WHAT ABOUT CUSTOMER SERVICE?

Good Customer Service is Vital For Success

What is Customer Service

Customer Service; what does that means to you? It doesn't matter what your profession is or the industry that you work in, this term should be important to you. Customer service consists of a collective set of policies that govern every way an employer and it's associates interact with it's customers. It encompasses everything from how much parking your company have for it's customers, to how you greet customers, provide the service or product to them, handle service complaints, and back up your product or service. At its core, quality customer service is about making sure your customers feel they are valued, treated fairly, and appreciated by your business. But, is that all there is to it?

Customer service isn’t just about being courteous to your customers – it’s a vital element of business operations that can impact your employer's bottom line and affect how your company is viewed in the public eye. Several high-profile companies have been in the news of late, finding themselves in the spotlight because of poor customer service policies.

Why Customer Service Is Important

A lot of businesses are competing for customer dollars and customer loyalty. Chances are good that the company you're employed with, is actively investing in marketing and advertising efforts to bring consumers through it's doors. The important part of customer service is in keeping the customers once you bring them in. It costs significantly more to attract new customers than it does to take care of the ones you already have.

What Does it Mean To You As An Individual?
Customer service relates to the service you provide to customers before, during and after a purchase of your employer's goods or services. This can include things such as how you interact with your customer, and how you resolve any issues that may arise.

No matter the size of your employer's business, good customer service should be at the heart of your business model if you wish for your company to be successful. It's important to provide good customer service to all customers including new, existing, and potential customers.

Although, it may take extra resources, time and money, good customer service often leads to greater customer satisfaction. This in turn generates positive word-of-mouth for your employer, keeps your customers happy, and encourages them to return to your business again.

Providing Good Customer Service Can:

1.) Increase customer loyalty to your business.

2.) Increase the amount of money each customer spends with your business.

3.) Increase how often a customer buys from you.

4.) Generate positive word-of-mouth and a good reputation.

5.) Decrease barriers to buying (for example, if your business has an excellent customer service record dealing with refunds, you're more likely to entice a hesitant buyer to purchase from you).

Good Customer Service Skills Include

1.) Treating your customers respectfully.

2.) Following up on any feedback you receive from your customers.

3.) Handling complaints and returns gracefully.

4.) Understanding your customers' needs and wants.

5.) Exceeding your customers' expectations.

6.) Going out of your way to help your customers.

Tips On Providing Good Face-To-Face Customer Service

1.) Greet your customers as they walk through the door. You can ask them how they are, or how you can help them.

2.) If your customers is required to wait to be served (e.g. waiting for a table at a café or waiting at a doctor's office), it can be helpful after you greet your customers, to let them know how long the wait is expected to be.

3.) Check in with your customers while they're in your business. For example, ask them if they've enjoyed their meal, or if they'd like your help to locate different products in your shop. This can also give them a chance to ask any questions they might have.

4.) Knowing your product inside out is invaluable, particularly in a face-to-face business setting. Being able to immediately answer any questions they have on the products you offer or sell can help build trust and credibility.

5.) Make sure you're delivering good customer service consistently to everyone, all of the time. Treat everyone as important, perhaps as you would if the owner of your company is there on an inspection.

Good Customer Service Online

If you run an online business, or interact with customers over the phone or email, here are some tips for developing good customer relationship.

1.) Answer emails promptly. A general rule is a 24 hour turnaround. If you know that you take longer to respond to emails, it can be useful to publish your expected turnaround time on your Contact Us page on your website, or even in your automated email responder. This can help to manage your customers' expectations.

2.) Consider a live chat service. Whilst this may require extra staff and monitoring, a live chat may be switched on and off during certain hours, and allow you to communicate instantly with your customers to help with their queries.

3.) Consider adding a 'request to call' option on your Contact Us form. This option may allow customers to request a time and day they would like to receive a phone call from you. This may also allow you to gather specific information about their request before calling them back.

4.) Keep a log of any phone interactions you have with your customers. Write down the date, time and any issues discussed. This information can be useful to refer back to when making contact again.

5.) Publish important information about your business, like your mission statement and your business history, on your website. This information can help your customers get an understanding of your business and its values.

6.) Add a feedback form to your website. This will allow you to collect valuable feedback about your service and may provide you with insights for new product or service ideas to grow your business.

Final Thoughts

Good customer relationships are at the heart of great customer service. Whether you're interacting with a long-term client or a first-time buyer, developing a strong rapport with your customers is an important part of building good customer relationships.

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