Business Week recently announced its Customer Service Champions. See Business Week’s presentation list here.
The Top Ten:
1 L.L. Bean
4 Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
5 Publix Super Markets
8 The Ritz-Carlton
9 Barnes & Noble
10 Ace Hardware
Nanette Byrnes of BusinessWeek reports that The University of Michigan’s American Customer Service Index is out and Fast Food has scored high marks. According to Byrnes’ article, “Fast food, which has been climbing steadily since the mid 1990s, tied last year’s record high customer satisfaction figures ‘Overall they’ve done quite well in matching what they have, including price, to what a growing percentage of the population want,’ says Claes Fornell, head of the index.”
With the recession sweeping across the United States, many individuals are turning to fast food as a dinner out instead of traditional quick-serve restaurants like Applebee’s, Chili’s and Friday’s. The new influx of customers may make customer service even more important to gain and retain the new fast food customers.
Byrnes reports that, “McDonald’s, with simple innovations like better coffee, does well by that measure these days. The burger giant was rewarded with a 1.4% climb last year to a score of 70. That’s better than both Kentucky Fried Chicken, which dropped 1.4%, and Burger King, which fell 2.8%, the biggest drop in the group. Burger King was late to recognize the consumer’s value focus. “
Recently at Business Week, Charlie Gaffney recognized the fact that levels of customer service are falling as companies are reducing their workforce. He brings up two ideas that are good for both a customer service perspective and your local workforce.
As the use of email has surpassed the use of phones, so it’s a great time to turn to email for your customer service. It’s also something worth investing in, because good customer service is a great way to advertise. Invest in your local community, and hire locals to work the inbox. Customers will recognize the easy and quick communication and great service they’ll receive. You’ll also be providing jobs for your community.
What do you think? Is your customer service located locally? How have you seen this affect your business?
I found this article at Business Week which addresses how PNC Bank is attracting new customers daily. They’re attracting 130 new customers a day for their simplistic new checking account called “The Virtual Wallet.” They’ve spoken to the Generation Y by giving them a simplistic way manage their money online, with three simple options Spend, Reserve, and Growth. They’ve also limited the number of checks they can write in a month, and charge for transferring money over the phone.
Do you see this as the customer service of the future? PNC Bank has created a system where the only way they interact with their customer is through a website, but it’s very popular with the young consumer, who will domoinate the market in 20 years. What do you think?
In 2007, 18.3 billion liters of spirits were sold throughout the world. The largest market was China, who sold 3.7 of those liters alone. Euromonitor International came out with these figures, and they were detailed in this article at Business Week. The most popular spirits around the world were vodka and whiskey. Vodka sold 3.7 billion liters world wide and whiskey sold 2.1 billion liters world wide.
There is also a huge push for western spirits in the emerging middle class of developing countries such as Eastern Europe, Russia and China. Scottish whiskey is the lead seller around the world now, however, in Great Britain and the United States, where vodka and rum are on the rise due to the current cocktail phase.
I recently came across BusinessWeek’s Customer Service Standouts slideshow. I took some time to look through the top ten to find out what made them so special when it came to their customer service. An overlying theme was treating your employees with respect. If employees love who they’re working for, love the products they’re selling, and are educated on them, odds are your customer service will be great. Here’s Business Week’s top 10 and why they made the list. 1. USAA ‘ With their service team of 12,400 receiving 250,000 hours of reinforcement training a year to service military personnel with they know their product. 2. LL Bean ‘ In the 2007 holiday season, they took time to store up their inventory, leaving less customers calling the call center to complain about items being in stock, even with the extra goods they had left over. 3. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts ‘ All employees get the luxury service when they start the job so they know what it’s suppose to be like for the customers. 4. Lexus ‘ They set up an online chatroom to converse with customers online who are thinking about buying Lexus vehicles. 5. Trader Joe’s ‘ They make an effort to pay their employees the average income in their community, and pride themselves on customer interaction in the store. 6. Starbucks ‘ January started, and they made customer service their number one priority, making changes to their current rocky business. 7. Jet Blue ‘ Their new terminal at JFK Airport in New York City will bring more security outlets, as well as more eticket kiosks. They’ve also added a Customer’s Bill of Rights. 8. Edward Jones ‘ In 2007, they implemented a system to recognize branch managers who excelled at customer service. 9. Lands End ‘ In Sears stores, their current owner, they’ve added in-store monogramming, and also computer kiosks so in store customers can browse online. 10. Ace Hardware ‘ The employees focus on being knowledgeable about their tools. This year, they’re having every employee carry around a skill matrix card, so if they’re not the expert on certain tools, they can quickly connect customers with the right person.