BS 8477 - Code of Practice for Customer Service

What is BS 8477?

A new British Standard specifically for planning, reviewing and implementing best practice customer service. This code provides an excellent template for any organisation wishing to set up customer service for the first time or seeking to improve an existing customer service department or team.

Many codes of practice for customer service have been defined, however this code represents the first authoritative approach and has taken elements from best practice customer service gleaned from around the globe. It is based upon three prime principles:-

  • Retention
  • Related sales
  • Referrals

The code identifies the key elements of excellent customer service namely timeliness, appearance, courtesy, quality and efficiency, ease of doing business and problem solving.

This translates into a set of requirements that must be delivered by customer service:-

  1. Commitment (at all levels)
  2. Credibility (keep promises)
  3. Culture (customer service ethos)
  4. Competencies (of staff - in recruitment, training and assessment)
  5. Responsibility (clear and supported with suitable authority - with at least one person responsible for customer problems)
  6. Resources (adequate for effectiveness)
  7. Identification and management of all customer service issues
  8. Quality (of customer service - relevant input and review)
  9. Feedback (enabled for customers and employees)
  10. Continual improvement (to meet or exceed customer expectations)
  11. Internal customers (establish concept and communications)

The code establishes guidelines for implementation of customer service including Top management commitment, Customer service management, complaints handling, employee resourcing and training. It includes operational recommendations, principles of maintenance and guidance regarding recruitment, competency and training of staff.

Implementing a customer service group based upon the principles of BS 8477 will assist organisations improve customer loyalty, win new customers, reduce costs and improve competitiveness.

Who is it relevant to?

BS 8477 may be adopted by organisations of any size that interface with members of the public through delivery of services or products. It is also relevant to organisations that service business-to-business customers.

What are the benefits?

Benefits to organisations include:-

  • Establish effective customer service mechanisms
  • Improve competitiveness
  • Differentiate their offering via innovative customer services
  • Build customer loyalty through positive customer service experience
  • Increase customer retention
  • Attract new customers via word of mouth
  • Reduce marketing costs
  • Increase service efficiency
  • Reduce complaints and complaints handling resources and costs
  • Improve compliance with consumer trading laws
  • Improve services and accountability (especially for public sector organizations)
  • Develop and sustain organization-wide focus on customers and quality
  • Improve ease of dealing with organization for customers

Why Blackmores?

Blackmores is a unique Management Systems consultancy that specialises in implementing management systems across a wide range of sectors. We make the transition to successful implementation painless, cost effective and timely allowing you time to focus on what you do best – running your business. Blackmores will help you to successfully implement BS 8477 and as a result will see significant reductions in costs, complaints and inefficiency coupled with significant improvements in customer loyalty. This will assist you in winning new customers and new sales opportunities giving you the edge over your competitors.

Blackmores also provide a unique ‘Q-Care’ service that provides you with a dedicated Customer Service Manager to maintain your Customer Service Management System.

Do you already have ISO 9001?

If you already have ISO 9001 you are half way there to implementing BS 8477. The fundamental procedures within ISO 9001 are mirrored in BS 8477; therefore Blackmores can help you to seamlessly integrate the two standards into an integrated management system.

To find out how your business could improve its customer service by implementing a Customer Service Code of Practice, contact Blackmores on 01462 450591 or e-mail enquiries@bqms.co.uk