Page 4: Customer Service
Organisations that provide good quality Customer Service have several key characteristics. They:
- know where they are heading (clear vision of the future)
- have an ongoing dialogue with both internal and external customers
- operate a supportive management style that focuses on communicating with and motivating employees
- provide sufficient and appropriate training and development for its employees.
The challenge for the Gala Group was to:
- reinforce Gala Brands on customers' consciousness and then work hard to keep the top slot
- provide quality service to employees within the company, and then look to them to provide a high quality service to customers
- recognise that customers' expectations are continually rising, and respond by continually working towards higher service levels
- use Customer Service as a total business strategy to meet Gala Group's corporate objectives
- develop future strategies that help to provide high quality Customer Service e.g. employee recognition schemes, customer care training and performance management
- link Customer Service activities within all aspects across the business.
The starting point for any long-term business strategy is some form of research. Gala needed to discover more about sources of customer and employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and identify elements that needed tackling as top priorities. Gala decided to adopt an integrated approach to this research, looking into both customer and employee needs.
Initially both the customer and employee research involved using workshops (focus groups) to find out more about the needs of each group. These workshops provided qualitative feedback, identifying a range of views and issues related to Customer Service. 400 face-to-face interviews were also conducted with customers and these are being followed with more than 19,200 quantitative interviews conducted annually with Gala customers to provide raw data for analysis on a unit by unit basis. At the same time more than 10,000 Gala employees were surveyed to provide quantitative data on their views of the company.