Developing a customer focused sales strategy
A MFI Furniture Group case study

Page 1: Changing customers expectations

The 1980s were marked by a growth in consumer spending and a housing boom. Easy access to credit made it possible for people to realise their dreams and encouraged them to spend. With the downturn in the economy came fear and uncertainty about unemployment and the harsh realities of recession left many consumers with debts and homes which had been transformed from investments to burdens. In the...
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Page 2: MFI home works

MFI is one of Europe's leading furniture manufacturers/retailers, with over 250 retail outlets throughout the UK and mainland Europe. As a vertically integrated company, MFI manufactures over 50of its total product portfolioand has ownership and exclusive use of the three top brand names in the market place. In June 1993 the MFI Sales Division launched a strategy for long-term success. The...
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Page 3: MFI Sales Division MISSION

"To exceed the sales and profit targets required by MFI""We will achieve and sustain a competitive advantage through our commitment to the continuous development and support of our people and products""The cornerstones of our strategy will be quality service and teamwork in an open and honest environment allied to the principles of performance management and a continuous commitment to...
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Page 4: Definition of good customer service

Put simply, MFI does not define good customer service. It is MFI's customers who define what is good and what is bad customer service. The approach MFI adopts is one of constant consultation. Using the feedback it receives it ensures that it not only adapts to meet the demands and expectations of its customers, but exceeds them. Only when this happens can MFI consider itself to be truly focused on...
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Page 5: The team

Sales staff are in the front line and the impression they create through the way they perform is vitally important. Their role is to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction throughout the entire sales process. Sales staff are only one part of a large team involved in ensuring customer satisfaction. Internal customerssuch as Sales Support Staff, Store Designers, Administrators, Product...
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Page 6: Service benchmarketing

Benchmarking involves making comparisons with other organisations in the marketplace in order to monitor the quality of standards of service. MFI's Customer Service Strategy sets out a statement of intent regarding the standards to which MFI must perform.
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Page 7: Service statement

MFI is committed to setting the benchmark for service within its marketplace. To achieve this, the company will, on an ongoing basis, measure and upgrade its internal and external requirements for the provision of quality service. "This will ensure that the service benchmarks applied within our Company consistently meet the service requirements of our customers."
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Page 8: Responses and remedies to customer complaints

At every point MFI seeks comments from its customers. It is well known that the majority of British customers are unlikely to complain and only show their dissatisfaction by never returning to make another purchase. There is also a common belief that if a customer receives poor service they will tell approximately twelve other people about their experience whilst customers receiving good service...
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Page 9: Empowerment

Employees in the branches are empowered to resolve complaints immediately, from an apology (which most businesses forget!) to a cash/goods allowance. The minority of complaints not resolved at this level may require the intervention of the General Manager or Sales Manager.In addition to MFI's code of practice and customers' statutory rights, MFI has adopted other institutions' codes of practice in...
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Page 10: Customer Complaints Procedure

Any complaint received results in action to ensure that it is not only the customer complaining who is fully satisfied but, more importantly, each issue raised is analysed by the whole team and procedures are implemented to ensure that this problem does not happen again. This form of action planning within each branch is undertaken by representatives of each function within the store who form...
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Page 11: Customer communications

Customer communications is the single largest investment in MFI's business outside its investment in people. Effective communication results in every single member of the organisation understanding the expectations of external customers. All external written communications follow a set process designed to make messages clear and concise.Methods of communication are vast. They vary from globally...
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Page 12: Building customer relationships

Building long term relationships with customers is one of the most important aspects of service provision. Many of the ways in which MFI communicates business messages are used to build stronger relationships with customers. Promotions and advertising, magazine articles and features, leaflets and brochures, all assist in informing customers of the products and services on offer. As well as the...
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Page 13: Customer care training

Comprehensive staff training and service evaluation help to measure MFI's personalised approach to service. Customer care training is included in all of MFI's formal training programmes as well as in informal sessions held within stores. One-to-one briefing, team briefings, role plays, coaching and monitoring sessions all have, at some stage, customer care as their background.
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Page 14: Finding out what customers want

The starting point for everything MFI does is feedback from customers. This ensures that MFI builds systems and processes which ensure that MFI has the information on which to build a business for the future. This information helps to focus on what external customers want with regard to the level of service given, how it is offered, the types of products sold, the merchandising and display of...
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Page 15: Standing out from a crowd

MFI has established a culture of Total Customer Focus:"THE STARTING POINT FOR EVERYTHING WE DO IS FEEDBACK FROM OUR CUSTOMERS""IF OUR CUSTOMERS DON'T WANT IT WE DON'T DO IT"Customer care is at the heart of everything MFI does. Top down commitment to the quality of service empowers front line staff to deal with real issues quickly and effectively, while at the same time influencing long term...
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