How Utility Companies Can Keep Customers with Six Sigma
As the global economy heads slowly but surely into recovery, businesses will be making it their priority to both retain old and attract new customers. However, with their competitors aiming to do exactly the same thing, they will have to develop a sound customer service strategy to ensure they remain in favor.
One way an increasing number of firms are opting to improve their customer experience is by adopting Six Sigma. The business management strategy is centered on cutting out errors and inconsistencies, which are exactly what put customers off from re-using a brand, meaning Six Sigma is useful for any customer focused business.
Six Sigma in the Utilities Industry
One industry which is very customer focused is undoubtedly the utilities sector. Gas, water and electricity companies are continually vying to provide the lowest prices; however, many customers would be more likely to stay with a company that they know provides them with consistently good service, rather than one which is slightly cheaper.
In order to implement Six Sigma effectively, firms must examine all of the processes related to their customers, from the way they communicate with them to the way they store their details.
A good place to start is by using Six Sigma in the call center, as this is where most customers interact with a company, and a common complaint is that people are left waiting on the end of the phone too long or are not able to get an answer to their query.
According to the Aveta Business Institute, sending call center workers for Six Sigma certification can help them understand exactly what a customer's needs are and help them to develop strong positive relationships.
Most call centers already have a set process in place for answering phones and speaking to customers; however, this process can often be improved and speeded up by eliminating unnecessary steps.
If the process takes less time, employees can take more calls and customers are not left waiting as long.
Six Sigma can also help employers utilize call center space to the best effect, meaning more employees can be answering calls and customers will be waiting less time.
Getting Staff to Embrace Six Sigma
In order to make Six Sigma strategies for improving customer experience as effective as possible, it is vital to ensure that all staff members are fully onboard.
If the whole company is behind an initiative, it is more likely to take off and Six Sigma Green Belts focus on helping get all staff members onboard by reiterating and motivating employees to make the customer happy.
Sending staff to Six Sigma training can help them understand what customers' needs are and how to cater to them effectively. It is vital that all team members are working to the same goal, as if a customer has one negative experience they are likely to think badly of the whole company.
According to the Aveta Business Institute, putting a specially-appointed quality management team in place can help ensure that all staff members are able to confidently put the company’s message out there and handle issues, whether positive or negative, as they come.
Six Sigma and General Electric
One utilities company which is renowned for its use of Six Sigma is General Electric.
Since adopting the strategy in 1996, General Electric has assessed all of its operation and asked itself what defects exist and what impact they have on customers, what parts of its service are most important to customers, and what variations exist in terms of how customers feel about its products and services.
This led to around $10 billion (£6.4 billion) in savings in the first five years of implementation alone, demonstrating how effective Six Sigma can be if approached in the right manner.
The lesson other utilities firms can learn from General Electric is that good customer service is one of the best ways to boost profits. If people are happy with both the product and service they receive, then not only will they return, they will recommend the business to a friend. However, they will also spread the word about any bad experiences, making it imperative for firms looking to spread their wings in the recovery pay extra attention to their customer service.