Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Impact of Name Badges on Customer Satisfaction

Research into customer satisfaction is uncovering some very interesting results. A study of 116,000 mystery shopper reports in the UK, Australia and New Zealand by independent research uncovered that name badges can increase customer satisfaction by 12%. They concluded that by making sure employees are easily recognizable helps to create a warm, friendly and professional atmosphere.

The study was carried out by mystery shopping and customer experience experts Shopper Anonymous ( They found that when a range of businesses introduced name badges for all staff, customer satisfaction ratings rose by 12% almost overnight in comparison to those that didn't require staff to wear badges.

It appears that customers wanted staff to be wearing badges so they could distinguish between staff and other customers and said they trusted staff wearing name badges and were more likely to build up a relationship conducive to making a sales with someone who wasn't anonymous.

John Bancroft, managing director of Europe's largest name badge manufacturer thinks the choice of design is an extra opportunity to help boost your brand. "We can manufacture customer-made bespoke name badges, in line with a company's corporate identity." According to John, "it is very rare to go into a quality establishment these days and find staff are not wearing name badges. The benefits are clearly proven."

While the words of the badge manufacturer may be expected, the dramatic increase of customer satisfaction based on a study of such a large magnitude supports his notion.

The bottom line is that simple things, such as a name badge, that help make the customer shopping experience easier seems like a no-brainer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Six Sigma Impact on Customer Satisfaction

There is an article in the Ezine/ that is titled "Increase Your Customer Satisfaction with Six Sigma". The article is brief and seems to make the point that the process of eliminating waste and boosting productivity has a direct relationship on customer satisfaction. While The Customer Institute agrees that eliminating waste and boosting productivity will have a positive impact on costs, the relationship to customer satisfaction is far from being clear.

One can make the case that eliminating waste and boosting productivity can reduce the costs of call center operations but will also have a negative impact on customer satisfaction. In general,maximizing productivity in a call center will have the opposite impact on customer satisfaction. Imagine a call coming in and the agent on the phone minimizes the time dealing with the customer. It is likely that the customer is going to have an decreased satisfaction with the company. The customer service industry knows from experience that there is a balance between productivity and time with the customer. Often when a customer calls in and the call is minimized, the likelihood of a call back increases dramatically thus increasing costs and reducing productivity. Probably the worst case would be to have a customer wait on the line for multiple minutes and then have the agent be friendly but very brief.

This scenario of balancing time with the customer and productivity works for almost all service-oriented businesses. Service executives have learned that each customer contact requires solving the customer problem (sales or service) and making sure the customer believes his reason for the contact has been met. There have been a number of studies that have shown that taking extra time with a customer not only increases customer satisfaction but also builds a customer relationship that increases the likelihood of additional business.

Nordstrom is an excellent example in the retail market place for the positive impact of taking extra time and not worrying about productivity. Sears is an example of a retail operation that worried maybe a little too much about productivity. Costco is a story unto itself and requires a separate blog.

The bottom line is that six sigma might work well within the brick walls of a factory but when dealing with customers directly, being lean and boosting productivity is not the solution.

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