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Jo Helire


Head of Operations

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The definition of customer service excellence, according to


As customers’ expectations continue to increase, no longer do they remain loyal to a brand that delivers an “OK” service offering.  In order to deliver above and beyond customer expectations, we need to understand just what it is our customers want from us.  The ability to stand out and make a lasting impression is vital in the changing and ever increasing competitive consumer climate.  It is therefore crucial that companies implement robust programmes that gives their customers a voice and allows the teams the opportunity to react and adapt accordingly. 

The launch of’s “Voice of the Customer” (VoC) programme, introduced a significant cultural change as well as incorporating systems and process enhancement.  The programme places listening to our customers at the heart of the organisation which enables us to react and adapt faster to their changing needs.

The journey so far

Positive staff attitude, business knowledge and experience clearly have an effect in terms of the customer experience, operational efficiency and morale.

It is for that reason a range of initiatives to address morale and employee satisfaction are key to the successful service enhancement.

Supported by some technical implementation we made a decision to move away from traditional KPIs – (average handling time, conversion, room nights per booking and call quality scores) choosing instead to focus more on behaviours that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our traditional KPIs (whilst still monitored and collated in the background) have been replaced by more up to date measures such as Net Promoter score, Customer Effort, Customer Loyalty and First Contact resolution.

Using a role profiling exercise we have revisited current roles and split out responsibilities to create more variety and customer ownership. Staff are now matched to their personal skillset, ongoing training is provided by the dedicated contact centre L & D advisor.

By reviewing our rewards and recognition programmes, ownership has been given to them and they feel they are in complete control of their bonus earning potential.   Helping to embed the culture change, staff are rewarded for the quality of service they provide, not how many sales they make.

Have staff bought into this change?

As with any new initiative, regular reviews are imperative.  In review sessions held with staff, feedback has been very positive in the main.

Is all this really that new?

Discussions around the decision to remove standard KPIs at recent networking and award events suggests this is still a new phenomenon. Removing the comfort blanket of factual figures to measure performance is not a step to be taken lightly, nor can changes be expected overnight. 

We know that customer loyalty is built out of trust, whilst customer satisfaction and NPS are fast becoming key measures across many companies; few are taking the time to understand what their own customers expect from them as a service provider.

Using customer feedback to focus on improvements they themselves ask for, not what we as a business think our customers need to experience, the implementation of VOC saw our NPS increase from 50 to 62 in September 2013. 

Whats next?

Today, 85% of customers expect a seamless experience across all channels, with multi-channel customers spending on average between 30-50% more than a single channel customer, and 45% of consumers seeking advice from peers before purchasing.  Moving with the times, Service Excellence FY 14 will focus on delivering exceptional service every time across every channel and device.

Interested in customer service excellence? Read our Top 50 tips to achieving customer service excellence.

One Response

  1. Customer service refers to
    Customer service refers to the assistance and support provided to customers before, during, and after their purchase or interaction with a product or service. It involves meeting and exceeding customer expectations, addressing their inquiries, resolving issues, and ensuring their overall satisfaction with the company or organization.

    Effective customer service is crucial for building strong relationships with customers and fostering loyalty. It involves not only responding to customer needs but also anticipating them and proactively offering solutions. Good customer service is characterized by responsiveness, empathy, and professionalism, with the primary goal of creating a positive customer experience.

    Key elements of customer service include:

    Promptness: Responding to customer inquiries and resolving issues in a timely manner, showing respect for their time and needs.

    Communication: Clear and effective communication with customers, ensuring they understand the information and solutions provided.

    Empathy: Demonstrating understanding and empathy towards customers’ concerns and emotions, showing that their feedback is valued.

    Knowledge: Possessing comprehensive knowledge about the products or services offered to provide accurate and helpful information to customers.

    Problem-solving: Offering effective solutions to customer issues and working towards resolution with a positive attitude.

    Personalization: Tailoring interactions to individual customer needs, preferences, and past interactions, making customers feel valued and appreciated.

    Consistency: Maintaining a consistent level of service across all customer touchpoints and interactions.

    Professionalism: Treating customers with respect and courtesy, maintaining a professional and friendly demeanor at all times.

    Feedback and Improvement: Encouraging customer feedback, actively listening to their suggestions, and using it to improve products, services, and overall customer experience.

    Providing exceptional customer service is a vital component of building a successful and reputable brand. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal advocates, promoting the company through word-of-mouth and fostering long-term relationships. Conversely, poor customer service can lead to customer dissatisfaction, negative reviews, and potential loss of business. As such, organizations must prioritize customer service as a key aspect of their business strategy.

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Jo Helire

Head of Operations

Read more from Jo Helire