Customer service can be defined as the provision of a service to the customers before, during and also after the purchase. These customer services can vary depending on the service, product, industry and also an individual customer. Customer services can also be used when the culture of the organization is being described – GPS LEADERS values its customer and wants to provide the best services to its customers and ensures its best effort in order to train our employees.
These services are very vital and effective as they play a very important role in helping a company to generate additional income and revenue. These services must be included in the overall plan of the company in order. This is because even if a single customer service related decision is taken, it can help the company gain a positive perception in the minds of the customers. In the long run the satisfaction of the customers is something that can be extremely beneficial and in order to gain this satisfaction, the various customers related services must be implemented.
These services include client support as well- A support system means that the company will be assisting the customer in any way possible. Information like product, price, installation of the product, instructions for using the product, maintenance, upgrading as well as the disposal of the product can be covered under customer support services. As a client, it is essential to make proper use of these customer services- It will help you to utilize the product or the service to its maximum capability and in turn help you to get a lot of value for the money you have already spent.
These services can be provided both automatically as well as manually. An automatic service includes internet websites that provide assistance on a 24/7 basis- The manual customer services include a person who assists the customer when he or she calls a particular number. These services are provided in the call centers, telesales and other BPO centers. These manual customer services are also provided on a 24/7 basis and the customers can avail these services anytime they come across a problem with their product or service. The importance of such services can never be undermined and the success of a particular company or organization can be decided by the level of help it is giving to its clients.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE
In order to be successful at any endeavor, one has to identify the essentials required to accomplish that feat. It’s the same in customer service. What essentials are required to create great customer experiences which lead to maximum customer retention?
Reliability – Customers expect product/service providers to be dependable and accurate during interactions. Take your home electricity – as long as you pay the bill you expect the lights to come on when you flip that switch. Do customers consider your organization to be reliable? Are you rated high for dependability? Can your customers trust that you will do what you say you will do? These are key factors to providing a great customer experience.
Competence – This characteristic measure knowledge and skill level in regards to one’s product/services. If you surveyed your customer, what would they say about the level of competency exhibited by those within your organization? Internet access allows today’s customer to gain knowledge about yours and your competitor’s organization- Once the interaction begins, will your customer know more about your products/services than front line personnel and others within your organization? Make sure that everyone within your organization is a product/service expert in order to receive a high rating for competency.
Responsiveness – When customers enter your brick and mortar location, call on the phone, email or initiate a web chat, how long does it take for someone to acknowledge their presence? One of the most dreaded customer experiences is waiting to be serviced or even just to be acknowledged! How long are your customers waiting for service? When issues arise, how long before the situation is addressed and a resolution provided to the customer? The responsiveness clock is ticking in your customer’s head while waiting to be serviced or to receive a reply to inquiry.
Courtesy – In my opinion, this one is the easiest characteristics to exhibit. If there is one thing that we can all control is our ability to be kind and polite. All customers deserve common courtesy. Courtesy goes a long way with customers, especially when they’re unhappy with your product/service. Body language and facial expressions also contribute to the courtesy factor. What score will your customer contact personnel receive for courtesy?
Credibility – Can your customer deem your organization as credible? This characteristic is an image builder. We’re taking about trustworthiness here! Does your performance match what you advertise? Does your organization deliver on its promises? Choosing to take the steps necessary to ensure credibility helps to create a reputation for credibility. One act by one person which puts your organization’s credibility into question can be an image killer. Protect your organization’s future by insisting that everyone perform their duties in a manner that passes the credibility test.
Consistency – This is the glue that holds it all together. Consistency creates long term customers. Consider this – If your organization is consistently reliable, competent, responsive, courteous and credible, you’re probably providing many great customer experiences- Consistency means establishing a pattern of behavior- Does your customer’s rating of your organization indicate a pattern of great behavior in regards to the customer experience? Can your customer depend upon your organization to provide a high level of service every time they choose to utilize your products/services? The ability to intermittently exercise the five aforementioned characteristics will not help in your quest to provide great customer service. When consistency is added, long term retention is usually the result- I’ll say it again – Be Consistently Reliable, Competent, Responsive, Courteous and Credible. Exercising these characteristics will assist your organization in its quest to provide great customer experiences!
INCREASING CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Customer loyalty is pertinent to any business. Your customers are everything! Are you treating them in a way that they feel valued?
Many entrepreneurs believe that customer satisfaction is actually a reactive process. This is just one aspect of effective customer service- Learn the strategies and tips to keeping your customers coming in droves to your business-
Reactive customer service is taking care of customer complaints as they come up- This is how most businesses operate but like anything else I have learned in life, you want to go the opposite way of what everyone else is doing.
When increasing customer loyalty, you want to take a proactive response to customer service. Taking a proactive stance to customer service means that you are finding out what your customers dislike about your product or service before they get angry enough to express their emotions to you or your team. It’s also about finding new and innovative ways to attract new customers and keep them happy and satisfied.
KEY STRATEGIES FOR TAKING A PROACTIVE APPROACH:
- Listening – This is one of the simpler strategies but one that is most often overlooked or not practiced. As a matter of fact, most of us do not know how to listen properly to begin with! Listening to what your customers are saying directly after they use your products or services will allow you to tweak your system and allow a better experience for future customers. It’s no longer acceptable to just sit back and wait for an angry customer to call. Who would want to do that anyways. Most often, by the time this upset customer is calling, they have already decided that your product or service does not work and is starting to look at your competition for a better experience. Listen for signals that your product/service is below par or not what your customers were expecting. These signals will help you to improve a process in your system.
- Surveys – One of the best strategies for finding out how satisfied your customers are with your product/service is to conduct surveys of new and/or existing customers. This allows you to find out from your customer what you are doing wrong as well as what you are doing right. Sometimes, what you are doing right is just as important when developing your business systems as what you are doing wrong. There are many services out there that make surveying easy. Using online surveys will give you very important insight into how you impact your customer’s lives. Always offering better service is key to building your business empire. Tip: A great way to get customers to actually take the surveys is to offer them something for free in return.
- Inventive – Becoming inventive in customer service is a really strong strategy that will always set you apart from your competition. Being inventive means offering customer service that no one else in your industry offers. This creates very loyal customers! The more appreciated you make your customers feel, the greater your value becomes to them, and the more loyal they become to you. Being inventive really takes some hard work. Any time you use your mind and thoughts to create something new, that has never been done before, it really taxes your brain. But like with anything else in life, the rewards for your hard work are huge.
Creating an environment focused on your customers from all aspects of your business will continue to attract paying customers eager to spend money with you. Your business is completely dependent on the amount of money coming in compared to the amount of money going out, and your customers have a direct impact on your cash flow (unless your business produces its own assets). Treating your customers the way you would want to be treated, and always looking for ways to go beyond their expectations, will ensure that you keep a healthy and steady flow of an increasing customer base.