For every transaction, there are two sides to it. There is a side that's making a sale and one that's making a purchase. The latter usually need information and help while on the road to making a decision and help post-purchase to ensure that the usability is smooth and friendly. That's the cornerstone of customer service.
Customer service is the direct one-on-one interaction between a consumer making a purchase and a representative making a sale.
The support you offer your customers — both before and after they buy and use your products or services — helps them have an easy and enjoyable experience with you. Even in the age of technology, the human touch in helping customers is crucial. Customer service is meeting the needs and desires of any customer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected customer service representative job growth at 5% between 2016 and 2026. That's close to the average for all occupations.
Some characteristics of good customer service include:
Promptness: Promises for delivery of products must be on time. Cancellations or delays should be communicated and explained in time.
Politeness: Relaying a simple salutation or greeting like 'hello,' 'good afternoon,' 'sir,' and 'thank you very much' are a part of good customer service. It does not matter whether the purchase has been made; politeness is a prerequisite.
Professionalism: All customers should be treated professionally—the use of competence or skill expected of the professional. Professionalism shows the customer they're cared for.
Personalization: Using the customer's name is very effective in producing loyalty. Customers like the idea that those they do business with know them on a personal level. The personal touch assures the customer that you are going out of your way to make sure they enjoy a personalized experience, regardless.
Responsibility: In business, some things are bound to go wrong. It is prudent that you are quick to own up to these shortcomings and work to fix them as soon as possible. Transparency shows a high level of maturity and responsibility.
Listen: Do not be the company or sales rep that forces the sale down the customer's throat. You need to listen to the customer and understand why they purchase.
Be a forward thinker: Think long-term when dealing with customers. By keeping customers happy, they will be loyal and do marketing for you through word of mouth. In fact, according to author Pete Blackshaw, a satisfied customer tells at least three friends (whereas an angry customer means 3,000!)
Work as a team: Accept that you'll never have a perfect grasp of every issue coming into the support center. Keep up with the big picture by maintaining open lines of communication with your team. And train every employee on your help desk software so they can all pitch in during busy times.
Whether you provide customer service by phone, email, live chat, or social media, you ought to ensure that your customers enjoy the perfect experience that will make them leave good reviews about you. Many companies have provided self-service support so customers can find their answers anytime, day or night.
A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. And as each Facebook profile has an average of 155 friends, one negative experience can quickly reach thousands!
89% of companies now expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. - Gartner Research
A RightNow Technologies Customer Experience Report found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, and 73% of U.S. adults said friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand. Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers, but they will see increased business.
Qualities of a customer service representative:
Accessible, knowledgeable, and courteous.
Excellent listening skills and a willingness to talk through a resolution. Training in conflict resolution can be beneficial.
Strong speaking skills are essential. For phone staff, this means speaking clearly and slowly while maintaining a calm demeanor even if the customer doesn't.
Whichever way you look at it, your business or any business, is in operation because of how they relate to customers. Customer experience is directly proportional to customer service and is the backbone of your business.