Writing a single job description for the customer service role would be pretty much impossible as it is a role that is found across almost all industries. Therefore the day to day tasks of someone involved in this role will vary almost to the point of infinity. The only thing that is consistent is that within such roles, it is up to you to ensure that the customer leaves both satisfied and interested in returning. I will now outline both why customer service is so important when it comes to whether or not customer returns to a business as well as how you can treat them in such a way that ensures that they do.
Why is Customer Service so Important?
Above all else when a customer deals with any business, they wish to be treated with respect and to be greeted by an employee who offers a genuine effort to provide them with the specific product or service that is advertised by said business. Though the quality of the product or service is in theory the most important thing, customers will forgive an imperfect product or service far faster than they will forgive an employee that appears indifferent to that level of perfection.
Consider two scenarios:
Scenario one involves an impeccable service or product delivered to a customer but done so in a manner that seems both indifferent and hazardous. A perfect example being a nice meal delivered without a smile or thank you.
Scenario two involves a customer being shown respect and being greeted by an employee who does their best for them however does not completely deliver. A perfect example being a particular item on the menu being sold out but the customer being made aware of this fact by an apologetic employee who does their best to replace it.
Of course, in the ideal situation impeccable customer service would be matched with a perfect meal. The fact is however that it is the second scenario that is most likely to lead to repeat business. Most customers are not looking for perfection, merely an attempt at providing it.
How to Provide Excellent Customer Service
Though there are many methods and techniques thought to potential customer service employees, essentially it all comes down to both having the right attitude and being able to illustrate it. The right attitude is simply to have respect for customers and to genuinely try to treat them as you would like to be treated if you were the customer. I will now outline three key ways of illustrating this attitude.
Use Positive Language
The art of effectively using positive language can be one that takes time to learn but once mastered will allow you to excel within your customer service role. The essential idea is that you always state what can be done as opposed to what cannot. For example if a product is out of stock, you state not that it is currently unavailable but that it will be available in three weeks and that it can currently be back ordered.
This is perhaps the most common mistake made within the customer service environment. Nothing will infuriate a customer more than not being listened to, it is essentially the corner stone of illustrating that a customers needs are cared about. There are three key means of effectively listening to a customer. The first is that you focus on what they are saying and avoid all surrounding distractions. This sounds simple but most people do not operate in a distraction free environment and therefore truly focusing on an individual customer can be difficult. The second means of effectively listening is to establish both the key facts and the key feelings that are being illustrated by the customer. The last thing is that no matter your level of intelligence, you are not a computer and you do forget. Therefore if you are being told of a complex scenario, always take notes. A customer will not appreciate being listened to if two minutes later what has been said cannot be recalled.
Whenever an encounter with a customer comes to an end, you need to visibly confirm that they are satisfied with the transaction, enquiry or solution. Doing so illustrates that you actually care about their satisfaction and are not just trying to get to the next customer as soon as possible. Also by asking them if they are satisfied you are illustrating that you believe that it is their definition of satisfaction that matters, not whether or not you believe that you have helped them sufficiently.
In conclusion, if you are planning on pursuing a career that involves a large amount of interaction with customers both current and potential, demonstrating an awareness of the importance of customer service and an ability to adequately provide it is probably the most important thing that you can do in your interview. Sadly, if you want to work with customers, you can practically be Einstein and it will be irrelevant if you do not know how to treat them.