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Posts from May 2017

The quality of your product is paramount, but the quality of your customer service isn't far behind. Increasingly consumers are expecting excellent levels of customer service, and if they don't get it from your business, they'll look elsewhere. In 2015, over one-quarter of consumers (28%) expressed a preference for the highest levels of customer service even if it cost them more*.  
But what makes excellent customer service? Well, there are lots of different elements - from the provision of clear information to good communication to quick resolution of customers' problems. One aspect that's got a growing amount of attention in recent years, though, is the personalisation of customer service. A survey by US customer experience company Genesys found that 40% of consumers most wanted "better human service" from the companies they do business with. People want to feel that they're doing business with other people, not with a computer.  
 
So how do you make your customer service more personal?  
 
Use names 
 
Encourage your staff to always use names, both theirs and the customer's, to make the interaction more personal.  
 
Put a face to the name 
 
Give your business a human face - literally - by using photos of your staff whenever you can, from the 'meet the team' part of your website to email signatures.  
 
Make sure they're geniune photos though - a cheesy stock isn't going to cut the mustard.  
 
Mutual support  
 
It may not be practical for the bigger companies, but small firms who can use social media to build stronger personal relationships with customers. If a customer follows you on Twitter, follow them back. If they tweet something relevant to your brand, interact.  
 
Know your customers  
 
If anything's bound to frustrate a customer, it's having to repeat themselves to different representatives of the same firm. Always take thorough notes of a conversation - particularly a complaint - so that should they contact you again, you can quickly look through their notes.  
 
Be prepared to step away  
 
When you're buying in person, there are few things more annoying than an over-zealous shop assistant who pounces on you the minute you walk in the store and then proceeds to hover. The online equivalent is being bombarded with unwanted promotional tweets and newsletters. Show your customers that you want to provide geninue help rather than always doing the hard sell by making it easy for them to opt out.  
 
* UK Customer Satisfaction Index, July 2016 
14 - 20 May 2017 is Dementia Awareness Week across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Orpington is pulling out all the stops to rise to the Alzheimer Society's challenge to unite against this disease.  
An estimated 4,000 people in Bromley borough are living with dementia. A disease of the brain, it impairs a person's attention, orientation, memory, judgement, language, motor and spatial skills and function. Unsurprisingly then, people with dementia are often reluctant to use public transport, shops and services, which can make them - and their carers - increasingly isolated.  
 
Local businesses and organisations are working together to make our town dementia-friendly. By raising awareness of the needs of people with dementia and providing a supportive environment for them, it's hoped that they and their carers can continue to enjoy the many facilities and services that Orpington has  
to offer.  
There are a whole host of events planned in Orpington throughout Dementia Awareness Week. Some of the highlights include: 
 
Tuesday 16 May, Orpington High Street will host a dementia bus, which simulates how difficult even everyday tasks can be for people living with dementia. It's hoped that by taking part in the virtual dementia experience, local businesses and service providers will get a better understanding of how to support people with dementia. 
 
Also on Tuesday 16 May, Tesco Orpington will host Bromley dementia services, giving members of the public the opportunity to find out more about the local support available for people with dementia and their carers.  
 
Thursday 18 May, the Odeon Orpington will host the first dementia-friendly film screening to be held in Odeon Cinemas; as well as engaging the brain and stimulating emotions, being part of the cinema audience can help people with dementia and their carers to feel less isolated.  
Raising awareness of the needs of people with dementia is an essential part of creating a dementia-friendly community, but of course real change will take more than just a week. That's why the Bromley Dementia Support Hub and Bromley Dementia Action Alliance are using Dementia Awareness Week to ask local businesses and organisations to commit to taking steps such as: 
 
providing awareness training for customer-facing staff. 
making small, dementia-friendly changes to signage and literature 
raising awareness among customers through in-store displays and information.  
 
Firms that go the extra mile for their customers with dementia will also have the chance to be recognised at next year's Orpington Finest Awards, with the new Clayton Turner Dementia Award.  
 
Businesses and local organisations aren't the only stakeholders with a responsibility to make Orpington more dementia-friendly; members of the public also have a role to play. Throughout Dementia Awareness Week, there will be a series of Dementia Friends Sessions, including one at Orpington Library. At these sessions, people will learn what it's like to live with dementia, and be shown how to put that learning into practice - from telling your friends and family about it, to being patient with people you meet.  
 
Dementia is set to be the 21st century's biggest killer, yet awareness and understanding remains low; we're proud that the Orpington Community is working together to change this.  
 
For more information on Dementia Awareness Week in Orpington, visit http://www.bromleydementiasupporthub.org.uk/dementia-awareness-week-2017/ 
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