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Employees need support to satisfy customers, says survey
According to new research from Investors in People, improving customer service is a priority for employers of all types and sizes during 2007 - and employee engagement is the route to success.
The survey of organisations that work with the Investors in People Standard found that nearly six in ten organisations (59%) plan to invest more on customer service in the coming year than they did in the last 12 months (40% will invest roughly the same). And 61% cite staff training and development and better management as the most important route for achieving this. Only a quarter (26%) point to new technology and improved communications systems as the most important area for investment.
Investors in People says employers also highlight a range of challenges that they are looking to address in order to improve customer service levels. Nearly a quarter (23%) are specifically seeking to increase employee motivation, whilst 28% are working to overcome difficulties in recruiting the right people.
Simon Jones, acting chief executive of Investors in People UK, commented: "As customer service becomes an increasingly critical way to differentiate from the competition, organisations need to make sure they are doing everything in their power to keep customers engaged.
"Unsurprisingly, 97% of organisations said that ability and attitude of staff has a significant impact on customer service. This underlines just how important it is to find the right employees and both inspire and equip them to deliver the type of service needed to create a positive customer experience."
"Employers should look to strike the balance between supporting employees, providing advice and assistance, and giving them the responsibility to respond to customer demands on an individual basis. Employees who are empowered in this way, and aren't restricted by excessive procedure, will inevitably be more motivated and inclined to go 'the extra mile' for customers."
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