Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market
It is my sentiment, and that of most people I engage with that the experienced levels of service delivery and the workmanship quality of businesses has deteriorated over the last couple of years.
These are some of the experiences of consumers:
- When contact is made with a business (mostly SMEs) via phone, it takes very long for someone to answer or it keeps on ringing. When messages are left for a call back, many are not returned.
- The same goes for website-driven or general e-mail enquiries.
- When complaints are lodged, business owners shy away from addressing them immediately.
- When appointments are made for quotations, people don’t pitch up or arrive late without pro- actively informing the client.
- Quotation feedback usually takes too long.
- Workmanship on average is shoddy.
- After sales service is slow.
- Websites are outdated (critical contact information is wrong, or product/service-related information is outdated).
Can we use this information to set our business apart from the rest?
The answer is “yes”, if we can step up and make sure all our staff are responsive to client engagement, we keep our promises and we provide quality service and superior workmanship. I suggest that you take each experience above and evaluate your own performance against it. This will highlight the gaps which need to be addressed.
How can I entrench responsiveness in my business?
The most obvious action is to define what the service standards are for your business and then to train all staff in service excellence, whereafter their performance is measured against contracted key performance indicators.
Use every opportunity to request client feedback in respect of their experience with your staff. Every element of the client value chain in your business should be closely monitored. Use the client feedback to openly reward good feedback, but also to apply remedial action when required.
The benefits for our business if we can get it right
- Our satisfied clients will spread the word within their personal networks, hence leading to more qualified referrals for business.
- In the absence of our competitors, we will have less competition when quoting for new business and upselling to existing clients.
- There will be fewer client complaints about inferior service and workmanship.
- More quotes will be accepted, leading to increased turnover and ultimately profit.
To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straight forward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success
Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.