“Just treat us – your customers – as you would like to be treated yourself.” It may not be rocket science but apparently it’s not so obvious that it didn’t have to be spelled out by one of the participants in our annual Financial Review Smart Investor League of Exceptional Service survey – or what we like to call SMILES.
Accessibility, user friendliness, quick responses, integration and local call centres were another five themes that came up time and time again in survey participants’ comments.
It’s the little things that count. Like keeping up to date with terminology. “Stop calling me madam! I’m not that old and I don’t run a brothel!” was another comment in reply to a question about how service providers could lift their game.
Sometimes it may just be better to call people by their name. There are people who prefer Mr or Mrs, of course (or even no name at all once introductory remarks have been made) but here’s another idea: how about you ask your customers how they prefer to be addressed.
They’d probably appreciate the courtesy and it’s not hard to make a note of their preference in their files. We’re sure you do it when they’ve been “difficult”.
And here’s an apt reminder from another respondent: “Service is not a campaign. It is a lifestyle that a company needs to adopt in dealing with its clients in all aspects.”
The SMILES survey
Thousands of readers of Smart Investor and other Financial Review publications are asked to rate their service providers.They rank them on key measures, including value for money, quality of customer experience, product features and, of course, fees and charges.
■ The scores are collated and expressed as a percentage in our 13 categories.
■ A provider needs to receive a minimum number of responses to be eligible for a particular category.
■ The winner of best provider overall needs a particularly high response benchmark.
■ Finally, the winners in 12 categories and the overall category are identified to determine which institutions are awarded the Smart Investor League of Exceptional Service mark.