Most organizations working on starting and developing great customer service often will ask me: What exactly is great customer service?
Ever wonder why there are some many books, articles, seminars, and so many questions surround the essence of great customer service, yet we still struggle with bad service?
As customer service industry thought leaders, we’ve done a poor job at helping business managers and executives realize the external value of great customer service to customers, and the positive impact great service has on the internal culture of an organization and its employees.
Jenny Towers, a Customer Service Trainer with Customer Service Specialists, has discussed what great customer service is, and how we can make sure we’re on the right track to provide it. I’ll break down her thoughts into what exactly is great customer service and what is so great about it.
Times have changed, and what you would have previously considered “good customer service” is just no good anymore. We have higher expectations then we did previously. Unfortunately, while our expectations as customers increase, service levels from providers continue to decrease.
Good customer service is cliché. TV ads, websites and the sign hanging on your hairdresser’s wall claims the business’ stupendous customer service policy. Does anyone even know what that means? That they greet you with a smile? That they have a bullet proof money back guarantee? That they inundate your email inbox with “unique offers” especially for you?
It could mean all of these things. It could mean none of them.
The phrase “good customer service” is quite vague. However, if we don’t know what it is exactly, how do we expect to achieve it?
Great Customer Service Begins by Perfecting Your Service Delivery
In the service industry, good customer service is delivered in multiple parts:
- You’re completing projects on or before the deadline.
- You’re delivering correct quotes on jobs.
- Your work is proofread.
- You’re answering emails efficiently and politely.
- You have an impeccable phone manner.
- You’re professional in all you do.
Then there are the skills that are less obvious, that really over-delivers on customer service and will make your clients LOVE you. These are a bit harder to define but will get you referred, noticed and remembered.
Great Customer Service is Achieved Through Customer-Focused Experiences
- Remembering how clients like their coffee, and having it ready when they walk in the door for appointments.
- Cold water on hot Summer days.
- Hot chocolate on cold Winter days.
- Remembering personal details the client tells you and asking them how things are going.
- Sending birthday, Christmas and thank you cards to clients.
- Acknowledging clients when you see them outside the work environment.
- Knowing and delivering and focusing on what the client needs and what they want.
- Educating staff to become familiar with clients, so they can provide personal service too.
In essence, great customer service comes down to thinking, planning, and showing that you take thought to your customers’ needs. Great customer experiences come from showing that you actually think about your customers.
People love to be loved and made special. So as long as you love your clients (which you should anyway, they are the ones that keep your head above water), they will love you back, and then they will tell their friends about you.
Good customer service is about meeting all your customers’ needs, and then some. Think about how you like to be treated as a customer, and give the same in return. You want to be treated well and served quickly and efficiently – why wouldn’t you offer that to your customers?
It’s not really rocket science; great customer service and great customer experience really is just fulfilling basic human needs.