Customer Care Award Sponsored by Abellio Greater Anglia
The Customer Care award is a celebration of those businesses which can demonstrate a proven commitment of putting its customers first.
Sponsored by rail operator Abellio Greater Anglia, last year’s winners Naked Wines impressed judges with the pride it showed in going the extra mile for customers and how the business strove to meet customers’ needs and also raise standards.
Jonathan Denby, head of corporate affairs at Abellio Greater Anglia, said of Naked Wines’ success: “Securing quick, detailed feedback from customers, and acting in direct response to that input, has led to a reduction in the number of customers cancelling their accounts. In turn, higher customer retention has delivered increased sales and added significant value to the company.
“Care for the staff leads to care for the customers and with every employee being a shareholder, their mission is to ensure that all customers are well served – an approach which is a fundamental bedrock of the company’s strategy and success.”
He added that the awards fitted in with the rail operator’s own goals of improving the customer experience.
“We’re passionate about delivering excellent customer service and ensuring that the railways play their full part in helping our region to be both economically prosperous and a wonderful place to live,” he said. “We are therefore committed to consistently raising customer service standards.
“In addition, we will continue to maintain a constant focus on passengers’ key priorities – reliability and customer service.
“Customer satisfaction has increased during our franchise (and we won the British Quality Foundation’s Achievement in Customer Satisfaction Award in 2013), but we know passengers are looking for greater consistency and more enhancements.
“So the importance of customer care is something that resonates strongly with our company and explains our support for the Customer Care award. Already, over our first two years of operation, we have made progress on a number of the key priorities highlighted by our customers, with much better performance, far fewer weekends affected by disruptive engineering work, better communication with passengers (via our website, Twitter and Journey Check updates) and easier ticket purchase (with more ticket vending machines, more on-line booking options, smartphone ticketing and “print-at-home” trials for advance purchase tickets).
“We’ve also been upgrading stations, improving interchange facilities and smartening
up some of our trains.
“Significant steps for Norfolk have been the refurbishment of many of the local trains and the opening of the ‘Cycle Station’ cycle hire facility at Norwich station.”
Judges will be looking for entries from businesses which show a clear focus on their customers’ needs, examples of customer-driven initiatives designed to raise service standards and evidence of increased customer satisfaction.
Submissions should also illustrate how employees are consistently doing their best for customers and seeking to continuously improve their performance.
From product development to service delivery to the handling of service problems, every aspect of the customer experience drives customer loyalty and better commercial performance, so entries should outline the business’ overall customer service strategy.
The finalists will be those businesses which demonstrate how they exemplify outstanding customer service, consistently delivered at the highest level, by a customer-focused individual or team.
By providing customer service that is second to none, Stalham-based Richardson’s aims to be the first choice for anyone wishing to holiday in Norfolk, offering a quality value for money product in a safe, attractive, fun and memorable environment.
The business demonstrated a very impressive set of metrics collected, tracked and monitored, communicated back to the teams and acted upon to the benefit of the many returning and new customers.
Consistency, empowerment of the team and a willingness of managers to listen to and act upon feedback means that the business is performing well and able to invest significantly into their offering to customers enabling the business to live up to its vision to “expand, excel, excite”.
Recruiting, training and retaining excellent staff is the principle behind exemplary customer service and Vanessa Scott embodies these principles.
Over the last 20 odd years the business has adapted, grown and embraced change as customers priorities and expectations have shifted.
Each visitor experience is analysed and findings discussed in the team’s weekly meetings and every visitor is asked in advance whether they have any special requests or needs.
Staff are valued, invested in and best practice visits organised so that the team can talk knowledgeably about what they offer to their customers and what features Norfolk has to offer.
Dairy Barns, set on a working family farm in Hickling, offers a warm welcome to their B&B and holiday cottage guests as well as those enjoying a wedding or special occasion. Ian and Hannah Deane welcome people to their home with a smattering of luxury and a relaxed atmosphere, and the whole team takes pride in doing everything possible to help visitors enjoy their stay.
A keen eye on customers, from initial contact through to their many return trips means that customers become loyalists and visitors can be sure of dedicated and committed service from start to finish.
Consistency, clarity of objectives define the business and customer service is measured through close measuring of Trip Advisor, one-to-one communications with guests and the number and range of individual thank yous received.
It may look easy to deliver high customer service levels, but it takes determination, a great team and a lot of hard work.
"We are very clear that these awards are about broadcasting far and wide the message that our business community has plenty to offer and contribute to our economic success as a region and the wider economic good."Shaun LowthorpeEDP Business Editor