In today’s competitive scenario, it’s a constant struggle to retain/ gain market share. From adopting the latest and best technology to employing the best talent; to big ad-spends to discounts to brand ambassadors and promotional blitzkriegs, innumerable strategies are planned and implemented, as businesses seek to carve out a differentiated space for themselves to attract and retain customers. Irrespective of the type of industry/sector, customers have always sought and will continue to seek the best. The proliferation and widespread use of social media, and the digital era have ensured that both awareness and expectations of customers are sky high. Customers demand the best.
The key metrics impacting customer choices and driving growth include brand equity, brand positioning, technology, employee skills, innovations and ad spends. Yet, the best of brand equity, technology, skilled workforce, products, and the highest ad-spends would be meaningless and ineffectual without a solid customer-service team. Ultimately, the most important metric is customer experience.
Customer-centric organisations which are focused on ensuring the best experience for their clients find it easier to retain clients. Customers today are flooded with choices and options galore, and customer experiences, especially the not-so-happy ones are shared instantaneously. Customer service is not just reflective of how much the organisation values the customer, but about developing a long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationship and understanding their needs much before they know it. At Sodexo, we proudly lay claim to retaining 98 per cent of our clients.
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The brand ‘Sodexo’ is renowned world-wide and synonymous with delivering ‘quality of life services’ to clients, consumers and merchants. We have adopted the latest technology and our digital solutions ensure seamless ease of operation and management logistics, irrespective of the size of organisation. And at the core of this is our solid customer service team and a customer-service culture across the organisation.
So, what drives us? How does Sodexo have such an exemplary track record? Here’s why:
1. Customer service is not limited to the team handling the client. All our teams — sales, operations, customer service —follow a uniform, consistent approach, so that the client’s experience remains the same, no matter who they are dealing with.
2. Knowing our clients is a must. For us, the clients are our partners. Designing the client experience, mapping their journey, and keeping pace with their growth is vital for us to ensure the complete experience.
3. Communication and transparency are paramount. The more we communicate, the better is our comprehension of the client’s requirements, and how best we can fulfil them. All feedbacks are given due consideration and suitable remedial measures implemented when required.
4. We endeavour to comprehend the client perspectives and expectations prior to their management, so that there are no lacunae. A thorough understanding beforehand and an agreed action plan help deal with potential problems. Regular meetings and interactions to help resolve any issues which crop up are essential.
5. Building mutual trust is again equally important. We never promise what cannot be delivered while we strive to provide the best to our customers. Awareness and understanding aid in building trust and consequently client loyalty.
6. Availability of adequate support to the client at all times is crucial. A solid customer-service team ensures that the client is able to reach out at any time and be confident of a speedy resolution to any issues. Frequent contacts also help in speedy and timely diagnosis and implementation of remedial measures.
Our customer-centric approach reflects our belief that while the customers may not always be right, they must be heard without any preconceived notions, bias or prejudice. Empathy underlines our customer approach. We may have the best of brand equity, technology or skilled workforce but nothing works without a solid customer-service team. And when we boast of almost complete customer retention, it’s only because we are about customer service. For us customer service is the entire company.