Using customer service to position a business
A first direct case study

Page 1: Introduction

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When customers buy manufactured goods, such as a mobile phone, a magazine, a bicycle, some new clothes or a computer, they usually know precisely what they are getting. These products have tangible qualities. Customers make choices based on the particular features of each product. Retailers need to provide good customer service, so that customers can find out more about products before making a...
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Page 2: What is customer service?

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Customer service is the service provided to customers before, during and after purchasing and using goods and services. Good customer service provides an experience that meets customer expectations. It produces satisfied customers. Bad customer service can generate complaints. It can result in lost sales, because consumers might take their business to a competitor. Good customer service...
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Page 3: Customer expectations

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All first direct customers have needs: they want banking services. They also have expectations about how these services should be delivered. To meet these expectations, first direct has to know what its customers want (and what they might want in the future). To find out more, first direct carries out market research. Market research is a process that enables a business to find out more...
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Page 4: Meeting customer needs

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For an online bank, the key to meeting customer needs is good communication. Customers want to know that they can communicate their concerns with somebody who will understand the issues. first direct 's people therefore are central to the customer service function. Customers' experiences will be largely shaped by the quality of service they receive from the bank's employees. Training and...
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Page 5: The benefits of providing good customer service

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Providing good customer service enables first direct to create a distinctive position for itself in relation to competitors. This requires investment in employees, training and processes to maintain high standards. However there is a payback: good customer service can reduce marketing and some operational costs. Market research clearly shows that customers enjoy and are satisfied with the...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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To meet its mission, first direct has a real commitment to providing high levels of service for its customers. It puts existing customers first. For example, when demand for mortgages was very high, customer service representatives were overloaded with work. This meant that there were delays in answering calls. Rather than reduce the level of service to customers, sales to new customers were...
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