"It's good to talk, but better to listen," says head of retail customer experience for PJH, Brett Jenkinson. Here he reveals how PJH has embraced this ethos as part of its company culture.
"Good business thinking has always promoted the importance of listening to the customer, but so few carry this through. PJH, however, has embraced this thinking, building it into its core values and desire to be its ‘customers’ first choice”: by listening, reacting, and acting on feedback, it is not only reaping the benefits, but building ever stronger partnerships with retailers.
"One such initiative that is proving phenomenally successful for us is our ‘Voice of the Customer” (VOTC) programme, which we launched September last year. VOTC’s aim was simple: to discover just what our customers really think of us, and the service we provide them. Of course, good feedback is always welcome, but we were keen to also find issues in our service delivery too so that we can not only address them, but ultimately provide the levels of support that our customers expect. It would be all too easy to design services around our business needs, however VOTC is allowing customers the ability to actually shape the service we offer them as well as giving us a unique insight into the changing needs of their business so we can evolve with them.
"Feedback we’ve received to-date has been extremely useful, and already we have implemented a number of changes as a result. For example, we’ve increased the number of contact centre staff to reduce telephone waiting times, an issue raised by a number of retailers, and we have even changed our product labels so that they are much clearer about their content. Other feedback has led to us add live stock information, order tracking, status and product enquiry features to Partners Portal, our on-line sales channel. Partners Portal was always popular but more recently has been such a critical communications and sales channel for our customers through the on-going coronavirus situation. In fact, feedback about our Partners Portal channel has highlighted its importance to our customers, and as a result it receives enormous on-going investment to provide more features and tools as well as many back-office improvements such as speed gains and an evolving user interface. From simply asking, understanding, and implementing what our customers want from Partners Portal, sales through the channel are growing exponentially and breaking year-on-year revenue figures.
"Listening to our customers is not a singular event, it is an on-going process that we will repeat over and over. The feedback we have direct from customers is proving to be the most valuable information we have.
"Perhaps through necessity rather than design, the coronavirus crisis has seen us all having to change the way we are working and more quickly than we ever thought possible. The ability to know what the customer needs has never been more important than now, and whilst we must all find the time to communicate change with our customers, it will be those that listen to their needs and change accordingly that will see success in the future."