From a practical prospective, customer service is the activity of satisfying customer needs. From an emotional one it’s much more than that – customer service is caring for customers and treating them with respect.
The goal of every company should be to exceed customer expectations when providing customer service.
The first step in exceeding customer expectations is to find out exactly what the customer’s needs are. This is done by simply asking customers, or in a more scientific way by studying customer behavior, conducting focus groups or by carrying out customer feedback surveys.
The company can then decide exactly what it can and cannot do in terms of service delivery. Once this is agreed a customer service strategy or roadmap can be out in place to ensure service levels are met.
Back to caring for customers and treating them with respect. To succeed in customer service it is absolutely critical that companies recruit, select and employ the right kind of people to deal with customers.
Customer service excellence is the consistent exceeding of customer expectations. And to do that requires putting in place people, systems and training to ensure the customers’ complete satisfaction at all times.
Finally, when defining customer service it’s important to remember one more thing: customer perception. Customer service is really about what the customer perceives, remembers and tells others of the service they received.
The confusing thing is that the customer’s perception may differ from the service they actually experienced. Customer service can mean many things to many people!
About the Author
Ian Miller is Editor of Customer Service Manager Magazine – the leading resource and community for customer service professionals.