More and more businesses are cottoning on to this, which has led to the term “customer experience” becoming something of a buzzword over the last few years.
Like all buzzwords, some businesses believe that just saying the term a lot – in meetings, on newsletters, on their website, etc. – is enough. Others take things a little more seriously, and actively go out of their way to implement the lessons they’ve learnt to achieve real, tangible results.
At Churchill Security, we like to think we fall into the latter category. In fact, we’ve put customer experience at the very heart of our business.
In this article, we’re going to explain what customer experience is, why it’s important to us and what we’ve done to maximise it.
What is customer experience? How is it different to customer service?
Customer experience is bigger than customer service. Customer service assesses the way you speak to customers. For example, it looks at how polite your staff are, how helpful they are, how long customers are left on hold, how quickly you reply to social media messages and email enquiries, etc.
Customer experience is your customers’ overall impression of your business or brand. This means customer experience includes everything between the time a customer first finds out about your business through to the support they get once their product is delivered. As such, website usability, customer service, product quality and support are all included in customer experience.
With a definition this broad, you may think that customer experience is too vague to be useful. However, that’s absolutely not true. For businesses that take customer experience seriously, customer experience refers to nothing less than a complete shift in mindset.
It’s all too easy for businesses to forget about their customers. Although this may seem counter intuitive, once you factor in all the other elements required for a business to operate effectively – such as marketing, operations, finance, recruitment, and so on – you can imagine how easy it is for the customers themselves to fall to the bottom of the pile.
By focusing on customer experience, businesses are able to re-orientate their thinking so that everything is seen through a customer-centric lens. This helps them to ensure any changes they make – or decisions they take – are in their customers best interest.
For example, imagine a company is looking to upgrade their website. They get two web development companies to draw up a plan. The first wants to create a homepage with a beautiful video background that plays automatically as users navigate the site, puts images of the directors and their bios just at the top of the page and pushes links to particular services to the bottom of the page.
The second company embeds an informational video on the page which users have to click before it begins playing, puts clickable links to services right at the top of the page and uses the rest of the space to explain the company’s objectives and what their customers can expect.
Which is better?
Well, the first may seem better to the directors because of its aesthetic and because it promotes them as individuals. However, seen through the eyes of customer experience, the second is clearly preferable.
This is because that beautiful auto-playing video takes a lot of time to load (not to mention, it eats up users’ data), presents information about directors that is not relevant to customers immediate requirements and makes it harder for users to find the service or information they’re looking for.
The second avoids each of these pitfalls. Instead, it presents the user with all relevant information straight off the bat, makes navigation to the service they require simple and loads quickly.
It’s clear that the concept of customer experience can help businesses. But when businesses focus on customer experience, it’s the customers themselves that benefit most.
Even today, many businesses are ignoring their customers’ needs. This is why, especially in the UK, so many customers are dissatisfied with their interactions with companies. For years, companies have been trying to make customer service as cost-effective as possible as opposed to as good as possible. This has led to a situation in which many companies – especially large companies – are regularly letting their customers down.
One of the issues many customers find irritating is the automation and efficiency measures that some businesses have applied to customer service – such as chat bots, poorly-designed IVR systems, automated query form replies and customer service scripts.
Although these measures may save businesses time and money, they often do so at their customers’ expense. A chat bot may reduce the number of incoming calls a business receives and therefore how many customer service agents a business needs to employ. But they can also make it much harder for customers to get answers to their specific queries.
We’re not saying these measures and technologies are always bad. We’re saying that, when they’re implemented as a cost saving measure rather than as a way to improve customer service, they often are.
On the other hand, when businesses emphasise customer experience, customer interactions become quicker and easier. Whether it’s asking a question, requesting a quote or purchasing a product or service, customers will notice that companies are faster, more responsive and more thoughtful.
In our own industry – the private security industry – customer experience is arguably more important than ever. Because we are responsible for protecting our clients’ premises, assets and staff, it’s essential that they are able to trust us completely. And the best way to gain trust is to perform competently and consistently, and to be responsive to each clients’ individual needs.
What does it mean to place customer service at the centre of your business?
Well, it means different things for different businesses.
At Churchill Security, it means putting in place a series of measures to ensure each of our customers, potential customers and any other stakeholders are guaranteed an industry-leading customer experience.
Calls Answered Within Three Rings
No one wants to be left on hold. In fact, research shows that being put on hold is consumers’ number one customer service pet hate. We understand how frustrating it is for customers to be left on the line – especially in today’s busy world.
As such, we aim to answer all incoming calls within three rings. And we don’t mean by a machine or IVR service – we mean by a real-life human being.
No Telephone Scripts
Another customer service bugbear is the use of customer service scripts. More often than not, these place unnecessary restrictions on customer service agents – and actually make their job more difficult. We trust our customer service agents. And we train them properly. This simple combination means that we never use customer service scripts, since our staff are competent enough to answer any questions and resolve any issues themselves.
Tailored Security Solutions
The UK private security sector has seen an influx of new providers. Unfortunately, some of these new providers do not live up to the standards consumers expect. One of the reasons for this is that these many of providers are attempting to use off-the-shelf solutions to meet different clients’ needs.
For example, a retail store will require very different security measures to an office. Indeed, one retail store may require very different security measures to another. As such, an off-the-shelf solution won’t work.
We believe that the only way to ensure our clients receive the protection they require is to assess each of their needs individually. This assessment informs exactly what services they require – meaning that they never pay for services they don’t need and that their property remains as secure as possible.
Easily Contactable and Responsive
It’s not enough to do a fantastic job once. A truly customer-centric company will strive to exceed its customers’ expectations every time they interact with it.
To make sure our new and existing customers are properly looked after, we make getting in touch with our team as easy as possible – and go out of our way to ensure that all queries are answered promptly and professionally.
In today’s digital world, many consumers prefer to reach out to businesses online rather than via the phone. We want our customers to be able to reach us through whatever medium they choose – whether that’s email, social media or telephone.
As such, in addition to phone calls, we give our customers the ability to reach us via an easy-to-use query form on our website and via our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Whatever works for them.
When it comes to procuring professional security services, it’s far easier to get all of the services you need from one provider than to shop around for different solutions. So that our customers are able to access all of the services they may need, we offer a comprehensive range of security services.
• Static guarding
• Mobile patrols
• CCTV installation, monitoring and maintenance – as well as mobile CCTV
• Store detectives
• Security consultancy
• Event security and crowd control
• Health and safety, fire safety and first aid trained security officers
• Keyholding and alarm response
• And more
A Friendly, Approachable Team
We want you to enjoy the time you spend communicating with our business. That’s why we have deliberately built a friendly and approachable team.
No matter what your enquiry is, how much experience you’ve had with the security industry before, what size of business you run or if you’re just an individual looking for wedding security or security for a big birthday bash, our staff will be professional and respectful.
When you choose Churchill Security, you can expect to receive industry leading services and an excellent customer experience.
And don’t just take our word for it.
The UK security industry is overseen by a governmental body known as the Security Industry Authority (SIA). This organisation issues security licenses, develops new regulation and assesses private security companies.
The top 15 percent of all security companies belong to a group called the ACS Pacesetters. The group was created by the SIA as a way to give consumers an easy way to identify the very best security providers.
Churchill Security belongs to the top five percent of all UK security companies, and as such is a top-tier member of the ACS Pacesetters. In order to achieve and retain our position, we have to undergo comprehensive and regular assessments.
These assessments are designed to ascertain whether:
• We provide an industry-leading level of service.
• Whether we provide an excellent level of customer service to our clients.
• And whether we provide a high degree of care for our employees.
Belonging to the top five percent of all companies within the ACS Pacesetters is testament to the amount of work we put in to making sure our customers and staff are properly looked after.
In addition to security industry accreditations such as the ACS Pacesetters, we have also independently sought a number of external accreditations. By ensuring that we achieve accreditation, we are able to ensure that all areas of our business are up to scratch.
Other accreditations include:
• ConstructionLine Membership – As a Member of ConstructionLine, our services have been proven to meet the required health and safety standards required for carrying out public and private sector construction industry work. The assessment also looked at finance and other working practices.
• SafeContractor Approved – The SafeContractor scheme provide a thorough health and safety audit service for contractors. In order to gain our Approved status, our health and safety procedures, policies and documentation was thoroughly reviewed by and independent assessor.
• ISO 9001 Certified (Quality Management) – The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest international standard setting body. ISO 9001 focuses on customer service and is awarded to companies which are able to show that they provide high levels of care.
• ISO 14001 Certified (Environmental Management) – ISO 14001 is awarded to organisations which are able to show that they are actively involved in reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency – as well as other measures aimed at managing environmental impact.
• OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety Management) – OHSAS 18001 certifies that an organisation has excellent health and safety processes and that it is committed to reducing accidents, complying with health and safety legislation and improving overall health and safety performance.
Our ambition has always been to provide cost-effective, industry-leading security services to companies operating in all industries. Founded as a local security company in 1993, we’ve since grown to become one of the UK’s leading security providers. Today, we are able to provide expert security anywhere in the UK.
We believe that this success and growth is due to our approach to customer service and customer experience. With a customer retention rate of 95 percent, we understand how important it is to ensure our customers are treated properly.
All of our guards are SIA-licensed, thoroughly vetted and trained to the highest industry standards. This means that, when you choose Churchill Security, you can be sure that you’ll get the protection you need.
However, we also understand that customer experience can always be improved – even for the very best companies. As such, we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide. Whether tits by gaining more accreditations or implementing customer feedback, our service is always getting better.
Churchill Security provides a comprehensive range of security services and operates nation-wide. Whatever your security needs, we’ll be able to provide a solution that works for you.