There are many definitions of what customer service means. Providing excellent customer service means providing the goods and services your customers want and expect.
It means providing good help when customers need it, and a pleasant experience when they don’t.
It’s taking a critical look at your company, your products, and your services, and working hard to make sure you’re providing the best experience for your customers. It means spending time with your customers and learning about their individual needs and circumstances.
It means being proactive and looking for ways to make improvements. Above all, good customer service means being mindful of the fact that customers are the ones paying the bill and are the only ones who can tell you if you’re providing good service.
In this article, we explore the different aspects of providing excellent customer service and see how they relate.
What is Good Customer Service?
Good customer service has quite a specific meaning. It isn’t a fuzzy concept — it’s a specific set of behaviors and practices. Let’s start with the most important aspect of providing good customer service: understanding your customers.
As humans, we have a tendency to think of our customers as one big group. However, customers are individuals — and their needs, wants, and expectations are different. Understanding your customers means knowing who they are and what they want.
Knowing your customers also means looking outside of yourself and your company. It means seeing the big picture and considering the needs and expectations of your customers in light of the needs and expectations of your suppliers, your industry, and the people who use your products or services.
Why Good Customer Service is Essential
There are many reasons for good customer service. It can help boost sales, increase brand loyalty, and improve customer retention. It can also improve employee retention, which can mean everything from a better work-life balance to reduced stress and less burnout. In addition, good customer service has been proven to increase corporate reputation.
What Factors Make Good Customer Service?
While the specifics of what constitutes good service depend on the type of business, there are some general factors that apply to all types of companies.
First and foremost, good customer service is dependent on good leadership. Good leadership is critical in any business. Without strong leadership, any effort at customer service improvement will likely be short-lived.
Good leadership is more than just having a vision, setting goals, and having a strong organizational structure. It’s also about leadership skills, such as dealing with conflict, inspiring and motivating employees, and providing a good example yourself.
Good customer service also relies on a company’s culture. One of the best ways to improve your company’s customer service is to understand how your company’s culture affects the type of service it provides.
A Real-World Example of Good Customer Service: Amazon
There are many examples of companies known for excellent customer service. One of the top examples that any business leader or manager can look to for inspiration is Amazon.
Amazon is known for its exceptional customer service. It has been repeatedly honored as one of the best companies to work for and has been featured in many articles and books on great workplaces as a result.
What Makes Amazon’s Customer Service So Great?
Amazon is often praised for its exceptional delivery times and wide selection of goods, but those are aspects of its business that are not responsible for its high customer service ratings.
Look deeper into its operations, specifically how it interacts with customers when there is a problem. Amazon is quick to find a solution to customers’ problems and the focus is on making the customer feel whole again. This comes from a deep-rooted structure within the company that prioritizes customer service over everything else.
One of the main reasons is the company’s culture. Amazon’s culture is built around the idea of “delivering happiness”. This means that the company’s employees are focused on making customers happy in every transaction, and dedicating resources to making sure customers are happy when solving problems.
This, in turn, means that a large percentage of Amazon’s customers also say they are happy with their experience. This happiness translates into great reviews, higher ratings, and ultimately more sales for Amazon — and for the rest of the world.
The 3 Keys to Good Customer Service
To provide excellent customer service, there are three key areas you must focus on. Great customer service is dependent on having a great company culture. Great customer service is also dependent on having a great leadership team. And lastly, great customer service is dependent on having the right employees.
Customer Service and Company Culture
Many people will tell you that a company’s culture is largely formed by the leaders of that company. That may be true, but it’s not the whole truth.
Good direction comes from a combination of management and leadership, but culture also comes from within. A key aspect to building a successful and strong culture is ensuring everyone knows what the goals of your organization are and what those goals are expected to look like in the future.
Customer Service and Your Leadership Team
Some of the most important aspects of providing good customer service are customer service training and customer service software. These tools help ensure that your employees are always delivering excellent customer service, even when they’re not under direct supervision.
Being an effective leader is more than just having a vision and being able to inspire people. It also means devoting your time to developing leadership skills, such as conflict resolution, communication, motivation, and delegation.
Customer Service and the Right Employees
When a customer makes a complaint, you need to take it seriously. However, customer service is more than just one of the tasks on your employee’s list. Whenever possible, it should be at the heart of everything they do.
The best way to ensure that is to hire people who are passionate about providing great customer service and who want to be the kind of person that others would consider reliable and easy to work with.
What Good Customer Service Does For Your Business
Good customer service means more business. When you look at the cost of providing good customer service, it’s easy to see why this is the case. The more customers who are satisfied, the more revenue the business will see from each of them.
The Process to Improve Your Company’s Customer Service
Every company is capable of improving its customer service performance if they follow the right process. Here are the steps that you should take to improve your company’s customer service.
Identify your Current Customer Service Performance Level
First, you’ll need to identify the effectiveness of your customer service. The easiest way to do this is by conducting a customer satisfaction survey. You should have this survey taken every 6 – 12 months, as customer satisfaction levels will likely increase over time.
Alternatively, you can look at existing customer reviews and the prevailing sentiment of customers in the store, and how workers think they feel. When things are going wrong, your staff will sense it and customers will be more vocal about it.
Identify Which of the Three Keys You Need to Work On
Next, you’ll need to identify which of the three keys to successful customer service you need to work on. These are:
- your leadership team
- your culture
- the employees in your organization
Take a long, hard look at your organization to see how each piece performs and honestly assess that performance. The more granular you can be about identifying where you need improvement, the more effective your solutions can be. Then, take the necessary steps to improve your customer service
Make Strategic Changes and Measure Performance Changes
Once you identify where to focus your improvement efforts, you’ll need to make some changes.
The first thing you should work on if it is a problem is your culture. The idea behind a great company culture is that every employee wants to be there and love their job. When your company establishes a strong culture of appreciation and respect for the customer, it’s likely to gain in popularity.
Once you set up a good company culture, you can move on to your leadership and employee training. You should make strategic changes to your service by making sure your staff is well informed, trained, and prepared to provide outstanding customer service.
You should also measure your customer service performance over time. This allows you to see the effects of the changes you’ve made in real-time, so that you can identify ways to improve them further.
Commit To Providing Better Customer Service
In the end, though, it’s all about commitment. You need to commit to working on your culture, your leadership, and your employees. Many companies put in the effort to identify the customer service problems that they have, but stop short of implementing meaningful changes for a variety of reasons.
Ultimately, it comes down to prioritizing the health and success of the business over anything else. If the business is going to survive, its customer service has to improve. Every other reason why you may avoid a change is not as important as keeping the company alive.
How to Measure Customer Service Performance
There are a number of ways to measure the success of your customer service efforts.
First and foremost, be sure you’re keeping an eye on your company’s revenue. If your revenue is going up, then you know you’re doing something right. While revenue can be affected by a variety of factors, customer satisfaction has a strong impact on sales.
Secondly, keep an eye on the number of complaints you’re receiving. Higher numbers are generally a sign that something is wrong — and something needs to be fixed.
Contact Answer Aide to Learn More About How We Can Help Support Your Customer Service Efforts
Once you’ve got a handle on who your customers are, what they want, and what you can offer them, you can position your business to give them what they want. The result will be a prosperous business that sees lots of happy customers.
If you’re ready to get started with a professional answering service, we’re here to help. Contact Answer Aide by calling (866) 427-3500 or by filling out our online form. We’re happy to partner with you to support your business while it grows.