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customer service functions

Free essay example:

Anika Ahmed

Task 3

In this section my selected business is (Sainsbury) plc; because I believe that this company provides good customer service, produces high quality goods and is also one of the countries’s leading food retailers, which shows that it is a well-liked company. My task is to investigate customer service function of my selected business.

What is meant by customer service Function?

Customer service is an organization's ability to supply their customers' wants and needs. Customer service includes all the activities that affect a customer’s experience. Following are some example of what May customer service includes.

  • Customer’s need is one important thing, what you should always keep in mind. You should always try and fulfill customer’s needs.
  • Learning what a customer wants and ensuring that they get it. For example if you are working at a hair dressers shop, you should always ask the customer about what kind of hair cut they want and if they like it or not. Always they and ensure that you have given them your best.

Business needs customers without them they would be forced to close!!!!!

What is a Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is the support of any business. You can offer promotions and cut prices to bring in as many new customers as you want, but unless you can get some of those customers to come back, your business won’t be profitable for long.

Good customer service is all about bringing customers back. And about sending them away happy – pleased enough to pass positive feedback about your business along to others, who may then wish to try the product or service you offer for themselves and in their turn become repeat customers.

Structure and Operation of the customer service department…

Whether it is a small business (sole trader) or a large business (partnership), all business has to have a customer service department and a plan on how their customer service will be.  However customer service department will vary on the size of the business, as if it is a sole trader than, the owner will handle customer service, as well as his other duties. If it is a large business then, there will be departments, such as marketing or sales department dealing with customer service, however the entire company will have to work together in order to have repeat sales and customers coming back.

Whose Responsibility is it?  

In a small business like sole trader, it is the owner responsibility, and the people who are working for him. However in a large business, all members of staff in a business will have some responsibility for customer’s service.

In order to have a good reputation about customer service, management might have to arrange trainings for staff in customer gain and dealing and communicating with customers. I would recommend all large companies to have staff who have some qualification or knowledge about customer service, if not then, management should send to have training.

How customer service interacts with other internal departments.

In this internal customer service department, members of the customer service departments will be constantly monitoring customer’s satisfaction and will communicate with other internal department’s aspect that needs to be improved. If there are complaints then, then the customer service department will need to communication with other departments, especially if the complaint is serious.

How customer service interacts with external customers.

These external customers are very important for that company, treating them well and fulfilling there needs is a very important job.

To be able to provide good customer service staff needs to have a good communication skills, this can be gained naturally or by learning. There are two types of external customers, face to face communication and via the telephone.

To be a good customer service provide, you need to be good at offering advice, providing information, giving assistance, resolving problems and complaints.

Customers will expect staff to have a good knowledge of their company’s product, so that they can help them easily.

Staff should be polite, caring and helpful at all times, as this will make you can customer’s heart and they will visit your company again and again.

 A friendly greeting and a smile will help staff wherever possible, as the customer will feel welcome and he will not be embarrassed or shy to ask for help or assistance.

The company I have chosen is Sainsbury, it is very well known for good customer service and the catch phrase they have “every little helps” makes customers feel welcomed and wanted.

All staff at Sainsbury are always willing to help or assist you in little things as possible, because there aim is to gain customers and profit through repeat sales. I personally shop at Sainsbury and I think that I find staff attitudes very polite and pleasant.

I am now going to explain what my company is and what it does, so that it can be easier for you to understand their aims and objectives, and about their customer service.

Sainsbury history

The company J Sainsbury is a leading UK and US food retailer with interests in financial services and property. The group comprises Sainsbury's supermarket, convenience stores an internet based home delivery shopping service and Sainsbury's bank in UK and Shaw's supermarkets in US. Sainsbury’s was found in1869 by john James and Mary Ann Sainsbury. They opened their first small diary shop at 173 dury lane, soon it become popular due to high quality products at low prices and then they opened few more branches in London. A large Sainsbury’s supermarket offers around 30,000 – 50% of these are Sainsbury own brand including fresh products.

Sainsbury customer service

At Sainsbury, they meet the needs and expectations of its customers by providing first class quality goods and services to their customers. All their goods and services must be ‘satisfactory’ quality which is often linked to the price.

These objectives are describing the efforts Sainsbury is making for there external and internal customers; recognizing the needs and concerns of their customers.

J Sainsbury’s objectives are:

  1. To provide shareholders with good financial returns by focusing on customers’ needs, adding value through their expertise and innovation, and vesting for future growth.
  2. To provide unrivalled value to their customer in the quality of the goods they sell, in the competitiveness of their prices and in the range of choice they offer.
  3. To achieve efficiency of operation, convenience and customer service in their stores, thereby creating as attractive and friendly shopping environment as possible.
  4. To provide a working environment where there is a concern for the welfare of each member of staff, where all have opportunities to develop their abilitiesand where each is well rewarded for theircontribution to the success of the business.
  5. To fulfil their responsibilities by acting with integrity, maintaining high environmental standards, and contributing to the quality of the life of the community.

Good customer service

This is the objective, which in my judgment they have met best. You only have to look at there catchphrase to see “every little helps”. This shows us that they always put the customer first.

When I went to visit my local branch. I was pacifically looking at the staff members and there attitude towards the customers. During my time in Sainsbury’s I found out wherever and whenever there was a chance to help a customer they would have helped. It was like they were looking around to find people who needed help in anyway. I also saw an elderly person who wanted to the shopping. Shortly after the person had entered Sainsbury’s to do the shopping, a worker came up to him and offered help. The worker took control of his basket and shopping list and took the elderly person around the store. The worker was practically shopping with the customer. That is why Sainsbury’s get repeat customers. They know if the customer comes in Sainsbury’s and feels wanted and happy he/she will come back again. So I have to say that they have accomplished this objective and in the future they would know how to carry on.

How the needs and expectations of the influence every stage of the business activity cycle?

The NEEDS and EXPECTATIONS OF CUSTOMERS WILL VARY FROM BUSINESS TO BUSINESS:

YOU SHOULD KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS, FOR EXAMPLE BELOW ARE FEW THING WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU CUSTOMERS, IN ORDER TO FULFUL THERE NEEDS AND EXPECTATIONS.

  • WHO THEY ARE: ARE THEY INDIVIDUALS, AGED, DISABLED, OR YOUNG.
  • WHAT THEY DO:  IF IT IS A INDIVIDUAL, IT WORTH KNOWING THEIR OCCUPATION AND INTEREST, BECAUSE IF YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE YOUNG THEY MIGHT NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY YOU PRODUCT. YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL IF YOU WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD, SO THAT YOU CAN MATCH YOU OFFERINGS.
  • WHAT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD ABOUT BUYING: IF YOU KNOW WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPY, YOU CAN THEN SERVE THEM IN THE WAY THEY WANT TO BE TREATED.

ALL CUSTOMERS NEEDS WILL BE MET WITHIN AN ORGANISTAION BY A NUMBER OF EMPLOYESS WORKING IN DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS.  ALL EMPLOYESS SHOULD WORK TOGETHER FROM ALL DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS, TO ENSURE THAT T HE COMPANY IS DELIEVING WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS.

Below are some of the situations that might occur and I am going to see how my business deals with them, in other words how the customers needs are met.

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image07.pngimage00.pngimage05.pngimage06.pngimage08.pngimage00.pngimage00.png

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Customer expectations

Customer satisfaction is largely a reflection of the expectations and experiences that the customer has had with a product or service. When we make major purchases, we research the product or service and gain information from the advertising, salespersons, and word-of-mouth from friends and trust the company and it products. This information that we gather from our research persuade our expectations and ability to decide whether we want to buy a product from a certain company. We usually expect good quality, value, and the ability of the product or service to meet our needs and if that doesn’t happen we turn away to other competitors.

If you have a good customer service, then this means you sales are increased, you have more customers. I have done some research about Sainsbury supermarket analysis.

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets analysis

2004

2003

Sales3/4

£15,297m

£14,967m

Underlying operating profit2

£564m

£572m

Number of stores

583

498

Sales area (000 sq ft)

15,570

15,199

Full-time employees

45,400

44,700

Part-time employees

102,100

100,700

Before exceptional losses of £54 million (2003: £15 million) and amortization of goodwill of £11 million (2003: £13 million).

Profit before exceptional operating costs of £68 million (2003: £55 million).

image20.png

Here are some plans on how to monitor customer service standards, as customers are important to every company, especially their exiting customers. With no customers, there is no income and therefore no profit and no business. Therefore planning and setting aims are important for the company.

PLANING CUSTOMERS SERVICE STANDARDS

 Companies must plan, what their customer service standards are, in order to gain money customers and repeat sales.

SETTING AIMS, OUTLINING MEASURABLE BENCHMARKS.

  Companies should understand the importance of ensuing that customers are provided with what they want to have, for example a company should have standards against which service can be measured, targets should be achieved, if there are complaints again the staff then a meeting should be held regarding customers service on how things can be improved and the relationship between the staff and customers. If then the targets are not achieved then actions should be taken. This can involve a staff getting a warning or rules can be changed.

SETTING AIMS:  all companies have aims, this is like the basic of starting a business, some businesses don’t pay attention to customer service, and there fore they don’t set an aim for it. This can be bad for the company and stop it from growing as if the customers are not happy from the staff, then they are not likely to return, there fore company should set up a list of aims, including for customer service, that the aim is to gain more customers for example at the end of this year, comparing to last year. Sainsbury as supermarket compare there sales and profit, to last year as I have shown above, this is a good symbol for an excellent and successful company.

OUTLINING MEASURABLE BENCHMARKS:   benchmarks are points of reference. Benchmarks are realistic, clear and most of all measurable.

Performance indicators are used by many companies, to establish on how the company can be improved. image22.pngimage21.png

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Qualitative performance indicators: non- numeric indicators such as judgements or opinions, this can be achieved by surveys or questionnaires, in order to see how the company is achieving, for example Sainsbury are always willing to help and are asking them for opinions on what changed can be made as well as asking their customers about what they don’t like about the company and what they do.image24.png

Quantitative performance indicators: is a numeric indicator, this may include sales and profit levels, speed of service. All the complaints are counted about the staff in order to make changes. image26.pngimage25.png

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Implementing and monitoring customer care standards. image28.png

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Staff training about customer service is very important, as it trains the staff on how to behave and respond to all different types of customers. Often you’ll see new staff attending training at an organization’s head or office. In these training a staff might have a chance to do a role play involving different scenarios, Such as dealing with difficult customers.

Meeting performance indicators

The performances for companies are monitored frequently, to see that the indicators are designed to see whether they see are being met, if not then they intend to determine why not and take direct actions. For example: is the product of the good quality? What is the opinion of the customer?

Measuring performance

Many ways in which performance can be measured such as:

Sales levels, postage, emailing customers. Emailing customers-including electronic survey panels, postage-paid questionnaire, comment cards and forms left.

I have also seen in many outlets’ that staff regularly hand customers questionnaires with clipboards and pens. In order to get their customer opinions

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Monitoring Performance

 Monitoring customer service performance is very important, as we all know staff some times can be rude to customers, as they get tired of working all day and sometimes due to their personal issues. This can lead to bad customer service, as they end up being rude to customers.

This monitoring can be carried out in various ways:

 Regular staff meetings, staff appraisals and inspection by unknown company staff to witness Sainsbury performance. image38.png

Reviewing performance and taking action

  • Most productions need to know which customers are very pleased or not satisfied.

The following ways are reviewed in action:

  • suggestions and praise are acted upon
  •  strong negative feedback is immediately investigated
  • Suggestions and praise are acted upon
  • Further check on progress
  • Let the customer know what action has been taken
  • Brainstorming sessions with customer service staff managers and senior staff to come up with ways of overcoming problems and improving standards.

image30.png

Procedures for handling customer complaints

Sainsbury will have to deal with numerous complaints as it is a big supermarket, there might be products which are good and some might not be so good, this can lead for customers to complain about them.image39.jpg

 Careful handling of complaints is often seen as a way to keep ahead of competitors. Customers should be handled courteously, with sympathy, and feedback given to the customer as to the outcome.

If a customer complains about a phone, then 10 other customers complain about same phone customer service department should then get in contact with dept department of that product company’s and take those phones out from the stock, so that no more complains can be made.

Customer information and helplines:

There are a lot of  information Centres and help lines around us these days, most companies these days have their own help lines on which you can ring and find out about the company. For example Sainsbury has an information desk, where there are lots of leaflets and someone to guide, inform or help.

Different companies are using different methods for giving there customers the help and information they need.  Some of these methods are:  leaflets and information sheets available in stores, news letters. Customer service advice help line – usually free phone and many more like websites and emails.

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An example of how staff can be used image40.jpg

to help customers

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Resources

These are different types of resources: human, financial, time and physical.

Poor customer service means complaints about the staff, which can lead the company in to spending a lot of money, as the company will then think to train the staff, so that this mistake doesn’t happen again. Training will cost time and money, as they will have to give travel expenses and money for training their staff will cost money too.

Further more investigating the complaint and it took place is one big issue as well, this will take a lot of time and might cost money. Improving the communication between staff and employer is very important, as this can help the company. To improve the company will have to invest money for example in : telecommunication, video conferencing and webcams.

Even thought all this will cost a lot of money, this can help the customer hugely in terms of customer service and improved communication.

I think by doing little things for customers and improving your companies’ customer service can highly affect the income and profit of your business. This is good as you main aim and objective of the business is to gain profit and be successful, by making your customers happy and satisfied, you are fulfilling their needs.

By this task I have learnt a lot about customer service and how it can help the company and customers. I think every company should always take care of their customer services department and they should always make sure that the staffs they are employing are well trained in this field.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Case Studies and Analysis section.

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