Page 1: Introduction
Over recent years many changes have taken place in traditional service organisations. There have been many reasons for these changes. Some have been brought about by increasing customer choice, different consumption patterns, better lifestyles, increasing mobility, the process of privatisation and more competition. Where such changes have taken place there has tended to be an accompanying influence upon consumer expectations. The net effect has been to create a far more knowledgeable and discriminating customer. But, as customers have become more sophisticated, they have also become more vocal. Customers are not willing to accept an inefficient service and where competition is introduced they always have the option to change their supplier.
Providing a good service involves meeting the expectations of your customers. This does not just involve the selling or supply process but includes every point of contact between an organisation and each and every customer. Developing total relationships and providing good customer service is not easy for any organisation. Customer service initiatives should not be here today and gone tomorrow, but must be part of a continuous and improving process designed to distinguish one organisation from its competitors. Such changes must also begin at the top and involve everyone - whatever their role, if they are to provide long-term benefits.
This case study focuses upon service quality by illustrating how one organisation - Yorkshire Electricity - in a fundamentally reorganised electricity industry, has developed a customer service strategy to redefine the way it looks after its customers.