999 – Emergency Customer Service

by newchapterlearning

Have you ever thought about Customer Service and the Emergency Services in the same sentence? Well now’s the time.

Emergency Services - in the UK Top Ten for great customer service

Emergency Services – in the UK Top Ten for great customer service

When it comes to being ranked for Great Customer Service, you might be surprised that two of the top ten performers are not the traditional service industries you might think of. In fact they are two of the emergency services. In a 2012 Customer Satisfaction Survey*, the Ambulance Service came in at third with the Fire Service close behind in sixth* both behind the top performer Amazon.

When it comes to customer service, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. You can be a receptionist in a doctors’ surgery, a contact centre adviser, a waiter in a restaurant, a fireman, a paramedic, even a doctor or nurse working in a hospital. Whether you call your customers patients, or diners or clients. They are all just customers. And they expect the basic principles of customer service regardless of the industry you’re in. They expect you to serve them to the highest possible standard.

So why do you think the emergency services ranked so highly? Could any part be to do with the fact that all interactions are human to human with no automated response when you call them?

Although how straightforward would that front end automated system be?

Imagine for a moment you have an emergency and you dial 999 to be met with the dulcet tones of some automated messaging service asking which emergency service you need, then giving you the usual menu options – ” You’ve reached the emergency services, please select the most appropriate option for your current emergency. Press 1 for ambulance, press 2 for police, press 3 for fire service or press 4 for coastguard. If you’re unsure which service you require please hold the line while we try to connect you”

Because of the nature of the calls made to emergency services, then of course this situation would be ridiculous, yet for countless other customer interactions, the urgency is discounted by companies offering what they consider a better service using automated technology. How much of this automation is really for the benefit of the customer though? How much is making it easier for the business to do business, rather than making it easy for the customers? That question is a debate all of its’ own!

So in addition to the direct human interaction what else does the emergency services offer that warrants such high regard from its’ ‘customers’?

Well we know that the four key elements of customer satisfaction relate to helpfulness, ease of doing business, friendliness and efficiency.

Let’s look at each of these in turn:-

Helpfulness – Both these services definitely help their customers with their problems. They’re great at asking questions and really listening to their customers, before offering the best solution.

Ease of doing business – one easy to remember number with direct human response, yep that’s easy.

Friendliness – Absolutely. Especially good at building rapport and reassuring their customers.

Efficient – The majority of times this is assured.

They are great at meeting their customers’ needs.

Think about where you work and how your customers do business with you.  Do you think your customers expect you to be helpful, easy to do business with, friendly and efficient?

And, more importantly, are you?

What could you learn from the emergency services?

*Source of Data – The Institute of Customer Service, UK Customer Satisfaction Index results January 2012.   

New Chapter Learning Ltd are a Customer Experience and Training Consultancy based in the UK. Their goal is to give your customers a reason to love you.

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