Tue | Nov 12, 2019

Growth & Jobs | Companies losing billions because of bad customer service

Published:Tuesday | September 17, 2019 | 12:10 AM
Carlene Clarke (centre), head of customer experience and service recovery at JN Bank, converses with Dolsie Allen (left), chief executive officer of the Consumer Affairs Commission, and Mona-Lisa Stewart, president of the Jamaica Customer Service Association, moments before the start of the media launch of National Customer Service Week, held at the headquarters of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica on September 12.

Carlene Clarke, head of customer experience and service recovery at JN Bank, says there is need for local companies to place greater focus on quality customer service, given its impact on business continuity and the country’s growth and development.

Quoting statistics from US-based company Formilla.com, Clarke said businesses worldwide were losing an estimated $338 billion in revenue annually due to bad customer service.

“The reality is that customer service is the lifeline of any economy. In fact, almost every available statistic you can find indicates that excellent service gives most companies a competitive advantage; therefore, the lack of it can lead to the demise of that business,” she stated.

Clarke was speaking at the media launch of National Customer Service Week, held at the headquarters of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in St Andrew on Thursday, September 12.

Bad for business

“What the data indicate is that it cannot be business as usual,” she maintained. “Bad customer service can be costly for a business; and this is especially the case today because of increased competition among companies, as well as the myriad of social media platforms available for customers to share their complaints.”

Clarke said if local companies did not consistently provide excellent customer service experiences for their clients, then they face the risk of losing their clients to a competitor and, ultimately, eroding their company’s bottom line.

“In this new era, especially among our millennial generation, customers are not afraid to walk away if they are dissatisfied with the quality of service they receive,” she said.

The customer service expert further noted that creating positive and memorable experiences for clients must, therefore, be a significant component of any business’ sustainability plan.

“Our customers’ needs must be at the forefront of our core values, at all times,” she emphasised.

Chief Executive Officer of the PSOJ, Makeba Bennett-Easy, added that while it is important for companies to deliver top-quality service to their external customers, they must also remember not to neglect their employees.

“Your internal customers are also important, because if you take care of your staff members, they will take care of your clients,” she advised.

National Customer Service Week will be observed October 6 to 12 under the theme ‘Service Excellence … Our Business, Our Life.’

The Jamaica Customer Service Association will be spearheading several activities, including a two-day conference slated to be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, as well as school tours and workshops.