Five principles to achieve excellence in customer experience  

In the adage that it is around 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to lose an existing one, it’s vital that companies go the extra mile – and more – for their customers in today’s fiercely competitive climate.

Now in our tenth year of trading, Synergy Automotive, one of the UK’s leading vehicle leasing and finance credit brokers, is marking unprecedented growth by focusing on delivering the best customer experience – and differentiating itself from the transactional approach that prevails in its sector.

Synergy Automotive was founded on the principle of delivering a great leasing experience to every client – more specifically, an all-encompassing ‘customer experience’ with expert advice and consultation,  referrals, recommendations and repeat business forming a major part of our strategy – for very sound commercial reasons.

We realised that consistently delivering a great experience for both business and private clients would give us a USP in a market renowned for its traditionally low service thresholds.

An excellent customer experience is the foundation of our consistently strong performance. Operating in a complicated supply chain, elements such as transport, shipping, logistics and lead times are among the challenges we face in managing our customers’ expectations. Working between manufacturers, suppliers and the customer, we communicate efficiently and on time to minimise these factors.

As we’ve grown the business and the team to 25, our customer experience ethos remains key to our continued success and allows us to build continued growth. This is reflected in us being awarded the coveted Gold Trusted Merchant status consecutively in 2015 and 2016 from the independent, global feedback engine Feefo. We now have almost 1000 verified customer reviews rating us 100% for service.

We’ve learnt that offering the best customer experience centres on the following five core principles:

Quality, timely communication: From initial contact through to delivery and beyond,deliver written and verbal support with dedicated sales and after-sales account management. Clients’ expectations are  managed with open and transparent communication from the outset – and the old adage of “get the order and we’ll worry about it after” doesn’t apply.

Dedicated account management:  An experienced team of people working to a simple, clear process; taking time to listen to, and understand, clients’ are  the heart of any business.

Process and consistency: An old mentor said “Excellence in repetition delivers quality.” Establishing quality processes than can be delivered consistently by a team that understands what to do and why.

Recruit the right people: Find and develop great people, support them and build confidence  that the business means and does what it says. It’s the role of the MD or business owner to communicate the vision and build the team to deliver a great customer experience – then to train, incentivise and support them to go as far and as fast as their talents and energies will allow.

Seek feedback: Genuine independent feedback is crucial to meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations. For example, working with Feefo, the global independent feedback engine, provides us with instant insight into client experience and a real-time opportunity to respond.

Putting customer experience at the heart of every action offers the best opportunity for success. In today’s fiercely competitive and fast moving business world, customers will tell suppliers in many different ways – including real time social media comment – if they’ve got it right.

More importantly, they’ll also let them know in no uncertain terms if they’ve got it wrong.

Paul Parkinson is founder and managing director of Synergy Automotive.