wage gap

‘More Please Sir’ …

The client service twist!

Have you ever wondered if there was a link between client service and employee happiness?  I am of the opinion that if you enjoy your job and if the company culture allows you to be happy, you make an effort to know your business and give quality service.  And so the tale begins…

The advancement in technology over the past few decades has made it super easy for us to get on in this life.   I mean from instant meals to data calls.  Can you even imagine waiting for anything anymore?  We are encouraged to do cell phone banking instead of walking into a bank to interact with a human person.  ‘Hey send your application electronically instead of printing it and handing it to the guy at the counter – no mess; no fuss.’


This is all in the effort to clean up our lives, our working environment and our planet – so we can have more time to “balance other things”, like work-life! The unintended consequence is that it allows us to be super detached from the human experience.  To add insult to injury, soon we will be replaced by some robot because AI is totally hot right now.  I mean everywhere you go, everywhere you shop, everywhere you spend your money, very few possess the capacity to interact with each other, especially in client service.  


SOOO what had happened was, in this “super hi-tech world”, I called my bank to I ask them to please… please guy at the contact centre, mail my bank statements to me electronically via my  email. After all this is a ‘paperless world’ we are trying to create here. With this Inconvenient Truth in my arsenal of 13 reasons why, I get a nonchalant: “yes, yes that will be done.  That is correct it will not be delivered to your home address anymore.” – Thank you bye-bye!


Well month one, I get it posted to my home address; my physical address, not even postal address – wow! Called the contact centre yet again, went through the same “rinse –repeat” deal. Month two, the same thing happened. Eventually I walked into a branch and requested what I had requested telephonically on various occasions before.  Signed documents, scanned for fingerprints, gave a DNA and blood sample and voila an hour later – easy- peazy! I was told at the branch that the contact centre agent should have informed me that I needed to come into the branch because of the documents I needed to sign – I mean[ insert super shocked face emjoi here].


The “after sales service” practice in South Africa is truly shocking. Once a company has you sign on the dotted line; no further communication is entered into. Human interaction becomes extinct.  All you get is a monthly statement, which reads rather more like a Dear John letter dressed up as a summons,   ‘Dear Client, thank you so much for your business, but you’ve been served, with Love…us!’


What is happening? Why are businesses not paying attention to the details? The small stuff actually still matters. In this fast-paced world, surely we need to go back and work even smarter when it comes to relationship building.  Or is that a thing of the past? Has the client become obsolete? It is said: “A fish rots from the head”. 


I believe that if client satisfaction is not embedded in your company’s values then you will fail at every level!


According to JD Power ‘2017 India Client Service Index (CSI) Study’, vehicle owners today places a significantly high premium on after-sales experience and client satisfaction. It is evident that these factors, in turn, also influence their overall perceptions of a brand, and the decision to buy.


 So what should change in the client experience? How about hiring people who actually care about people?  Especially if your hire them as client care staff. Client service must be part of your values.  Embedding it in your company culture becomes so natural it will positively affect your ROI. Client service should be fluid, not learned.  It should be evident from the CEO to the security guard at your gate.


These are the companies who understand the true meaning of client service and the value of human interaction. I work for such a company.  At 21st Century, our values are simple: Helpful, Caring, Quality, Honesty, Speed and Innovation.  This is so easy to understand and super easy to create a narrative which speaks to our employee value propositions and our customer satisfaction. Your values do not have to be complicated; it just needs to be agile enough to work in this hi-tech, self-absorbed life we live in.


Our story is timeless. We look after the people who work at this organisation.  We treat them with care and respect.  Even after they signed on our dotted line; we still manage to walk this journey with them.  We celebrate in their personal achievements. When they get married, have babies and buy cars. We mourn with them through their losses. When they eventually leave us to join another organisation, we encourage them to grow and spread their wings.  We even continue our relationship with them and celebrate with them. 


 This is why it is so easy for every member of our team to give excellent client service. This culture is a part of our DNA. We hire people who are not afraid to live this culture.  We hire people who are sold out to this vision because it speaks to their own value system.  People who listen, I mean really listen to their clients.  We communicate every change which affects a client. We make an effort to understand each department in this organisation. This allows us to give out clients a holistic business solution.  All we do is keep it simple, keep it clean and yes we still remain innovative.  When clients leave their organisations, they simply introduce their new organisations to us. And we love beginning the new journey with them.


This is not rocket science.  It is just common sense.  Make your values easy enough to be embedded in the culture and then live it. Live it through your people and then watch it filter through to your clients!

Written by:


Sharlene Herandien
Training Manager

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