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Spain’s Customer Service Law: an opportunity for growth

Spain has just approved a new Customer Service Law, which will mean all large, customer-facing companies will have to deploy new systems for dealing with complaints. But in a market that has historically underinvested in customer experience technology, this could be a great opportunity for businesses to differentiate brands and grow.

By Subarna Ganguly, Staff Writer

Last updated December 5, 2022

Endlessly waiting for a response to customer queries is more than just an inconvenience of modern day life–it can cause consumers considerable anxiety, particularly when concerning something urgent.

Spain’s government has just approved its Customer Service Bill, intended to tackle this very problem. Under the new law, due to come in next year, companies with more than 250 staff or a 50m euro turnover must have a mandatory customer services system in place. These systems need to reduce waiting times, limit automated answers and address and resolve complaints quickly.

All businesses will have to provide customer care during their regular hours, while those supplying essential services such as water, gas, electricity, and internet must guarantee a 24-hour call centre, seven days a week.

Failure to comply could result in fines of 150 euros for minor infractions to 100,000 euros for more serious breaches–such as where a vulnerable consumer is affected or for repeated offences.

Poor customer service is currently a common element in complaints received by Spain’s Public Administration, the government body responsible for overseeing public interests. This law intends to “alleviate the deficiencies detected in the provision of this type of service by large companies,” according to the Council of Ministers.

Growth opportunities

When it comes to investing in systems that can help ease some of these issues, Spain has arguably lagged behind other markets. Just 22 percent of Spanish IT decision makers named customer service as a key factor influencing new software investments, according to a survey from Gartner last.

But the country is not alone. European leaders are underinvesting in customer experience as they see CX improvements as a lower priority than their global peers, according to a 2021 survey from Forrester. That appears to be having a direct impact on the bottom line, with those who flagged it as a critical priority reporting higher growth.

The good news is that by investing in the right systems now, companies will not only meet their future legal requirements–they can gain a competitive advantage and stand out in a crowded market.

Customer service is a crucial part of the overall customer experience–which encompasses all the interactions a customer has with your brand–and can be provided by human agents as well as self service functions such as chat bots. The method of dealing with complaints is less important than the approach, which should be to resolve customers issues efficiently to provide a great customer experience.

Some of the key measures in Spain’s new law will be the requirement to reduce call wait times to at least three minutes. Companies must also provide customers with a human customer services representative and adapt services to provide instant messaging and video calls with sign language–if that is what the customer wishes or needs.

Seamless customer service

However, that doesn’t mean tools such as conversational AI and automations can’t also play a role in quickly resolving straightforward queries–or routing more complex ones to the appropriate human agent.

Increasingly, customers expect to connect with companies from any location, device, and at any time. A seamless customer service system allows companies to interact with customers on the channel of the choice, providing fast, quality responses.

This goes beyond simply resolving a complaint: it helps improve the overall customer experience by building brand loyalty and trust. In today’s market, where customer expectations are high, this can act as a key differentiator for your brand.

No doubt the new law will be causing Spanish companies a great deal of panic as they scramble to put new systems and processes in place. But in fact, now could be a fantastic opportunity to rethink the way you approach customer experience as an engine for growth.

This needn’t be a technical and administrative burden, either. Zendesk’s customer service software works out of the box, as well as being customisable and scalable. It allows companies to connect with customers over any channel to provide a single view of their needs.

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