Improving customer service is seen as critical to any business in today’s’ economic climate. With a number of awards for employee engagement and customer service the serviced office operator Business Environment has published its first Service Excellence Guarantee. Providing details of the expected level of service its clients should expect from a smile at reception for visitors to providing refreshments and handling post.
To understand the extent of awareness about levels of customer service in businesses the serviced office operator undertook an extensive poll of over 1,000 UK businesses. The study found that less than a quarter (23 per cent) were aware of their firm’s corporate social responsibility policy, less than a third (27 per cent) knew their employer’s service guidelines, and only half (53 per cent) had knowledge of the HR policy. Only 43 per cent claimed to know their company’s structure, while a quarter (24 per cent) reported they were not aware of any of these policies and guidelines whatsoever.
David Saul, MD of Business Environment, said: “Given the importance of clear published codes, we were surprised by how low the awareness of company guidelines was amongst UK office workers. Information such as company structure and customer service policy is often imparted as part of the induction process, so it is especially disheartening that the information is only retained by a minority of people.
“We consider low knowledge of service guidelines as a particular worry – in our view these are absolutely essential to business. Without a clear code of how clients and suppliers are treated, it is more difficult to ensure consistent standards, and customer retention could suffer as a result.”
The survey did show support for management programmes such as Investors in People (IIP), with more than half (52 per cent) reporting that they believed it was important to have an accreditation from IIP or similar. Of these, 14 per cent considered it “extremely important.”
Nick Gandy, Director of Business centres said: “The best way to transform business performance is through people. As a result, guidelines, standards and frameworks, when used appropriately, can be hugely effective. Our teams are the most important part of our business. The service they deliver every day has a direct impact on our business. The Service Excellence Guarantee provides clear guidelines for every part of our business that really ensures a consistent delivery no matter which location you choose”.
The Business Environment Service Excellence Guarantee contains guidelines on all areas of the business, from front-of-house service with a smile to cooling and heating systems in offices, presentation of employees and emergency procedures for power failures. The intention is to ensure that, no matter what the location, staff or situation, standards of service are completely consistent.
David Saul said: “We’re so confident in our ability to provide a top level service that we’re putting our promises in black and white for everyone to see. In the serviced office sector, where it is essential that our clients get the most out of their working day, the service levels provided by us can be crucial in providing a successful working environment.”