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Jess Brudenell: customer service - what sets us apart

Customer Service - what sets us apart

Meet Jess – our Senior NYES Manager – Retention.  Jess’ role is to manage a team of Relationship Managers who work with schools across North Yorkshire ensuring that our customers remain delighted with the services we provide them, strengthening relationships and retaining business.

In this feature, Jess talks about what sets us apart and why customers want to continue doing business with us. Over to you Jess…

I have been in post since the team was first established in 2014. I have watched the business evolve, increase in size, amend its offer, but the one thing which has not changed is that we have retained 100% of our original customer base. So, what makes us so successful?

  • We understand our customers. NYES are education specialists and we understand what schools need in order to provide the great service they do to their pupils and the wider community -  providing a catering service isn’t just about supplying meals; it’s about helping children to develop, grow and thrive through the provision of a nutritious home-cooked meal. We regularly gather and analyse insights about the sector to ensure we always know what our customers require, and implement the right improvements.
  • We have a team of professional and experienced Relationship Managers. Each Relationship Manager holds a portfolio of customers within a geographical area. Their role is to ensure that customers receive a consistent and high level of aftercare following the purchase of our services. This includes customer care calls, contract management, being the first point of contact for any issues, ensuring that relevant and appropriate services are highlighted to the customers and complaint resolution. The customer knows exactly who they need to speak to for any query they may have.

 

"Having an Account Manager is a great help – they are very approachable and friendly.  Whenever we need any assistance on any of the traded services or have a problem, they are our first port of call and are extremely helpful.  Also, if I'm not sure who I need to speak with about a query, I know I can get in touch with them and they will do everything they can to help find the right person.  Having an Account Manager and NYES saves time, everything is in one place and is easy to access".  

School Business Manager, Whitley & Eggborough Community Primary School

  • We regularly ask customers for feedback – this is either during our regular customer care calls, or via the annual customer survey. We analyse the responses in order to make improvements not only to our current service offer, but also to the development of further services and products that our customers state that they need.
  • We do not have shareholders. All our profits go straight back into funding the delivery of frontline services including  supporting children, young people and their families.
  • Regular training opportunities are provided to colleagues in NYES to ensure that they are upskilled to deliver great customer service and that their knowledge of the sector and our customers remains relevant.

 

So what is great customer service and why is it so important? Mirroring what my colleague Paul Roberts talked about in a recent feature, essentially great customer service is completely understanding your customer and their individual requirements:

  • Being able to provide appropriate, relevant and personalised solutions.
  • Being fleet of foot - providing a rapid response to their needs and going out of your way to help solve customer problems.
  • Being consistent – ensuring that each customer receives the same high level of service, information and time.
  • Putting the customer at the heart of all business decisions.

 

Ensuring our customers are delighted with the service we are providing, and feel valued is critical to our customer retention and business growth.  Poor customer service can massively influence the perception of a company, and can lead customers to lose trust, confidence and start to look elsewhere for alternative provision.  We know we are not perfect, but we continuously develop to keep improving and definitely have the passion, motivation and commitment to make it happen.