Why Big Businesses Are Investing In Customer Services
Customer services is a company’s frontline division. It’s the department that deals with the consumers directly. It needs investment.
Until recently, companies have been cutting corners with this integral unit in the name of maximising profits. Customer services has been viewed as an extra limb, which is why as a branch it can often be left malnourished.
But it’s not a limb. It’s an organ, and a vital one at that.
Thankfully, big businesses have finally heard the distressed call of the consumer, and are taking action.
Take EE, for example. Earlier this year, the communications giant announced that it was to bring thousands of jobs back to the UK by building local call centres, with the intention of providing more coherent solutions to inquiries about complex smartphone and tablet issues.
The company is coming through on its promise. In April, EE partnered with US-based customer management agency Convergys to announce the introduction of 300 new jobs to Londonderry in Northern Ireland.
The Belfast Telegraph calculated that accounting for the proposed salaries for the new positions, EE’s new customer service careers could introduce over £5 million into the city’s economy. Further plans indicate the construction of a huge call centre in Derby in the near future, bringing a further 1,000 jobs back to British shores.
Leading the Way
EE is only the latest corporation to take action in order to reverse the downward trend in customer satisfaction rates. Last year, RSA – the company behind the popular insurance brand More Than – brought 350 new jobs to Sunderland, Liverpool and Halifax by closing its Indian call centres in a bid to ensure both “consistency and excellence”.
Two years earlier, Santander’s boss Ana Botín initiated a plan to move the company’s call centres from the continent back to the UK. The firm provided an extra 500 jobs in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool, in a bid to pull down the number of complaints it received about its customer service department.
For big UK businesses, transforming customer service departments is leaping its way up the priority list, which is great to see.
The big question is, why are companies investing so much into bringing customer service back to British shores? The answer is simple: it’s all about communication.
The RSA customer services director John Elliot told The Telegraph: “The missing ingredient is culture.” RSA understands the importance of establishing a line of communication that isn’t just about the language spoken. It’s about cultural idioms, colloquial expressions of politeness and even an accent that sounds local. All of these factors put the average British customer at ease.
Tensions are diffused. Voices are heard. Problems are solved.
It’s an effective business model. You might think of implementing it into your business. Large corporations often have the resources to train and develop home-grown customer service employees, but what about SMEs?
Luckily, outsourcing for small enterprises is now an option. SMEs can employ an independent telephone answering agency based in the UK to handle incoming calls to their business, employees trained to be the best at what they do professionally and to be the best British communicators personally.
The customer is still what matters most in British business. Make sure they’re at the heart of your business plan.