Customer Service Defined | Definition, Examples, & Actionable Steps
In today’s competitive market, being able to provide excellent customer service can make or break your business. Learn about the different types of services that are needed for success in this field as well as key skills required by employers everywhere.
Customer service is the behavior of businesses supporting customers. Discover the key customer service skills, types, methods, and more to give your clients an unforgettable experience that they’ll rave about! From a flat rate answering service to chat bots, there’s no end to how you can give your customers a better experience.
How We Define Customer Service
As the world becomes more populated, companies are looking for innovative ways to keep their customers happy. One way is through exceptional customer service. The goal of this process should be fostering long-lasting relationships with your clients so that they will come back again in order to provide you revenue as well as get new ones from word-of-mouth advertising campaigns.
Businesses should be providing top-notch customer service and understanding what it takes to resolve threats before they become problems.
Customer Service: The History Through Today
The world of customer service has changed dramatically in the last decade. Customers want premium, built-in from day one, and consistent throughout every interaction point for success with them – it’s up to businesses now how they position themselves so as not to miss out.
Every interaction a customer has with your business can be an opportunity to win their trust. Imagine you’re talking one-on-one with them, and at just the right moment they ask for help – do not hesitate! You must deliver exceptional service from day 1 by making sure all customers are being treated well every step along their journey: pre-, during, and post-purchase. This way when it’s needed most (easing new users into using what they paid attention to) there will always be someone ready because good relationships take time.
We have seen this firsthand in our own company where we integrate services seamlessly throughout each stage of interactivity; don’t let yourself get left behind.
Why Good Customer Service Can Not Be Undervalued
In this day and age of fleeting customer loyalty, it’s more important than ever to provide excellent service. 79% of customers say they are loyal to companies who offer great customer care – so make sure you’re at the top of your game!
Customer service is important because it sets your business apart from competitors.
The good news is that you can turn things around by making customer service a priority. Our research shows customers will return if they have positive experiences, and just one bad experience could lead them to switch suppliers altogether.
Your customers will vote disregard you if they don’t see a commitment to customer service. In fact, our research found that 53% of your consumers say they would switch brands after just one bad experience and 82% won’t stay with any company for more than two weeks when it’s inconsistent in its quality or responsiveness.
The way that you provide your customers with experience will be more important in the future, as 50% of them report it’s a higher priority than last year.
Should the Customer Always be Right?
Yes…..and no. Use smart judgment. Employees are encouraged to go the extra mile for their customers by listening and understanding them. This philosophy was never meant to be taken literally, so employees should always feel free in giving out good service no matter how much of an absurd demand it may seem at first glance.
What to do When you Have a Customer that is Difficult
Dealing with difficult customers is challenging for any business. It’s important that you try your best to make them feel cared about and respected, as well as encouraging your team members by modeling what good customer-care practices look like in real time will help the situation go much more smoothly.
Handling especially stubborn or rude consumers could be really stressful but remember that we’re all human beings here so let’s connect on an emotional level too – it might just diffuse their anger/frustration enough so they stop being such pests (if we’re honest here).
Customer Service Vs. Customer Support
Customer support and customer service are two separate things. Customer support is the nuts-and-bolts of troubleshooting an issue, while “service” helps you understand why certain procedures should be followed in order to avoid bigger problems down the line.
Some people think that customer support is nothing more than a way to help customers by solving their problems. But, as an employee at this company I’ve learned, there’s so much more and it has become one of my roles here! Sometimes when you speak with someone on the phone they might not have enough information for us or want clarification about something-but those are just minor issues that can be solved easily without too many complications.
When it comes to customer service, the “why” is just as important for agents as what they do in a given situation. When you know why your company does things and have transparency about its policies then customers are much more likely to trust both themselves and each other while interacting with members of your team.
Examples of Good Customer Service
We all know the stories of companies that go the extra mile to provide their customers with extraordinary service. Morton’s steakhouse is a popular one. They met a man at the airport who asked for one in his tweet. Nordstrom accepted returned tires from a customer even though they don’t even sell them- proving it can happen anywhere! A great customer care experience isn’t just about being responsive when something bad happens; good businesses focus on creating scalable ways to meet daily needs so everyone feels loved.
Here are some important steps to good customer service.
- Solve problems fast
Over 70% of customers say quick problem solving is the number 1 indicator of customer service.
- Making it easy for customers to resolve issues themselves. It’s a well-known fact that customers are more likely to resolve their problems on the phone if you can speak with them in person. And when it comes time for them to do some research online, 69% say they’ll start there first.
- Being available for support 24 hours a day seven days a week. Even if this needs to be done by text or chatbots, it makes a world of difference.
- Personal Interaction with customers. More than anything customers want a good experience,
- Meeting your customers where and when they want to be met. When it comes to customer service, some of the best experiences happen when customers can connect with you on their preferred support channel. Being able to offer help in that same place is what makes for great experiences. For some it’s email, others text message, others phone, and others Facebook messenger, just for examples.
- 75% of customers want a personalized experience. They want to feel important. They want to feel unique.
Examples of Bad Customer Service
You might think that bad customer service is when there are long wait times, but in reality, it’s anything from not having an automated system to help you out and make your life easier (like regarding repeat information) all the way up until being ignored altogether.
When customers have a negative service experience, they’re often quick to voice their complaints on social media. People want and expect companies to provide them with great customer support.
It seems like hardly any company can afford this not-up-to-par situation because if we scroll through Instagram at lunchtime it doesn’t take long before someone has posted about how unhelpful your business is in handling issues that arise from its products or services. This really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering just one complaint may lead many others down a long tunnel.
A business’s approach to customer service can be broken down into four categories: proactive vs reactive and synchronous or asynchronous.
A company has different types of customers they need to cater to which impacts their mindset when providing excellent care.
Don’t Offer Reactive Customer Service. Be Proactive
In the past, reactive support was king: customers had to contact businesses with an issue or inquiry. Proactive service has now become a crucial form of customer service as it means anticipating what your clients might need before they ask for anything at all. For Example:
- A chatbot is a virtual customer service agent that can answer frequently asked questions and answer abandoned shopping carts. The best way to get ahead of your competitors, make more sales per visit or month with fewer costs on labor by using this new technology.
- An internet provider sending customers a text about upcoming service disruptions.
Synchronous Customer Service vs. Asynchronous
When you need to have a quick chat with someone, but it’s not worth the effort of picking up your phone and dialing (or waiting for them) live chats are an excellent alternative. They typically last less than 10 minutes in length – giving people ample time away from their daily lives without feeling like they’re abandoning work just yet. The best part about these sessions? You can do most or all of the talking while enjoying some peace and quiet at home–no more loud tones interrupting what would otherwise be downtime between meetings/classes.
Live chat is an effective and popular way for customers to interact with businesses. The one-on-one chats are typically brief session-based discussions and very effective means of resolving problems.
Messaging can be an effective way to communicate with customers in a more personal manner. Unlike live chat, messages are asynchronous and don’t interrupt the conversation–you’re free to put it on hold for whatever reason without losing track of what was said before or where it left off last time around.
When customers can do other things while they wait for support, like walk the dog and chat with friends during lunch break; this gives agents more time to help them. It’s why companies that provide messaging services have some of the most satisfied clients- because it is so much faster than phone or email responses.
Customer service that stands out
Customer service skills are an important part of the job, but so too is being able to communicate with customers in a way that will make them feel taken care of and valued. In order for customer representatives to do this effectively, they need not just tech-savvy knowledge; good oral communication abilities also come into play here–a must if you want your company’s name out there. Here are some examples of how you can stand out:
- Think carefully about the words and tone you use with the customer. Don’t be aggressive. Don’t be defensive. Allow the customer the grace to be wrong.
- Pay attention to what your customer is saying. Don’t cut them off. Let them completely finish speaking before you start to engage. You would be surprised how often people miss things because they are too quick to interrupt.
- Clearly explain yourself.
- To the extent that it is in your power, do whatever you can to make sure the customer walks away with a good personal experience. There’s no better way to create advocates for future referrals.
Good customer service is critical no matter if you’re starting a new business or an established $1 billion corporation. There are many resources and tools that can help you offer world-class customer service. Over 1 million businesses in the United States have found that a live phone answering service is an absolute must for offering 24-hour customer service. If you’re considering this, request a quote below.
Author: Michael C
Michael has over 30 years of executive call center and answering service experience. He is a successful business owner and lead generation expert and shares tips to help other entrepreneurs build and grow their business through leads generation and lead capture solutions. His mission is to share carefully guarded marketing tips that will help small-medium business compete on a smaller budget.