Omega Blog

Companies with poor customer service losing out to competition

Posted on 25 June, 2013

Consumers lead busy lives and are becoming less tolerant of poor customer service. With the internet giving people additional access to new brands and better deals, companies often turn to customer service as a way to distinguish themselves from the competition. Unfortunately, not every business is finding it easy to routinely provide outstanding customer experiences. The Wall Street Journal reports that some fast-food restaurants, such as McDonald's, are seeing a drop in sales because of poor customer experiences.

"What we're seeing in the fast-food sector is that there's not a clear differentiator between the chains," Euan White, senior vice president of consumer markets at Dunnhumby, told the source. "They all have a very strong focus on price and promotions, but experience is what builds customer loyalty, so there's a lot of consumers switching between fast-food outlets."

Empower employees to make a difference
Businesses in every industry depend on their ability to meet customer expectations to generate repeat sales. McDonald's is losing out to companies such as Panera Bread and Starbucks that have placed a strong emphasis on friendly service. However, improving brand loyalty is harder than simply telling employees to smile and be positive. Companies need to develop meaningful goals that help workers understand and deliver quality service.

Writing for Fast Company, Barbara Apple Sullivan, CEO of a brand engagement firm, stated that companies need to take steps to empower employees to make the right decisions. Sullivan noted that every interaction is an opportunity to win loyalty and improve a brand's reputation. When workers understand what an organization stands for, it is easier for them to become ambassadors of the brand and deliver value to audiences.

Communicating effectively with customers
Sullivan said that good customer service often started with training employees about the value of their roles and how it affects potential leads. This ensures that everyone in the company is dedicated to providing great service. Companies losing sales because of poor service should consider rewarding individuals who have exceeded customer expectations to set examples for other workers. This policy can prevent companies from being unresponsive to service issues, which recently damaged the reputation of inter-city bus service BoltBus, according to Social Media Today. When a driver got lost on a trip from New York to Philadelphia, passengers used the company's social media feed to report the delays and issue complaints. However, BoltBus failed to respond to the issue, compounding the disappointment and frustration of the passengers.

An open dialogue is an essential part of building effective customer experience management strategies. The Guardian reported that businesses need to routinely collect feedback on their services to refine their approach to customer care. Patrons' preferences change and companies that fail to adapt can see declining satisfaction. Without an honest dialogue​, organizations will be unable to deliver outstanding service each and every time.

Businesses that consistently exceed customer expectations for service and support may be eligible to receive Omega Management Group's NorthFace ScoreBoard AwardSM. This industry award establishes recipients as innovative leaders in achieving service excellence based solely on feedback from their own customers.