What is customer service?
Customer service has many sides to it: it’s the service that you provide to your customers before, during, and following the purchase of goods and services. This includes when a customer has already used a goods or service.
In this section you’ll learn:
What is customer service
Customer Service is every interaction with your customer.
A great customer experience means that you have provided good customer service and that the service offered has met the customer’s expectations.
It’s how you produce satisfied customers.
On the other hand, bad customer service generates complaints, which leads to lost sales because that consumer (plus all the people they tell about your terrible service) will take their business to your competitor.
Good customer service involves creating a bond with your customer, which in turn could lead to a long term relationship.
According to Bill Huigens, good customer service is you, the business, offering a relationship to your customer; one involving trust, loyalty, friendship, and respect.
These kinds of relationships are advantageous to both the business and customer alike – it’s a win-win situation.
- The customer benefits because they’re receiving great service that meets, and sometimes exceeds, their expectations.
- The business benefits because happy customers are usually repeat customers, so not only do you get to keep this happy customer; there’s every chance you’ll win the people they talk to as well.
It’s not necessarily easy to understand exactly what good customer service actually entails, and then to start enforcing it.
It will take time to establish, and will require a certain amount of investment to deliver consistently high-standards.
Every interactions count
In today’s modern technologically savvy world customer service is a whole lot more than that. It’s become every part of every interaction a customer has with a brand: it includes email support, telephone, web forms, chat, and social media; in addition to self-service support sites. And it occurs before, during and following all sales.
Customer service is the key to achieving this.
It’s not just about answering questions: it’s about helping your customer even when they may not have asked for help. It begins with a warm, sincere smile and a friendly word, and ends with you sharing your own expertise – when perhaps it has nothing whatsoever to do with your product.
The Importance of Customer Service
Why do businesses lose customers? Some people leave the area; some customers are dissatisfied with the product or service; and others leave for competitive reasons.
However, the majority of customers move their business elsewhere solely due to the indifferent attitude towards them by a business owner, store manager, staff member or other employee.
Bad customer service results in the loss of business.
So, what are the main factors which determine customer satisfaction?
The main reasons customers become dissatisfied are due to employees.
Staff who don’t (or won’t) listen to what they’re saying; customers who feel ignored by staff, or staff who are not honest about doing what they say they will, or when they will; staff who have little or no knowledge about their own company’s products and/or services, and staff who don’t follow up, or follow through.
All these issues can so easily be changed to positives, by providing consistently good customer service: this alone will put you and your company on the path to success.
In fact, how well your customers are treated by you and your staff will make all the difference in the world between whether you achieve your business goals, whether you struggle to keep your doors open, or end up closing them permanently.
Another very important point to remember is that providing your customers with great service should never be a matter of doing or behaving in a way you think your customers want: it’s actually a matter of doing what your customers want.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming you know what your customers want without actually asking them!
Your job is to understand your customers, and know what they want: the only way to do that is to speak to them, get close to them and stay tuned in. Think like a customer!
The keys to the success of your business are your frontline employees.
It’s these staff members who present the face of your business to the outside world, so it’s vital that they be trained in effective interaction with your customers.
It’s true that most business owners, manager and even government understand how important customer service is, but unfortunately they lack the knowledge and customer service skills to handle all the different situations that might arise.
Even if you, yourself, understand just how important your customers are, perhaps your coworkers don’t really appreciate the importance of having satisfied customers.
Sadly, some managers and team leaders ignore behaviour problems with their employees because, truthfully, they don’t know how to deal with them.
Ignoring these very important problems won’t make them go away – but it will make your customers go away.
Your number one objective as a manager should be to train your employees on how to provide excellent customer service.
This next section deals with exactly that.
This post is part of a series on Customer service: