Customer service is the delivery of satisfactory service to clients prior, during, and immediately after a sale. The attitude of employees toward their customers is based on how they can adapt themselves to that customer’s personality. Customers who are difficult, hostile, or unsatisfied often turn their backs on businesses. It is in customer service that customers will usually take their business elsewhere. When done well, customer service is a winning combination for any business.
There are four fundamental assumptions about customer service that all businesses make that directly or indirectly affect their success. First, all businesses assume that every person that walks into their store, office, or facility is a potential customer. Most businesses develop negative experiences early in their relationship with potential clients. They either: fail to recognize the potential customer, fail to constructively respond to the potential customer’s needs, or fail to communicate effectively with the potential customer. In any of these circumstances, the business is damaging its credibility and reducing its profitability. These common missteps cause customers to become less likely to return, causing fewer sales and less revenue for the business.
Second, most businesses assume that the customers they interact with (the “service crew”) are uniformly excellent in their ability to meet customers’ needs. This often means that the employees are not well-trained in effective social media strategy or call center management. Employees must understand how customers interact with each other on social media sites and be able to adapt their social media strategies accordingly. Again, this does not mean that an employee cannot have a bad day and have a horrible experience.
Third, many businesses assume that customers are irrationally demanding and unreasonable. Employees are trained to believe that they must provide every possible support to customers, despite the fact that these customers may be irrationally demanding and unreasonable. Customers should not be told that their concerns are not important or that they should just “suffer through it” because it will be better than letting the store’s worst employees do damage. The bottom line is that the bottom line is profit for any business; it is not simply about providing the best customer service. It is also about making sure that the most money can be made by offering the best possible product or service, regardless of what is causing a customer’s particular pain.
Finally, some companies think that customer service representatives need to ignore bad customer experiences in order to get more complaints about great customer experiences. This is not always the case. When someone has a bad experience, whether from the actual store or from interacting with a representative, the person should talk about it. This could include emailing the store and discussing the experience, explaining why the experience was not good, or warning others about the same issue. Even employees can be persuaded to talk about a bad experience if they are given a good incentive to do so. For example, if a cashier has a bad day and realizes that her colleagues are not doing a good job dealing with customers, that cashier might email all of her colleagues and mention how bad the entire process is, and that she hopes that other employees will treat her better in the future.
Some companies think that customer service representatives need to be invisible. They may want a representative who goes out of his way to make sure that a customer experience is absolutely perfect. However, this is not necessarily the best way to handle customer service. While having an employee who seems like they are always available is nice, the best way to handle customer experiences is to have someone who seems like he is never present, but does everything possible to ensure that customers are happy. This might mean setting up an alternative contact number for customers who do not feel like talking to a representative. If possible, it would even be nice if the representative’s work space was somewhere else altogether, so that he did not constantly be interrupted by people calling in.