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How a focus on customer service can lead to successful business performance


In today’s business world, communication is constantly adapting to new technologies. When it comes to customer service, communication is vital and can make all the difference; yet too often basic customer needs are forgotten.

Black&Callow is a global financial printing company which helps companies and their advisors with the production and distribution of financial and legal deal documentation for IPOs and other capital markets and M&A activity. One of its core values is customer focus; and as the only financial print company to be a member of the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), it firmly places importance on putting the customer at the heart of all operations.

Joint Managing Director, Chris Callow, discusses how the Black&Callow team puts customer service at the forefront of everything it does, and how it has gained followers and market-share from a customer-first approach.

Customer-Focused Strategy

“We implemented a strategy to become the premium provider of financial printing services by being the most customer-focused in the industry, and we deliver this through world-class service. Our company mission is “We put our customers first and exceed their expectations through proactive communication, unrivalled service and attention to detail”, and we work hard to put this into practice.

As a member of the ICS we have been able to measure and benchmark our customer service, from both internal and external perspectives. It provides us with an unparalleled insight into how to improve customer experiences and employee standards. We consistently assess ourselves against other businesses – beyond our industry, which has led to us exceeding the ICS’ ‘World Class Service’ benchmark of 80% for customer satisfaction. In this year’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), our customer satisfaction went up by 0.6 to reach 86.7%.

Along with trust, flexibility and innovation, customer focus has been adopted as one of our core values. All values revolve around the customer, as we are always thinking ahead to what we can do next to provide the best solutions and ultimately make their lives easier.”

Company-Wide Performance

“I strongly believe that our greatest asset is our people. Each member of the team, around the clock, works tirelessly to give our customers what they need, and more. With an average of fifteen years’ experience each, their expertise ensures that the customer will always receive the help and support they need.

Although we have a specific customer service team, customer service is a company-wide initiative. Everybody understands the importance of this as a business strategy, and the Black&Callow brand is represented throughout all operations.

Our 2016 ICS ServCheck results speak for themselves. In this survey, which assesses employees’ views of their organisation as a whole, we had a score of 79.72, compared with the ICS Business Services sector benchmark results which had a score of 65.85. This is a result of which we are incredibly proud. How we view ourselves and our company has a huge effect on the service we provide.

Every member of our team is ICS accredited. We know the importance of investing in our people, and when we needed to appoint a new dedicated Customer Service Manager at the beginning of 2016 we chose to promote from within.

The whole customer service team trained on a 3-day Service Management course. We tailored the course specifically based on our team’s existing experience and our business objectives, and this led to a customer service improvement plan being rolled out across the company.”

Relationship Building

“Working with customers to provide solutions goes beyond simply doing our job. Going the extra mile and building two-way relationships makes a huge difference. We support our customers at every step of their journey.

We understand that emails and phone calls can be interpreted in different ways, so we always prioritise a face-to-face approach if possible. Feedback from customers is that they love being able to put a face to a name.

Our central London office location means we are always available and strengthens our customer-first approach, while our speed of service, confidentiality and unparalleled in-house capacity resonate with customers. Trust is built when we have the opportunity to showcase what we can do, and this contributes to our customer retention rate being 86.7% in the UKCSI this year.

Hundreds of pages of data from our ICS survey were analysed, allowing us to critically evaluate customer feedback. 32.5% of our customers stated that their reason for choosing to work with us was because of our people. This is a huge compliment and further reinforces that we are able to deliver on our promises. 9 out of 10 of our customers said they would buy another product or service from us. This feedback has led to us widening our service offering, with the opening of a new commercial print division. We are also launching a new software product this year and we are really excited to introduce this to our customer base.”

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