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Report: Improving Customer Service: A Case Study of Procter and Gamble
It is my immense pleasure to submit this report on the titled Improving Customer Service. The authorization that you gave to compile this report has enabled me to complete it without any queries from the stakeholder. The report has assisted me in knowing more about the issues that concern customer service and the best practices to ensure that customer service is upheld.
The guidelines and well as instructions from you made this report possible, and I'm sincerely grateful to you for the support. The research has exposed me to various issues that have expanded my capacities as a business student, and it will be my profound pleasure if the report can be adopted. Thank You
Customer service determines the success of any firm in any industry. The client relationship that a firm may decide to adopt will ascertain the success of the firm in all aspects. Client relationship established by consumer goods companies should be for the interest of the customer. In this report, the concern is on Procter and Gamble a global company that is experiencing problems when it comes to customer service. The customers represented in this report are the distributors who have direct contact with the retail customers and the employees who are know how the firm operates. The operations of the company are not customer inclusive and from the report, it is evident that the business has started losing most of the principal distributors who supply the products of the firm. Recommendations in the report will assist the company to maintain the current distributors and improve the perspective of the employees. Since employees should be the number customers of the firm, the firm should use these recommendations to achieve this objective.
List of Figures
The customer service offered by any firm determines its success or failure. Current research has showed that customer service is the primary consideration of many customers before they decide on which firm to buy products or get services from when need arises. Over 60% of the customers prefer to get better customer service than just the quality of the product that any firm offers. Despite the quality aspect been essential to clients, they are ready to trade it off with customer service. Most companies in the world, today are focused on making more profit over the customer service that they offer to the clients. Customer service can be defined as any service or action done by any firm before, during and after purchasing a product or service. Every firm has to embarrass customer service to foster growth and success of the company in any market. Poor customer service is the source of low market share and hence deteriorated business growth that may even lead to the collapse of any entity no matter the market share held. Procter and Gamble is a multinational consumer goods company that has a considerable market share all over the world.
1.1 Purpose of the report
Primary aim of the report is to analyze the importance of customer service and ways of improving them within a multinational company. The multinational corporation under consideration in this report is Procter and Gamble. The information that the report is going to reveal can be used by other firms to improve their customer service. The recommendations given are unique and can go a long way in improving customer service in any industry and environment.
1.2 Scope of the report
The report will deal with issues relating to customer service in Procter and Gamble. This report will determine the best ways of improving customer service within firms that produce consumer goods. Some of the issues that the report will address are:
Definition of customer service and what is entails
Acceptable practices in customer service and
How or ways of improve customer service
1.3 Limitations of the report
The report on customer service did not consider all the industries since all have customer service. Therefore the report and the recommendations given are only applicable to an industry that deals with goods and not service industry. Also, the report can only be used by firms that produce consumer goods like Procter and Gamble.
1.4 Assumptions in the report
This report assumes that:
Procter and Gamble do not consider customer service a priority
Consumer products are the most purchased goods in the company
The company does not have any other way of promoting its products especially the use of competitive advantage strategies
The industry that Procter and Gamble operates is a perfect competitive market
Information given by customers are all objective since they form part of the analysis
1.5 Methods used to gain information
The methods that the research used to gain information from the customers are:
Questionnaires that were given randomly while the client was entering the compound of the company
Direct interview of both customers and the employees of Procter and Gamble
The management allowed us to access the compliment and complaints box located at the front office near the reception
1.6 Criteria used for the report
Procter and Gamble Company was formed in 1837 by James Gamble and William Procter. The company is relatively huge, but its growth in terms of sales is relatively low compared to other firms in the same industry. A company like Unilever was formed in 1929, and its growth is massive covering a wide market share than Procter and Gamble. The reasons why a company sales may never go up is the lack of customers, and this is attributed to poor marketing. Customer service is the primary factor that leads to customer loyalty, and this means that without customer service then there is no need for marketing.
2.1 Situation in Procter and Gamble
Procter and Gamble Company is the largest consumer goods company in the world, has achieved much in the recent years compared to the years when it was formed. The expansion strategies that the company used are working to its advantage since it has enabled it to gains a significant market share from other firms that were dominating the market. The consumption of its products had been on the increase until recently when the sales turnover decreased with a worrying margin. In a research done reveals that the crucial issue affecting Procter and Gamble is the relationship it has with its clients. The relationship has affected the sales of their products to the extent of retrenching some of the employees who work for them. The solution to this problem is determined by the how the company will relate to its clients, which is the customer relationship that this report is to address.
2.2 History of Procter and Gamble
William Procter and James Gamble, both emigrants from England and Ireland respectively, met when they married from the same family. William and James migrated to settle in Cincinnati where they formed Procter and Gamble after their father-in-law convinced them to be business partners. Procter and Gamble Company was formed on 31st October 1837 and between the year 1858 and 1859, the sales had reached $1 million while working with only 80 employees. The sales increased significantly during the American Civil war since the company had won a contract to distribute soap and candles to the Union Army. In 1880, the company introduced a new product in the market, soap, which would float on water. The increase in demand for its products led to the building of new factories in other areas of the United States since the facility at the Cincinnati could no longer meet the demands. The company diversified its operations with time and expanded to cover other countries that formed a market for its unique products. The company has been dropping brands since 2014 with the retention of only 80 brands, which have been able to make the business 95% of the profits. Some of the brands that have been dropped include food and beverages brands. The company has been feted as a major brand in the Fortune 500 magazine.
3.0 RESEARCH METHODS
According to current research, the customer service aspect has been the primary factor that determines the success of any organization or company. Customer service practices are changing each day, and it is the responsibility of the firms to change with them. Clients in the modern world are expecting more than the packaging service and advice when it comes to customer service. This trend has affected most companies that are rigid and do not want to embarrass the changing culture of the business environment. The research that was conducted was done through the distributors of the products from Procter and Gamble. The clients of the company provided the information through answering of questionnaires that were given to them. Each distributor accepted the questionnaire and gave the location of his distribution store so that the questionnaire can be picked.
The questionnaires were all collected, and the distributors had all answered the questions. The distributors were 20 in number, and they all provided the information that was required on the questionnaire. Of the 20 distributors, 10 of them provided a negative response to how they were treated when they visited Procter and Gamble. Seven distributors were satisfied with the customer service they were given by the company. Three distributors have never taken interest of how the company treats them they only concentrate on doing business with them. Two of the distributors who complained about the customer service in the firm revealed that the company had over 100 distributors nationwide, but they have been reduced to 70 distributors. One of them said that he would join another company if the status quo is to be maintained. The main problem that the distributors face is the lack of audience from the business and poor relationship with the sales department since the department wants distributor who can purchase more goods irrespective of the current demand.
The interviews were done on the subject of customer service were done to clients who wanted to be distributors and the employees. The customers were six while the employees that were interviewed were 4. From the six customers, it is only two who were happy and determined to work with the company. The rest four customers revealed that the sales department treated them harshly and did not even consider their proposal to the deal. The Welcome to the office of sales manager was cold and could not encourage anyone to join the company as the customer. The employees that work for the company said that they could never buy products from the company since it only reminds them of the treatment they get from the supervisors while working for the company. The best way to improve sales of any firm is to make your employees your number one customers and this takes effort and determination.
Figure 1: Customer Satisfaction
The recommendations that Procter and Gamble should adapt so that they can be able to increase the sales of the company as well as maintain their reputation depend on how far the company is willing to go. The customer service needed can be improved if the company is ready to retrench some of the employees as well as use resources to train and research on the best customer services that other companies employ. Research shows that when a client gets a good customer service, he will tell others about it. Since every customer likes to be treated well, the customer service is one way of increasing sales. The recommendations that the company can apply to improve customer service include:
The firm should understand the needs of the customers: - Understanding the needs of the customers will help the company in treating them well. The firm will be able to comprehend the client if it treats them well. Customer understanding can be achieved if the firm can maintain a close relationship with the customer in all accessions.
Complaints and feedback should be sought and analysis of the same done. This would help in knowing how the customer feels about the services offered to him and in return take the necessary actions to rectify any errors and situations that were not appealing to the client. The customer's feedback and complaints should be dealt with every single day.
Investing in customer service training and recruiting the right personnel: the resources should be allocated to the human resource department to train employees and the ensuring that the department employs qualified staff.
Develop a culture that encourage customer service and set the clear standards on how to deal with customers. Culture development can be achieved by training while the standards can be determined through research. Research can help in setting clear policies on issues of customer service.
Processes of the firm should be built and established around the client and not the organization. The processes can never be successful if the customer is not available same goes to the organization. This recommendation can be achieved by listening to the views of the customers by offering them audience they require.
Treating the employees as customers and introducing a reward for client service. The number one customers of the company should be the employees. Employees can bring in a lot of clients if the company treats them. The rewards for customer service should be on merit, and only those employees who perform well should be fated.
Set measurable objectives that each team member is supposed to achieve when it comes to customer service.
Procter and Gamble should adopt these recommendations to ensure that customer service becomes a norm in the firm. Improving customer service will lead to an increase in sales of the company hence growth.
Customer service is the major issue that can lead to failure of any organization in any industry. Customer service practices that an organization should adopt should be able to meet the client's needs and expectations. Procter and Gamble Company is one example of the companies who are on the brink of failing due to poor customer service. The employees in the firm can never improve sales due to the treatment they get. The customer service aspect in any organization should be taken seriously, and the complaints rectified as soon as possible. The number one issue or practice that the firm should implement to make sure that its objectives are met is making customer service a culture in the origination. It is the responsibility of the top management to ensure that customers are treated well, and their needs taken care of for the best interest of the firm.