If there’s one thing every business claims to offer, then it has to be good customer service. It’s up there with “being the best,” being “innovative” and any number of things that the public would be pardoned for responding to with a yawn simply because just about everyone says the same thing about their businesses.
Hackneyed as talk of good customer service may seem, however, it really is important to offer your customers a pleasant experience when they’re dealing with your business. Fail to do so, and you’ll not only lose a customer, but gain a detractor. Serve them even better than they expected, and you’ve gained a lifelong supporter. Reputations are built on customer service, and you’d like to make sure yours is among the best.
So, when you get right down to it, what is excellent customer service? Let’s investigate!
Good Customer Service Definition
Before we look at customer service in detail, let’s try a simple definition. Good customer service means being ready to help our customers so that their needs are met, and they are left feeling good about their experience with our businesses.
It’s easily said, but not as easily done unless you’re genuinely ready to see it as a priority. If you do, you might have the inside track that puts you ahead of your competitors. But as we’ll see, great customer service requires a thoughtful approach and the right personnel to implement it.
Good Customer Service Requires Good Customer Service Skills
Customer service begins with the people who provide it, and it’s a skilled job. So, the first thing you need to provide your customers with good service is skilled people. You’re looking for people who genuinely like dealing with people, listening to them, and helping them. They have empathy. They have patience and a pleasant manner. Now imagine a typical, bored shop assistant: that’s exactly what you don’t want!
Your customer-facing staff must be presentable, articulate, and likeable, and that’s just the start. It can be a tough call for recruiters!
Knowledge and Authority
Just knowing how to deal with people isn’t enough for good customer service. Your agents need to be empowered to deliver, and that requires a deep knowledge of the way in which your firm works and the products and services it offers. They must also have the authority to escalate any problems to other departments and get prompt answers. Your customers’ time is valuable, and customer service must be able to work smoothly and knowledgeably with support from other departments as required.
A Personalised Experience
All-too-many companies think they can overcome the problem of finding and training personnel who are capable of delivering excellent customer service by equipping bored clerks with scripted responses. If you’ve been on the receiving end of this, you’ll know it’s not the answer to “What does good customer service look like?” It’s obvious, it’s frustrating, and it doesn’t make you feel like you’re being attended to.
Personalised attention is one of the features of good customer service. It can’t be faked, and it’s rarer than you might expect. A friendly face or voice, and a genuine desire to help can go a long way towards boosting your business’s reputation.
Make Self-Service Easy and Help Accessible
When we get stuck or don’t know what to do, we need help. But mostly, we’re quite happy to carry on our own and even solve the odd problem by ourselves. Strange though it may seem, making it easy to cope without help is a form of customer service. However, when the going gets tough, it’s good to know that help is at hand.
Going the Extra Mile
Giving the customer the service they expect leaves them feeling OK. Giving them more than they expected is even better! Good customer service examples include the JetBlue Airlines team who brought a passenger the Starbucks coffee he was craving after he casually Tweeted about it. On a more routine note, Tesla’s mobile workshops and their rapid response times have led to some very favourable publicity for the company. Then, on the luxe end of the scale, there’s the Ritz Carlton’s policy of allocating a budget to its hotels that can be used to solve any customer problem, no matter what it may be, even when it isn’t the hotel’s fault.
But “extra mile” gestures don’t need to be extravagant. It can be something as simple as responding quickly and appropriately across communication channels, or patiently talking a tech-challenged customer through a set-up process.
When Expertise Matters, You Need Experts
We all want to deliver excellent service, but when customer service is just one more department in a busy concern, it can be hard to keep things running as smoothly as we might like. Finding the right people, as we previously noted, can be difficult too – and the bigger and busier your company gets, the more difficult it becomes. Speed is important. Nobody likes a queue, but not all businesses can afford customer service agents who hang around idly waiting for that moment when they might be needed.
If you’re wondering how to reconcile efficiency with great customer service, it’s time you talked to RSVP. Our customer service and support agents are chosen for their people skills, and their ability to think on their feet and communicate well. They handle customer support across channels and make it their business to know your business. Customer service and support are what we do. Isn’t it time you got us to help you with what you do?