Mary Portas

Retail guru Mary Portas has branded Britain’s customer service as ‘faceless’, but an innovative online tool will help change her opinion. Talent management consultancy company, A&DC, identified four key customer service issues after carrying out cross-sector research.

Business psychologist, Ali Shalfrooshan, used the findings to help develop A&DC’s new Customer Service Dilemmas™ tool. He says: “We worked with a wide range of companies and found four key issues.

“One area is understanding customer needs. It’s about trying to understand what the customer truly wants and providing them with a service that meets their needs.

“Another issue is delivering quality service and the willingness of the staff member to go the extra mile, or taking the opportunity to provide the best service they can.”

Shalfrooshan said the third issue is the ability of the employee to sell a better product to the customer than they one the customer originally wanted.

He said: “It’s about convincing them of the benefits of another product and providing a compelling argument as to why that product is more suitable for them.”

The fourth area is the ability of dealing with challenging customers. “It’s not just about dealing with them when they are obviously being rude, but it’s about remaining polite and calm; responding to their issues in a professional manner,” added Shalfrooshan.

The findings helped develop Customer Service Dilemmas™, which helps employers to recruit, select and develop people for business critical customer facing roles. Customers Service Dilemmas™ is a cost effective Situational Judgement Test and can be combined with a competency based interview to form a quick, reliable selection process.

Candidates have to rate several potential responses to common situations from various sectors, including retail, banking and leisure. Shalfrooshan said: “A lot of people who go into a customer service role do not know what is expected of them and for HR people it is about getting the right people from the start.

“This tool helps employers to select the right people with the correct level of judgement.”