Page 2: Customer service
In such a competitive environment, customers will choose to use those organisations which most closely meet their needs. Customer service, therefore, is at a premium in such a competitive environment.
Customer service is an ideal approach to developing a “one-to-one” relationship with customers and the term can be used at two levels:
- on one level “customer service” is the overall objective of all that a company offers
- the term is also used more precisely to describe the personal relationship which the company develops with its customers, and more particularly between the customer and those who represent the company to the customer – e.g. the counter staff in a building society, representatives who talk to schools and colleges, etc.
Customer service provides many opportunities to develop competitive advantage. For example, it covers the way a customer is treated when applying for a mortgage, on the telephone, with a specialist advisor etc. It would also include the way in which the organisation uses the latest communication technology to personalise letters in a large-scale promotional campaign.
Developing relationships with customers
Britannia has a particular advantage in building a strong relationship with customers because it is a building society. The customers of a building society are also its owners who mutually benefit from the running of the organisation. This is different from the situation in a public limited company where the shareholders (owners of the company) are quite distinct from its customers.
Modern building societies, such as Britannia, operate in a highly competitive environment, but because they are mutuals, they are able to provide better value to their customers than that offered by other financial institutions.