Defining Customer Service
Customer service is:
- Any interaction between the customer and the organization.
- Something that everyone in the company is responsible for. Customer service is not a single department in an organization!
- Important for both internal and external customers.
The goal of an organization should be that of positive customer interaction, resulting in satisfied customers and repeat business.
The old adage of the "customer is always right" no longer applies, but that does not mean that customer service is a lost art. Even when customers are not right, they still deserve to be treated with respect and integrity.
Some things you can do to help you provide good customer service include:
Use good listening skills. A good listener will take the time to hear what the customer has to say without interrupting and only then ask questions to clarify the issues the customer brings up. Good listeners pay undivided attention to the customer, showing him or her that, at that moment, he or she is the most important person the employee is dealing with.
Look for ways to help the customer. Always be on the lookout for things you can do to assist the customer without being intrusive or overbearing. Pay attention to what is being said, and be prepared to go an extra step in order to resolve the customer's issue.
Ask for feedback. Feedback can help you improve your service and give you information or ideas about new services you can provide. Also, asking for feedback shows the customer you care about his or her comments and opinions.
Say you are sorry. If you make a mistake, or something goes wrong in a transaction, apologize. Customers will appreciate your honesty. When a customer complains, your job is to listen, express empathy, and apologize. Remember, you can apologize without accepting responsibility even when the error is on the customer's side. Telling the customer you are sorry he or she is having a bad experience and then moving forward and asking how you can help resolve it will let your customer know you care and want to work toward a solution.
Do the unexpected. Provide something for the customer that was not expected. This is how you keep your customers coming back. Think about something that your organization offers that others don't and offer it to the customer. Another way to surprise the customer with unexpected service is to follow up after the interaction just to make sure everything is going all right. You might do this even if the interaction did not result in a sale or resolution of a problem.