This has nothing to do with GDPR


Hopefully, you aren‘t receiving any more GDPR emails. But if you are reading this, it means you have agreed to receive emails from The Skills Exchange and waste seven and a half minutes reading this article. I thank you.

GDPR and the endless emails we all seemed to get showed that many companies still don’t take Customer Service seriously (“…we value you as a customer, whoever you are…”) and many are still focused only on their own navels but the latest bit of research to come out from the Institute of Customer Service at least shows that financial institutions are doing quite well (well, five in the top twenty isn’t shabby!):

Satisfaction Index: TOP 20 Companies rated by Institute of Customer Service (Q1 2018)

1 Retail (Non-food) 9 = Waitrose Retail (Food)
2 first direct (Banks & Building Societies) 12 Greggs (Food)
3 Yorkshire Bank (Banks & Building Societies) 13 = Aldi Retail (Food)
4 Superdrug Retail (Non-food) 13 = Next Retail (Non-food)
5 = John Lewis Retail (Non-food) 13 = Pets at Home Retail (Non-food)
5 = Wilko Retail (Non-food) 16 = M & S (Food) Retail (Food)
7 = M & S (Bank) (Banks & Building Societies) 16 = Premier Inn (Tourism)
7 = Nationwide (Banks & Building Societies) 18 The (Transport)
9 = (Tourism ) 19 Nationwide Insurance (Insurance)
9 = Tesco mobile (Telecommunications & Media) 20 P&O Ferries (Transport)

Institute of Customer Service, April 2018

Which is very good considering the competition there and the starting base most financial institutions had, reputation-wise, after the crashes of recent years (let’s just not talk TSB today, okay?).

The key differences in satisfaction between the highest scoring organisation in each sector and the rest are for complaint handling, over the phone experiences, openness, trust and transparency

This April report from The Institute of Customer Service says a lot (if you are in customer service, and we all are, you should take a look) but, to help you out, there is one key finding that they have in their “satisfaction index” findings: “The key differences in satisfaction between the highest scoring organisation in each sector and the rest are for complaint handling, over the phone experiences, openness, trust and transparency”.

It’s how you solve problems that seems to be key now. Though it always has been, in truth. Back in the day “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong,” said ex- B.A. V.P. Donald


Porter some years ago but it’s still the case now.

You have to get the processes right to start with but then you need to support these with competent people; customers on the whole are nice and understanding (if you ignore keyboard warriors) and research shows that if you treat people like people they respond accordingly.

A typical customer, for example, will tell 8-10 people if they are unhappy with you and one in five will tell at least 20 others. Word spreads fast! It takes 12 positive encounters to make up for one bad one but 7 out of 10 complaining customers will do business with you again if you help them out. A satisfied customer will tell at least 5 people about how their problem was solved. All good word of mouth.

And word of mouth is still deemed to be the most powerful form of advertising, especially as it is now cranked up by the behemoth of social media. Companies have found that it is almost as powerful to solve a problem and shout about it as it is to have a problem and not solve it. So it’s strange to see that some are still falling behind on the social media front.

Only 23% of companies provide customer service on Facebook, apparently, and 70% of companies ignore Twitter complaints! Though 83% of complainants loved the fact that a company responded to their complaint via social media and 88% of customers would buy again/recommend a company that sorts out their issue via social media or personal contact.

Personal contact? Trust people?

The key to success is giving employees leeway to deal with people (I could have said empowerment but I was playing Buzzword Bingo with myself) and if you want an example, look at Timpson’s (the key cutting and shoe repair people). John Timpson, owner of the shoe repairers, has the answer (and is a very successful high street retailer, not a phrase you hear too often nowadays). He says: “You can’t create great customer service from a set of rules. The secret is to trust the people who deal with the customers to do the right thing”.

He lets people get on with sorting problems, gives them parameters then gets on with his job of being an MD.

You only get “openness, trust and transparency” from people, not processes, he understands.

Ah, people. As if that was ever a differentiating factor.

And how many companies spent more on dealing with GDPR than they did on people development in 2018? It’s a rhetorical question but we will be emailing you to find out your views…


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Training Design & Delivery of topics such as Customer Service, Note Taking, Business Writing, Presentation Skills, All Management/Team Leader areas, Sales, Sales Management, all tailored and run in-house for your personal requirements. Also, coaching and mentoring.

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