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Engineering sector strong on customer service

Engineering firms are far more likely to have a customer service team in place when compared to the national average, according to the Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey of UK SME owners and senior management across a range of sectors and regions.

When asked the question, ‘do you have a team in place that is responsible for customer service as part of their job?’, 75% of SME owners surveyed answered ‘yes’, compared to the UK average of 63%.

“Engineering is a very competitive sector,” said Ian Barker, MD of the Engineering division at Close Brothers Asset Finance. “Firms have long understood that customer service can be a key differentiator, and because of that, have devoted sufficient resources to this key function.”

The sector also outperformed the national average (71%) when business owners were asked to assess their customer service levels. Three out of every four (74%) firms surveyed rated their customer service levels as ‘good’ or ‘great’, with only 5% feeling their customer services levels were ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’; the remaining 21% percent selected ‘average’.

When it comes to dealing with enquires and complaints, face-to-face communication is the most popular method of communicating with customers, along with email, followed by the telephone. Social media is rarely used, with very few companies surveyed selecting it as a customer service channel.

“Despite the advent of new channels of communication, personal interaction is still the favoured way to connect with customers, and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” continued Ian.

“Clearly, people recognise that some things could always be done better, but overall, these are a strong set of results for SMEs, who understand the importance of delivering high levels of customer service at all times.”