Customer service

by Admin
Updated: May 10, 2019

Good customer service should be the top priority for any business interested in long-term success

Poor quality of any aspect of a business can destroy it. However, customers will generally tolerate price fluctuations and even variations in quality far more than unsatisfactory customer service.

The quality of customer service depends on what each customer expects from an interaction. Sometimes it’s speed and efficiency, sometimes only interaction with a real live human will do.

Happy customers bring in new customers as well as placing repeat orders themselves. So cultivating them needs be a top priority for any business interested in long-term success.

Be prepared

Before diving in to structured training, it’s first necessary to understand exactly what good customer service means in the context of your business.

Forcing a conversation on customers who would prefer a one-click process is bad no matter how well trained the customer service representatives are.

It’s important to take time to decide how you personally would like to be treated in an interaction.

To what extent is automation beneficial? Should interactions with human representatives be more or less formal? Is it necessary to have scripts and, if so, how strictly should they be adhered to?

Is the character of the interaction in keeping with the character of the business?

Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is all about making the customer feel safe.

  1. Confidence in the product or service
  2. Confidence that the buying decision can be justified, even if something goes wrong
  3. Confidence that if something goes wrong it will be put right quickly and efficiently

Under certain circumstances it’s possible to failover #3 and still retain the customer if the customer felt they were listened to.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system keeps customer information organized and available. Generally, it is contact info plus automatically collected info (orders, e-mails etc.) plus manually collected info (phone logs, visits etc.).

A good CRM system is efficient. It is very easy to update and it locates details quickly & easily when customer calls in. It also provides insights and prompts.

CRM data must be protected for practical and legal reasons.

Proactive

POS (Point Of Sale) & CRM are sources of prompts to reach out to the customer proactively. Establishing a positive relationship with customers can be highly beneficial, particularly when combined with customer loyalty programs.

Reactive

Customer feedback provides valuable market intelligence so it should be encouraged. Mobile-friendly feedback channels (web forms, apps, SMS) allow feedback to be captured in real time through the buying process and into the usage experience.

Options

It’s a good idea to always provide alternative channels for communication. Some customers prefer to phone, some get annoyed if they cannot write-in (e-mail, web form, chat).

Good practices

  1. Always respond to customer communications promptly.
  2. I’m a fan of being able to see/receive a copy or at least some confirmation of an interaction with Customer Service.
  3. When it comes to dealing with a human, most customers prefer to deal with only ONE human. I recommend assigning a personal CSR (Customer Service Representative) to each customer if possible.

More info

“Overview: What Is Customer Service?” at salesforce.com.

“10 Stories of Unforgettable Customer Service” at entrepreneur.com.

“Revolutionizing Customer Service” at hbr.org.

Internal links

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