One of the biggest frustrations voiced by customers is that of 'not being listened to'. For me a big bug bear was paying expensive tariffs for 4G services (and watching the delightful Kevin Bacon doing everything that I couldn't) on my iPhone due to my home being stubbornly reception free. Not to mention the unpredictable battery behaviour most noticeable whilst in London; there is an explanation which I'm not sure I understand.

When chatting to our IT support at CCA he was amazed that I wasn't using wifi calls... hadn't I received the text from my provider? Given the number of spam texts about roaming etc, I'm afraid this one bit the dust - another example of that infuriating trend of important and helpful messages being buried knee deep amongst tiresome and irrelevant junk.

I'm now the happy adopter of wifi calls at home from my beloved iPhone - no more standing in the rain or sitting in the car in the driveway for me; and I now have a free mobile charge backup device from same provider; again communicated via an (unopened) text; thanks for listening to customers EE, I'm sure I'm not alone in this!

To serve or not to serve is the question facing supermarkets as they compete for customers during one of the fiercest competitive markets in memory.   

An ‘unexpected item in the bagging area' is apparently the phrase most likely to dissuade us from using self serve in supermarkets. Morrisons is to reintroduce staffed express checkouts in stores this week after a survey found two thirds of 2,500 shoppers surveyed, steered clear of self-serve checkouts.  

Wider research from Kantar Worldpanel showed that the average British supermarket shopper now buys just 11 items, spends £15 per shop and visits stores around 5 times a week; a far cry from the days of the weekly hypermarket shop requiring a couple of trolleys and a big wallet.

David Potts CEO of Morrisons said, 'We are listening hard to our customers and responding quickly wherever possible. If customers from time to time do smaller shops they want to get in and out of our stores quickly'.

Just how easy is it to respond to customer demands, and how can organisations be sure that the data they are acting on is accurate? One blunt signal is of course a change in profits, by which time it is arguably too late to reverse a downwards spiral.

For customer service there are essentially three things to be considered.  Firstly, ensure that front-line staff are empowered to give customer feedback in a structured and sensible way.  Secondly, the organisation must adopt an attitude of listening to that feedback and not be distracted by disproportionate voices.  Good technology also has a key role to play here in ensuring that feedback can be made sense of and appropriate action taken. Finally, it’s over to the leadership team to listen and make informed decisions of the best approach for both employee and customer. 

Leadership skills is one of the important issues being addressed at CCA’s One Day MBA programme next week at RBS Gogarburn in Edinburgh.  We’re then taking some of these issues forward to our Partnership Conference at the Museum of London on 3 June, where we’ll be hearing about future customer service trends, digital transformation, customer engagement and optimising performance.  Attendance at this is complimentary for senior customer service executives.  Click here for more information.