U.K. Government wags finger at blas

A step-by-step guide to help businesses improve their customer services facilities will be released today by Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson.

The guide, produced on CD-ROM, is the result of research by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) into what people do and don’t want from customer service departments.

“Developing better customer service can benefit businesses and consumers alike,” said Johnson. “Even companies with the best reputations for customer service cannot rely on their laurels.”

The top 10 tips included building trust with customers, taking complaints seriously and making the most of your staff by maintaining a high level of training.

“Getting it right first time is obviously the secret of good customer service, but where mistakes happen our research shows that a well-handled complaint makes all the difference to customer loyalty,” said Philip Davis, customer services manager at Asda.

PC makers take up the gauntlet

Some PC Advisor readers may feel the DTI’s tips can’t come a moment too soon for the IT industry, where PC makers are often among the worst culprits for customer service. But leading manufacturers Evesham, Time and Tiny say improving after sales service and customer retention is already a part of their everyday working practices.

Evesham, which has received four readers awards from top-title magazines in the last six months and topped PC Advisor‘s November Service & Reliability poll, has seen its halo slip lately under the pressure of increased sales.

“I’m afraid we’re a victim of our own success,” says spokeswoman Carolyn Worth, who admits it’s sometimes hard to maintain standards in customer services, but adds that the company constantly strives to better its record.

High street box-shifter Time has recently made moves to take service a step further. In a bid to cut down on long calls to a faceless tech support hotline, the company has installed in-shop service centres to help resolve customer problems.

The price of a check-up for non-warranty owners will be fixed around