The Essence of Customer Service

Customer service is just not the service provided to customers before, during and after purchasing goods or services- it is much more beyond that. Customer service is, first and foremost, an experience. All of us crave for the good things in life, we all want a good experience to cherish for a lifetime. Watching the sunset on a deserted island, listening to the bird’s chirp in the early morning or watching a funny movie with your family- all these are good experiences. Just like these experiences, getting a satisfying customer experience is also a good experience we all desire.

Customer service, is just like a conversation where each reciprocates to the other and just like any conversation, both parties desire the most pleasant kind of experiences. In customer service, since “the customer is King”, the customer always wants the customer service representatives to be on their best behaviour, to be at their best possible selves, and most importantly, to be human. To deliver outstanding customer service, it is essential that both parties feel good- that is the true essence of customer service. The give and take relationship in customer service is quite simple- a customer is happy with great customer service, and as a result, a customer service representative is pleased when the desired outcome is reached.

While there are many fascinating new strategies to increase customer engagement like self-service, video-based chats, and so on, it is still the ‘humanness’ which matter most. Recent surveys indicate that customers still want to be treated as individuals and prefer to experience a personalised service in order to bring about complete satisfaction. Nowadays, customer service is not just limited to a list of policies and standards that need to be fulfilled for serving the customer, it more about the behaviour and attitude when engaging with another human being.

The essence of good customer service relates to both intra-personal and interpersonal elements. While intra-personal elements involve the thoughts and feelings of an individual about themselves and others, the inter-personal aspect is about the outward behaviour, the words and actions the person engages in when interacting with others.

Given what has been said earlier about customer service, it’s time to deconstruct the term “customer service” into its key components. What is required to excel in customer service, then?  The answer is simple- in order to achieve excellence, it is imperative to nurture certain customer service skills like empathy, persistence, understanding and temperance. These are qualities that can be observed in the most successful customer service representatives, and it is therefore necessary to nurture these skills.

Make true promises

Take this as a golden rule in customer service– don’t make promises you can’t keep. Reliability is one of the most important elements in any good relationship, and good customer service is no exception. If you promise a customer that you would be delivering a new piece of furniture to the customer on Wednesday, make sure you keep your promise and deliver it on the given day.  The same rule applies to the client appointments, deadlines, etc. always remember the fact that the customer is relying on you, he or she is trusting you with an object or service that they desire. It is essential for you not to break the trust. Think before you make any promise  because nothing annoys customers more than a broken promise.

Listen to your customers

From a customer’s point of view, there is nothing more annoying than ignorance. When a customer elaborates on what they want or explain their problems, they expect you to listen to them. If you’re truly interested in providing excellent customer service, allow your customer to express their feelings and show them that you are listening by making the appropriate responses. Be emphatic about your customer’s grievances. Try putting yourself in your customer’s shoes: why would someone be angry? Try to think from the customer’s point of view and you will be able to deliver a solution to the problem.

Deal with complaints

This skill goes along with the previous one. It is not enough to listen to your customer’s grievances, it is important to act. Although no one likes hearing complaints, and it is true that you can’t please all the people all the time, as a good customer service representative, it is your duty to be at least attentive to the complaints. If complaints are dealt with properly, they can become opportunities. They give you the chance to correct issues, thereby improving your customer service.

Add something extra

If someone asks you something, don’t just give the answer, lead him or her to it. For example, a customer walks into your shop demanding for chrysanthemums. As a good customer service representative, don’t just point out the direction where the flowers are kept, lead him or her to it. The extra step can work wonders. The customer feels desired and there is an instant increase in customer satisfaction.

Practising these human attributes will surely bring out a pleasant experience for both the customer and the agent. And since the essence of great customer experience is all about delivering good experiences, nurturing these principles will surely bring about an exceptional customer service experience.

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