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Putting Customers In The Front

HM Revenue and Customs recent failure in the handling of its customers calls reaffirms the need for businesses to regularly put customer service at its forefront.

According to the members of the Public Accounts Committee, HMRC was accused of not responding to 50% of its customers phone calls against its target of 80%. 

Learning from their demise, we’ve gathered six innovative ways small businesses can approach customer service.


Nothing frustrates customers more than actions that don’t reflect expectations.


Disasters happen so you need to make allowance for these beforehand. Act fast and communicate your action plan to those you are trying to help. Nobody likes cover ups and the truth will eventually come out.

Operate on Values

Be values based rather than rules. Remember that you can’t fully advise your team about every eventuality and the dangers that they might face when dealing with customers. You need to provide a service with a human touch effect to avoid embarrassing situations, which could lead to “computer says no” moments.

Team Empowerment

Delegate and let your team members take the responsibility of turning an unhappy customer into one that will be loyal to your brand for a lifetime. Make them feel that you’ve equipped them with the right tools and skills to perform their roles. Your team members need to be confident that they have been fully trained to become an effective face of the brand.

Response Rate

Treat your customers as individuals and make an effort to reply to customers feedback. They’ve taken time to send you comments concerning the service you’ve provided so it is common courtesy to acknowledge their communication as quickly as possible to ensure the survival of your business. The last thing you want to do is upset your customer, which could have a damaging effect on your brand image.

Negative Feedback

Don’t take negative feedback personally – it is about the customer. You will not always notice which areas about your service or product needs improving. This is why customers feedback is good as it enlightens you on what needs to be improved.

Duncan Cheatle has over 15 years of championing UK enterprise and has worked with over 1000 entrepreneurs. He has founded and co-founded several enterprise support initiatives including The Prelude Group and Supper Club.

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