Achieving customer satisfaction | Macro

Achieving customer satisfaction

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By Chris Bond, Director of Consultancy, Macro International

Customer satisfaction in the FM services sector, as in any other industry, doesn’t start with the customer – it starts with the team member. With the ever-increasing variety of service providers and delivery models in the GCC, differentiation of service through customer satisfaction is the key to making your service or product stand out.   

Team member satisfaction first

A team member who feels valued and satisfied in their job will reflect this in their dealings with customers. Common sense suggests that this satisfaction will be communicated outwards – I like my job and my company, therefore I believe we have a good product or service. 

Quality all the time, every time

Paying lip service to quality will soon show through. No amount of diversionary tactics, marketing, PR or talking will save a poor service. Be clear from the start what your quality methodologies are (e.g. peer reviews, accredited quality systems) and agree these first with the customer. If they require a price that compromises your quality approach, then perhaps it is time for them to look elsewhere - is the reputational risk worth it? 

Be accessible and follow through

A lack of access for customers is an endless source of frustration. I’ve lost count of the number of websites that either fail to provide the most basic information or bury it within their webpages. Once provided, ensure that there is follow through. How many of us have emailed companies only to receive no response or ‘this mailbox is full’, or phoned companies where we work through a labyrinth of phone menus – it happens far too often. Customers are satisfied when there are no barriers.   

Manage expectations, keep customers

Understand what the customer wants and whether this can be achieved – be honest. There may be other ways in which to meet their requirements – explaining these will build trust. It may not result in a contract for the current requirement, but a demonstration of openness and honesty will be remembered for future opportunities. 

Once you have the customer, hold onto them – and take responsibility. If something goes wrong, ensure the response goes above and beyond their expectations. It’s more profitable to retain a customer than to find a new one.   

Differentiation

Many times it’s not the product or service itself that differentiates but how it’s dealt with – on-time delivery, quality and approachability. We are all customers after all, and we know how we would like to be treated. It’s no different for others. 

Feedback

It’s human nature that we predominately feedback complaints rather than praise. This is especially true in FM. Having accessible methods to allow this feedback to be captured, analysed and in turn reflected in a service improvement will boost satisfaction. 

At Macro for example we have an in-house Helpdesk with a single freephone contact number –customer requests are captured, routed for response, and analysed using an established CAFM (Computer Aided FM) system. This data and feedback, in a structure that can be easily interrogated, is essential to driving customer service. 

Follow Chris Bond on Twitter: @chrisbond_007  Follow Macro on Twitter: @MacroImpact 

This article was previously published in FM Today.