the conclusion that Kano's theory is indeed useable for
internal customers analysis as well.

Steps in the customer satisfaction model. Process

Kano developed a questionnaire to identify the basic, performance and


excitement factors as well as the other three additional factors.

1. For each product feature a pair of questions is formulated to which the customer
can answer in one of five different ways.

2. The first question concerns the reaction of the customer if the product shows that
feature (functional question);

3. The second question concerns the reaction of the customer if the product does
NOT show this feature (dysfunctional question).

4. By combining the answers all attributes can be classified into the six factors.

11
Customer Expectations
Customer is defined as anyone who receives that which is produced by the
individual or organization that has value. Customer expectations are continuously
increasing. Brand loyalty is a thing of the past. Customers seek out products and
producers that are best able to satisfy their requirements. A product does not need to be
rated highest by customers on all dimensions, only on those they think are important.
• Customer-driven strategy for improvement – any management activity should
eventually lead to increased customer satisfaction...

The Canon Production System (CPS) is about:


1. Environmentally-conscious manufacturing and logistics
2. Quality-oriented methods
3. Lower costs
4. Shorter deadlines
5. ... All aim for maximum customer satisfaction...

12
CUSTOMER LOYALTY
"It takes a lot less money to increase your retention of current customers than to
find new ones-but I know I don't give it as much effort as I should because it does take a
lot of energy and effort!"

Strategize And Plan For Loyalty!

Do we even have a specific plan for building customer loyalty?


We bet ourselves haven't given it as much thought as we should- because to tell
the truth we need to give it more effort also.
If we currently retain 70 percent of our customers and we start a program to
improve that to 80 percent, we'll add an additional 10 percent to our growth rate.
Particularly because of the high cost of landing new customers versus the high
profitability of a loyal customer base, you might want to reflect upon your current
business strategy.
These four factors will greatly affect your ability to build a loyal customer base:
1. Products that are highly differentiated from those of the competition.
2. Higher-end products where price is not the primary buying factor.
3. Products with a high service component.

13
4. Multiple products for the same customer.

Market To Your Own Customers!


Giving a lot of thought to your marketing programs aimed at current customers is one
aspect of building customer loyalty.
When you buy a new car, many dealers will within minutes try to sell you an
extended warranty, an alarm system, and maybe rustproofing. It's often a very easy sale
and costs the dealer almost nothing to make. Are there additional products or services you
can sell your customers?
Three years ago my house was painted, and it's now due for another coat. Why
hasn't the painter called or at least sent a card? It would be a lot less expensive than
getting new customers through his newspaper ad, and since I was happy with his work I
won't get four competing bids this time. Keep all the information you can on your
customers and don't hesitate to ask for the next sale.

Use Complaints To Build Business!


When customers aren't happy with your business they usually won't complain to you -
instead, they'll probably complain to just about everyone else they know - and take their
business to your competition next time. That's why an increasing number of businesses
are making follow-up calls or mailing satisfaction questionnaires after the sale is made.
They find that if they promptly follow up and resolve a customer's complaint, the
customer might be even more likely to do business than the average customer who didn't
have a complaint.
In many business situations, the customer will have many more interactions after
the sale with technical, service, or customer support people than they did with the sales
people. So if you're serious about retaining customers or getting referrals, these
interactions are the ones that are really going to matter. They really should be handled
with the same attention and focus that sales calls get because in a way they are sales calls
for repeat business.

14
Reach Out To Your Customers!
Contact . . . contact . . . contact with current customers is a good way to build their
loyalty. The more the customer sees someone from your firm, the more likely you'll get
the next order. Send Christmas cards, see them at trade shows, stop by to make sure
everything's okay.
Send a simple newsletter to your customers-tell them about the great things that
are happening at your firm and include some useful information for them. Send them
copies of any media clippings about your firm. Invite them to free seminars. The more
they know about you, the more they see you as someone out to help them, the more they
know about your accomplishments-the more loyal a customer they will be.

Loyal Customers and Loyal Workforces


Building customer loyalty will be a lot easier if you have a loyal workforce-not at all a
given these days. It is especially important for you to retain those employees who interact
with customers such as sales people, technical support, and customer-service people.
Many companies give a lot of attention to retaining sales people but little to support
people. I've been fortunate to have the same great people in customer service for years-
and the compliments from customers make it clear that they really appreciate specific
people in our service function.
The increasing trend today is to send customer-service and technical-support calls
into queue for the next available person. This builds no personal loyalty and probably less
loyalty for the firm. Before you go this route, be sure this is what your customers prefer.
Otherwise I'd assign a specific support person to every significant customer.
One last thing-don't tell your customers your 800 line phone number is for orders only!

15
CUSTOMER COMPLAINS
Why Tackle Customer Complaints?
Companies find that effectively handling customers with problems is critical to
their reputations as well as their bottom lines. When customers complain and they are
satisfied with the way their complaint is handled, they are more likely to purchase
another product or service from the same company. Companies that resolve complaints
on the first contact increase customer satisfaction and product loyalty, improve employee
satisfaction, and reduce costs. Companies even encourage complaints. Most dissatisfied
customers do not complain. By making it easy for customers to complain, more
customers will come to you with their problems, giving you greater opportunity to correct
your service delivery or production processes. Customers who get their problems
satisfactorily and quickly solved tell their friends and neighbors, and they are not easily
won over by the competition.
There is a bottom-line concern for government as well. As noted above,
complaints can be costly. Repeated hand-offs increase costs and waste precious resources.
When complaints are not promptly resolved, frustrated customers seek redress in
different agencies or at different parts or levels of the same agency, resulting in duplicate
effort and compounding costs.
Just as costs compound when there is a poor complaint system, trust also erodes
as citizens become frustrated with a non-responsive bureaucracy. Indeed, there has been a
cumulative erosion of public confidence in government. Thirty years ago, 70 percent of
Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing most of the time. In 1993,
only 17 percent of Americans said that they trusted the government.(2) There are many
factors contributing to this decline in trust and confidence, particularly the huge volume
of regulations that did not make sense to the public and the high cost of government.
However, we learned from our benchmarking partners that an effective approach to
resolving complaints is invaluable in winning the trust and loyalty of our customers--the
public.

There are costs associated with a poor complaint system and there are benefits
associated with a good one. Studies have shown that handling customer complaints well

16
can be a critical part of a turnaround strategy. If a complaint is handled well, it sustains
and strengthens customer loyalty and the company's image as a leader. It also tells the
customer that the company cares and can improve because of their contact. In
government agencies, it promotes public confidence in government services.
Customer complaints also represent valuable information about recurrent
problems. They can point the way to understanding the root causes of customer problems
and help an organization target core processes that need improvement. If acted upon to
improve core processes, customer complaints can be a source of information that can
reduce costs as well as improve services.

17
Customer Complaints Create Profit

Customer complaints are like medicine. Nobody likes them, but they make us
better. Actually, they are probably more like preventative medicine because they
provide advanced warning about problems. Financial statements, in contrast, provide
a historical perspective. By the time problems manifest in the financial statements,
forget the medicine. It’s time for emergency surgery.

Studies from the Technical Assistance Research Program* in Arlington, VA


suggest that the root cause of customer complaints can be traced back to one of three
areas: individual employees, the company, or the customer, with 80% of complaints
traceable to the last two categories. By listening carefully, we can identify
opportunities for training employees, improving products and services, and educating
customers.

Individual Employees

Business is becoming increasingly complex and fast-paced. Customer service


professionals have to know their product or service, their company information, the
technology that supports it, and how to communicate all of this to savvy, demanding
customers. Even a small gap in knowledge or skill could cause huge repercussions in
terms of lost business.

When I first started my seminar business, I received a few complaints about my


individual skills as a speaker. Some customers complained that they didn’t like my
Philadelphia accent, my hairstyle, the way I moved around the room, or the pace of
my delivery. After I cried for a few hours, I decided to invest in voice lessons, an
image consultant, and a video camera. These have been some of the best investments
I have ever made. I never want to get in the way of my own success. Companies
should not let their employees’ lack of knowledge or skill get in the way of their
success.

18
The Company

More often, the culprit is the actual product or service we provide. There may
be an inherent flaw in the design. There could be a glitch in the distribution channel
that causes dissatisfaction. Even if everything is perfect, marketing pieces, advertising
campaigns, and salespeople could inflate value and create customer expectations that
are impossible to satisfy.

Recently, I was providing a service that involved a series of facilitated sessions. I


allowed the customer to choose the dates of our sessions. Even though there were
very few sessions, they occurred over a long period of time and the customer
complained that the project took too long to complete. I made reparations to the client
and decided to restructure the service and the pricing so that in the future I would
control the timing of sessions. Now sessions always happen over a shorter period of
time and the service has a higher value and is more profitable. I have fixed the
delivery process of my service.

The Customer

As many of us have always suspected, customers actually cause most of the


problems they complain about. It’s not our fault. It’s not our employees’ fault. It’s
the customer’s fault. Yet even here there is profit to be mined. Customer education
and innovation are the possible solutions.

I always send out a preprogram questionnaire to customers in order to tailor their


seminars. If customers have email, I send the questionnaire via email. Recently, I had
a customer who did not know how to return the email questionnaire to me with
responses filled in. I sent back brief instructions on how to work the email, which
could be classified here as customer education.

Afterwards, I started wondering if there could be a better, easier, cleaner way to


collect information, in other words, innovate. From that complaint, I decided to create
hidden web pages on my website, customized to each customer with their company
logo and questionnaire. Customers just click a link from an email, type their

19
responses into a form on the web page that appears, and hit a submit button. This
approach is much simpler and more impressive. I do this with all of my customers
now and advertise it in my marketing.

Summary

Customer complaints are never easy to hear. If we shift from being defensive to
opportunistic, complaints can be our best friend. If we do not listen, rest assured, the
financial statement will communicate the news eventually.

20
MEASURING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

Organizations are increasingly interested in retaining existing customers while


targeting non-customers;[2] measuring customer satisfaction provides an indication of
how successful the organization is at providing products and/or services to the
marketplace.

Customer satisfaction is an ambiguous and abstract concept and the actual


manifestation of the state of satisfaction will vary from person to person and
product/service to product/service. The state of satisfaction depends on a number of
both psychological and physical variables which correlate with satisfaction behaviors
such as return and recommend rate. The level of satisfaction can also vary depending
on other options the customer may have and other products against which the
customer can compare the organization's products.

Because satisfaction is basically a psychological state, care should be taken in


the effort of quantitative measurement, although a large quantity of research in this
area has recently been developed. Work done by Berry, Brodeur between 1990 and
1998[3] defined ten 'Quality Values' which influence satisfaction behavior, further
expanded by Berry in 2002 and known as the ten domains of satisfaction. These ten
domains of satisfaction include: Quality, Value, Timeliness, Efficiency, Ease of
Access, Environment, Inter-departmental Teamwork, Front line Service Behaviors,
Commitment to the Customer and Innovation. These factors are emphasized for
continuous improvement and organizational change measurement and are most often
utilized to develop the architecture for satisfaction measurement as an integrated
model. Work done by Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry between 1985 and 1988
provides the basis for the measurement of customer satisfaction with a service by
using the gap between the customer's expectation of performance and their perceived
experience of performance. This provides the measurer with a satisfaction "gap" which
is objective and quantitative in nature. Work done by Cronin and Taylor propose the
"confirmation/disconfirmation" theory of combining the "gap" described by
Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry as two different measures (perception and
expectation of performance) into a single measurement of performance according to

21
expectation. According to Garbrand, customer satisfaction equals perception of
performance divided by expectation of performance.
[4]
The usual measures of customer satisfaction involve a survey with a set of
statements using a Likert Technique or scale. The customer is asked to evaluate each
statement and in term of their perception and expectation of performance of the
organization being measured.

22
METHODOLOGIES

The University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is


the scientific standard of customer satisfaction. Academic research has shown that the
national ACSI score is a strong predictor of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth,
and an even stronger predictor of Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) growth.
On the microeconomic level, research has shown that ACSI data predicts stock market
performance, both for market indices and for individually traded companies.
Increasing ACSI scores has been shown to predict loyalty, word-of-mouth
recommendations, and purchase behavior. The ACSI measures customer satisfaction
annually for more than 200 companies in 43 industries and 10 economic sectors. In
addition to quarterly reports, the ACSI methodology can be applied to private sector
companies and government agencies in order to improve loyalty and purchase intent.
Two companies have been licensed to apply the methodology of the ACSI for both the
private and public sector: CFI Group, Inc.applies the methodology of the ACSI offline,
and Foresee Results applies the ACSI to websites and other online initiatives.

The Net PromoterR score is a management tool that can be used to gauge the
loyalty of a firm's customer relationships. It serves as an alternative to traditional
customer satisfaction research. Companies obtain their Net Promoter Score by asking
customers a single question (usually, "How likely is it that you would recommend us
to a friend or colleague?"). Based on their responses, customers can be categorized
into one of three groups: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. In the net promoter
framework, Promoters are viewed as valuable assets that drive profitable growth
because of their repeat/increased purchases, longevity and referrals, while Detractors
are seen as liabilities that destroy profitable growth because of their complaints,
reduced purchases/defection and negative word-of-mouth. Companies calculate their
Net Promote Score by subtracting their % Detractors from their % Promoters.

The Kano model is a theory of product development and customer satisfaction


developed in the 1980's by Professor Noriaki Kano that classifies customer
preferences into five categories: Attractive, One-Dimensional, Must-Be, Indifferent,
Reverse. The Kano model offers some insight into the product attributes which are

23
perceived to be important to customers. Kano also produced a methodology for
mapping consumer responses to questionnaires onto his model.

SERVQUAL or RATER is a service-quality framework that has been


incorporated into customer-satisfaction surveys (e.g., the revised Norwegian Customer
Satisfaction Barometer) to indicate the gap between customer expectations and
experience.

J.D. Power and Associates is another measure of customer satisfaction, known


for its top-box approach and automotive industry rankings. J.D. Power and Associates'
marketing research consists primarily of consumer surveys and is publicly known for
the value of its product awards.

Other research and consulting firms have customer satisfaction solutions as well.
These include A.T. Kearney's Customer Satisfaction Audit process, which incorporates
the Stages of Excellence framework and which helps define a company’s status
against eight critically identified dimensions.

24
PRODUCT AND SERVICE MANAGEMENT
(recurring activities to manage a product or service)
Product (or service) management includes a wide range of management activities,
ranging from the time that there's a new idea for a product to eventually providing
ongoing support to customers who have purchased the new product. Every organization
conducts product management, whether it's done intentionally or unintentionally.
This module provides a wide overview of considerations in developing and
managing a product. How a product is developed or managed is depends very much on
the nature of the organization and its products, for example, retail, manufacturing,
wholesale, etc. Note that different people might even have different categorizations for
the activities described below.
NOTE: Nonprofit organizations often provide services in the form of "programs", rather
than "products" -- although the services from the programs are certainly "products" to
groups of clients.

Basic Guidelines for Nonprofit Program Design and Marketing

Basics Introduction to Product Management


Businesses can generate revenue from selling more of the current products to
more of the current customers (customer maximization), more of the current products to
new customers (customer development), new products to current customers (product
development), or new products to new customers (diversification).

To Broaden Your Perspective on Product Management


Many of the activities in product management are also activities in the overall
process of marketing.

Basics of Marketing (from idea to evaluating to developing to producing)

Life Cycle Planning (everything has a life cycle, including products)

25
• Broaden Your Perspective Even More?( Or If You Need an Investor or Funder)

Sources of Ideas
At this stage, someone has an idea for a new product or service. Ideas can come
from many sources, for example:

1. Complaints from current customers


2. Requests for Proposals from large businesses, government agencies, etc.
3. Modifications to current products
4. Suggestions from employees, customers, suppliers, etc.

Protecting Your Ideas

It's likely that someone else will think your idea is a good one, too! Therefore, it's
important to protect your idea as much as possible, for example, by getting copyrights,
trademarks or patents.

26
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN 7 STEPS

It's a well known fact that no business can exist without customers. In the
business of Website design, it's important to work closely with your
customers to make sure the site or system you create for them is as close to
their requirements as you can manage. Because it's critical that you form a
close working relationship with your client, customer service is of vital
importance. What follows are a selection of tips that will make your clients
feel valued, wanted and loved.

1. Encourage Face-to-Face Dealings

This is the most daunting and downright scary part of interacting with a customer.
If you're not used to this sort of thing it can be a pretty nerve-wracking
experience. Rest assured, though, it does get easier over time. It's important to
meet your customers face to face at least once or even twice during the course of
a project.

My experience has shown that a client finds it easier to relate to and work with
someone they've actually met in person, rather than a voice on the phone or
someone typing into an email or messenger program. When you do meet them, be
calm, confident and above all, take time to ask them what they need. I believe that
if a potential client spends over half the meeting doing the talking, you're well on
your way to a sale.

2. Respond to Messages Promptly & Keep Your Clients Informed

This goes without saying really. We all know how annoying it is to wait days for a
response to an email or phone call. It might not always be practical to deal with
all customers' queries within the space of a few hours, but at least email or call
them back and let them know you've received their message and you'll contact

27
them about it as soon as possible. Even if you're not able to solve a problem right
away, let the customer know you're working on it.

3. Be Friendly and Approachable

A fellow SitePointer once told me that you can hear a smile through the phone.
This is very true. It's very important to be friendly, courteous and to make your
clients feel like you're their friend and you're there to help them out. There will be
times when you want to beat your clients over the head repeatedly with a blunt
object - it happens to all of us. It's vital that you keep a clear head, respond to
your clients' wishes as best you can, and at all times remain polite and courteous.

4. Have a Clearly-Defined Customer Service Policy

This may not be too important when you're just starting out, but a clearly defined
customer service policy is going to save you a lot of time and effort in the long
run. If a customer has a problem, what should they do? If the first option doesn't
work, then what? Should they contact different people for billing and technical
enquiries? If they're not satisfied with any aspect of your customer service, who
should they tell?

There's nothing more annoying for a client than being passed from person to
person, or not knowing who to turn to. Making sure they know exactly what to do
at each stage of their enquiry should be of utmost importance. So make sure your
customer service policy is present on your site -- and anywhere else it may be
useful.

5. Attention to Detail (also known as 'The Little Niceties')

Have you ever received a Happy Birthday email or card from a company you
were a client of? Have you ever had a personalised sign-up confirmation email for
a service that you could tell was typed from scratch? These little niceties can be
time consuming and aren't always cost effective, but remember to do them.

28
Even if it's as small as sending a Happy Holidays email to all your customers, it's
something. It shows you care; it shows there are real people on the other end of
that screen or telephone; and most importantly, it makes the customer feel
welcomed, wanted and valued.

6. Anticipate Your Client's Needs & Go Out Of Your Way to Help Them
Out

Sometimes this is easier said than done! However, achieving this supreme level of
understanding with your clients will do wonders for your working relationship.

Take this as an example: you're working on the front-end for your client's exciting
new ecommerce Endeavour. You have all the images, originals and files backed
up on your desktop computer and the site is going really well. During a meeting
with your client he/she happens to mention a hard-copy brochure their internal
marketing people are developing. As if by magic, a couple of weeks later a CD-
ROM arrives on their doorstep complete with high resolution versions of all the
images you've used on the site. A note accompanies it which reads:

"Hi, you mentioned a hard-copy brochure you were working on and I wanted to provide
you with large-scale copies of the graphics I've used on the site. Hopefully you'll be able
to make use of some in your brochure."

Your client is heartily impressed, and remarks to his colleagues and friends how
very helpful and considerate his Web designers are. Meanwhile, in your office,
you lay back in your chair drinking your 7th cup of coffee that morning, safe in
the knowledge this happy customer will send several referrals your way.

7. Honour Your Promises

It's possible this is the most important point in this article. The simple message:
when you promise something, deliver. The most common example here is project
delivery dates.

29
Clients don't like to be disappointed. Sometimes, something may not get done, or
you might miss a deadline through no fault of your own. Projects can be late,
technology can fail and sub-contractors don't always deliver on time. In this case
a quick apology and assurance it'll be ready ASAP wouldn't go amiss.

Conclusion

Customer service, like any aspect of business, is a practiced art that takes time
and effort to master. All you need to do to achieve this is to stop and switch roles
with the customer. What would you want from your business if you were the
client? How would you want to be treated? Treat your customers like your friends
and they'll always come back.

30
CASE STUDY:

Earnhardt Auto Centers Arizona

Retaining the Right Employees Results in Higher Customer Satisfaction


Ratings
Earnhardt Auto Centers based in Arizona sells more vehicles per dealership than
any other in the country. Tex Earnhardt started his first Ford dealership in Chandler,
Arizona in September of 1951. From its humble beginnings selling a few Fords a
month, Earnhardt Auto Centers has grown to ten dealerships generating over one
billion dollars in annual retail sales, selling over 27,000 cars in 2003, and employing
over 2000 people.

The Challenge:

In the auto industry, a dealership's customer service index (CSI) determines their
delivery quota and manufacturer incentives. The CSI is based on satisfaction surveys
that customers complete after purchasing a vehicle or receiving service. The higher the
index, the better incentives the dealer receives which translates into better values for
the consumers and higher sales and profits for the auto dealership. Since quality
customer service is directly related to the caliber of the employees, dealerships strive
to retain the best people in every part of their business: sales, service and financing. In
an industry in which turnover is normally over 150%, the significance of this
challenge can't be overstated.

The Process:

Dave O'Brien, Corporate Performance Coach of Earnhardt states, "One of the


greatest challenges any auto dealer faces is not just hiring the right salesperson but
then matching them to the sales manager and the right dealership location. The key is
to understand the person's natural behavioral strengths." It was not until 2003 that

31
Earnhardt found a tool that provided the behavioral insight they were looking for. That
tool was the Predictive Index (PI).

Understanding your customer is critical to the success of any business, and


Earnhardt has built the success of their dealerships on identifying the typical customer
at each of their seven locations. For instance, a person who buys a Honda is generally
quite different from the person who buys a Ford. Dave O'Brien provides a comparison:
"Our Ford stores do a tremendous amount of special finance business and therefore
have a much different customer base. I can hire a take-charge type of sales person for
this dealership and a creative finance professional to support this customer. A Honda
customer wants to know everything about the product and does not want to be hurried
or pressured. This sales person needs to be factual and highly detailed. The Honda
customer is insulted if you cannot speak to all the features of the vehicle and will leave
the dealership immediately." Once the customer is defined in behavioral terms, the
Predictive Index gives Earnhardt the insight and ability to match not only the sales
team to that customer profile, but also the sales manager to the team.

Earnhardt applies the sales team selection process to their service and finance
teams. Earnhardt has everyone in the service department, from the mechanic teams to
lateral support groups (team leaders and dispatchers) complete the Predictive Index
survey. The operations team lays all the PI profiles on the table and puts together
people they know will work well together based on their PI. The same process is
applied to the Finance department. The Predictive Index allows Earnhardt to form a
cohesive team at each dealership that works well together, and is focused on the needs
of that specific consumer.

The Results:

The process works! Hiring and retaining the right employees has allowed
Earnhardt Auto Centers to achieve a consistently high level of customer satisfaction
resulting in increased volume and profits. Earnhardt has achieved Daimler Chrysler's
Five Star Dealer certification since its inception. Both of Earnhardt's Ford dealerships
Retaining the Right Employees Results in Higher Customer Satisfaction Ratings Case

32
Study: Earnhardt Auto Centers Arizona "PI provides us the tools we need to match the
right person to a position. When we do that, we keep those people longer and we treat
our customers better. When you have happier customers, you are selling more and
making more." Dave O'Brien Corporate Performance Coach continue to rank in the
top five percent in the nation for their high customer satisfaction scores. The Honda
dealership leads their rankings as well.

According to Mr. O'Brien, "We've used PI as our tool to put those service teams
together and those teams work better together; they finish cars faster. Our customer
satisfaction scores at those dealerships have gone up AND stabilized." He continues
that the Predictive Index has been very effective in the area of retention. "If you go
back some years, our retention of employees for more than one year was in the 20%
range. Currently about 62% of our sales department has been with us longer than one
year."

33
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN THE CHANGING GLOBAL
ECONOMY

Accenture 2007 Global Customer Satisfaction Survey


Executive Summary

ORIGINAL SURVEY REPORT BY ACCENTURE

Summary

The findings from Accenture’s third annual Global Customer Satisfaction


Survey offer compelling evidence of the vital role played by the customer service
experience when it comes to growth strategies. In a world where feature and price
advantages can be quickly matched if not bettered by competitors from virtually
anywhere in the world, a company’s best source of sustainable competitive advantage
may be the customer experience it delivers.

Our survey of more than 3,500 consumers in the United States, United
Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and France finds that, although customer
service has more influence on customer behavior than ever, few companies are
distinguishing themselves for service quality. In emerging markets—such as Brazil
and China, which place even greater importance on service quality— this finding has
profound implications for companies planning to expand into these geographies.

High Performance and the Customer Experience In a world where feature and
price advantages can be quickly matched if not bettered, a company’s one remaining
source of sustainable competitive advantage may be the quality of the customer
experience it delivers. Accenture’s ongoing research on High Performance Business
has shown, in fact, that a consistent, differentiated customer experience has a greater
impact on customer loyalty—and, by extension, on growth, profitability and
shareholder value—than any other factor related to managing customer relationships.
Now, Accenture’s third annual Customer Satisfaction Survey further illuminates the
relationship between the customer experience and business performance. Our research

34
finds that, around the world, consumers expect better service quality. It confirms that
consumers are more likely to leave a provider because of poor service than for any
other reason. It also reveals that service quality is the most powerful factor—more
influential than price—in choosing providers or choosing to do more business with
them.

Accenture helps organizations find their most intelligent, efficient


path to customer centricity

Our survey—which sampled more than 3,500 consumers in the United States, United
Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and France—also found that while
consumers everywhere value customer service—and in some countries, such as Brazil
and China, they value it very highly—the factors that determine whether they find a
service experience satisfying or frustrating vary significantly by country—a finding
with profound implications for companies seeking to drive growth by expanding into
new geographies.

Behind the Research: How the World Is Changing

Buyers are exposed to more of the world than ever before—through cable and
satellite television, the Internet and increased travel—and as a result, their tastes and
interests have broadened dramatically. Moreover, the long economic dominance of the
United States, Europe and Japan is giving way, and economic power is increasingly
shared with developing economies. This new “multi-polar” environment— comprising
multiple centers of economic power and activity—is rewriting the rules of
competition. Competition can now come anywhere in the world and more competition
means more product options and, often, lower prices for customers, undermining
traditional growth strategies based on innovation and pricing. The multi-polar world
presents opportunities, however, as well as challenges. Unprecedented growth
opportunities await companies in emerging economies such as India and China.
Consumers in these markets, however, can be vastly different from those in more

35
developed markets—and their needs, values and behaviors as customers can vary
dramatically from region to region. To capitalize on these opportunities, companies
will need deep insight into what’s relevant to local consumers—and the ability to
operationalize these insights through their marketing, sales, distribution and product
development efforts. Companies must also find new ways to attract and retain
customers that cannot be easily duplicated or offered at a lower price by more efficient
competitors. In short: organizations will not succeed in today’s economy if they do not
react to the changing marketplace around them.

Key Survey Findings

Service quality is the leading reason why consumers leave a provider or choose
a new one For the third straight year, service quality is the leading reason why
consumers decide to leave a provider— not only in developed economies such as the
United States and United Kingdom but globally. Overall, service outweighs price by
20 percent as a reason for switching. In some countries—Australia, Brazil, China, for
example—it has even more influence. In addition, more than three-quarters (77
percent) say they are much more inclined to continue doing business with a company
that delivers a positive service experience. Consumers also expect more when it comes
to service. One-third (33 percent) of the consumers in our global sample have higher
expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago. Slightly more than
one-half (52 percent) say their expectations are higher today than they were five years
ago. Many respondents also believe the amount of business they do with a company
should determine the quality of the service they receive. In fact, 45 percent say they
expect much better service when they purchase more from the company; about one-
fourth say they expect somewhat better service. For most, “better” means a
representative taking more time to answer their questions and a faster response to their
inquiries, followed closely by live access to a service representative. Bottom line: any
company not working to tailor the customer experience to customer preferences—or
any company that still serves customers the same way it did five years ago—is
extremely vulnerable to competition. Service expectations are rising, but service

36
quality is not Our findings also show a gap between customers’ expectations and what
they actually experience. Generally, companies are failing to differentiate themselves
based on service—or to satisfy the rising expectations of consumers. Few respondents
consider themselves “very satisfied” or rate their experiences as “excellent”—and
excellence is what’s called for in this time of heightened global competition. In fact,
41 percent of our global respondents describe service quality as fair, poor or terrible
and only 5 percent describe it as excellent. In Brazil, for example, more than half (54
percent) describe customer service as fair, poor or terrible—in China, 56 percent feel
the same. What’s more, although customer expectations have risen over the last few
years, the percentage of “very satisfied” customers has remained flat for every service
channel over the three years we have conducted this survey.

Undifferentiated service means lost business

The shortfall in service quality is more than a mere annoyance—it has genuine
business impact: lost customers as well as missed opportunities to gain new business.
Most respondents (59 percent) report having switched at least one provider in the past
year due to poor service. Switching occurs across industries, with geographic
variations. In Brazil, for example, wireless/cell phone companies suffered the greatest
frequency of witching (41 percent); in France that distinction belongs to Internet
service providers. In countries we have surveyed previously—the United States and
the United Kingdom—the percentage of consumers leaving due to poor service has
increased over time. The United Kingdom, for instance, has risen 8 points from 50
percent to 58 percent during the last three years. Poor service may also be preventing
companies from attracting new customers: nearly 60 percent of our respondents say
customer service is the key differentiating factor when choosing a new provider—even
ahead of price (55 percent), product (34 percent) and convenience (34 percent). This
finding offers the clearest evidence yet that companies known for delivering a
substandard service experience have a steep challenge ahead when it comes to growth.

37
Our Perspective

We believe that, in our increasingly multi-polar world, the ability to deliver a


satisfying service experience is the most powerful source of sustainable competitive
edge—nothing else compares. To deliver the kind of differentiated experience that
drives high performance, successful organizations must become truly customer-
centric, incorporating the customer’s perspective, value and actions into their business
and operations strategy, capability development and execution. For many
organizations, this may prove to be a hard transition to make. Accenture helps
organizations find their most intelligent, efficient path to customer centricity. Our
knowledge of customer centricity—gained through extensive market research—and
our deep experience—accumulated through years of client work—combine to create a
powerful resource for transformation. As a result, we are able to help our clients
quickly develop new growth strategies in response to changing consumer demands and
new market opportunities. We help them operationalize new approaches to customer
segmentation, producing more relevant offerings and better differentiated service
experiences. And we help them execute these models, quickly and flawlessly, across
the supply chain.

About Accenture

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and


outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, omprehensive capabilities
across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s
most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become
high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 175,000 people in 49
countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year
ended Aug. 31, 2007. Its home page is www.accenture.com. Accenture’s Customer
Relationship Management service line helps organizations achieve high performance
by transforming their marketing, sales and customer service functions to support
accelerated growth, increased profitability and greater operating efficiency. Our
research, insight and innovation, global reach and delivery experience have made us a

38
worldwide leader, serving thousands of clients every year, including most Fortune 100
companies, across virtually all industries.

39
40