The Scottish Branch's first meeting of 2001 took the form of an informal buffet in the Arthouse Hotel Glasgow and was followed by the presentation of one of the National Youth in Transport Competition Prizes. The main event of the evening was a presentation on "Customer Service Satisfaction" by Mr. Gerry Condron, MIMC, CMC, MILT, Chairman of the Scottish Branch of the Institute of Logistics and Transport and owner and Managing Director of Quadrant Care, a business and IT management consultancy based in Largs.
Central Scotland Group members enjoying the buffet.
© John G. Fender 2010
Mr. Condron began by pointing out that many companies have common themes and one of these is the improvement of customer service. However, such initiatives are often not given the priority they need. To assist companies with this, Quadrant Care, offers companies a way of taking their initiatives forward. There were many examples of companies failing to satisfy customers and these customers are likely to take their business elsewhere.
One of the biggest problems for customers with a complaint is making the complaint itself. Many companies use "call centres" and often these have the latest automated call screening systems. How often have you tried to speak to someone by telephone, only to be greeted by an automated system giving you a bewildering choice of buttons to press? In many cases, the customer gives up before getting through to a real person. Another common cause for complaints not being made is that there appears to be no one to complain to. So the end result is that people just do not complain, as it is percceived to be too difficult and even if they do complain, it is often felt that the complaint falls on deaf ears. Approximately 96% of unsatisfied customers do not complain.
The Chairman, explaining the principles of Customer Service Satisfaction.
© John G. Fender 2010
Mr. Condron pointed out that on average one customer with a problem will tell, on average 9 or 10 other people. He also illustrated that many large corporations lose 50% of their customers over 5 years. In other words in 10 years they will lose the equivalent of their existing customer base. He also showed that it can cost up to six times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. the majority of unsatisfied customers just "slip away" and are not noticed until it is realised that their business is lost.
Customer service is about people and processes and supported by technology. The use of technology is acceptable, provided that there are people to deal with the unhappy customer. Mr. Condron emphasized that customers are the "life blood" of any company and that customer service is not achieved by accident. It is planned with commitment from the top and it is essential for companies to know what their customers value most.
The evening concluded with a question and answer session during which many questions were dealt with.
Report by John Fender.
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