What is Customer Service? Why Is It Important?
It seems these days people tend to lose sight of customer service. They think the only time you need to consider customer service is if you are in a call center or something like that. But customer service comes into play every single day.
I don’t consider myself as being in the customer service field at the moment. Early in my career I worked in hotels which would be considered more traditionally customer service. Now I work in education. The concepts are the same – the students are my customers, the staff are customers and parents are customers. So then what?
Once you view them all as customers you can easily achieve success by implementing some basic customer service strategies.
- Listening – your interactions are much more meaningful when you listen and pay attention. This simple action lets the customer know they are important to you, what they have to say is important and that you care.
- Know when to speak – once you master listening, you can’t just listen… At some point you need to speak and what you have to say must be meaningful and relatable.
- Patience – do not rush them or act anxious. Give them the time they deserve and always stay calm.
- Commitment – if you commit to something, follow through. Make sure you know if your commitment/promise is even possible. You don’t want to violate company policies but you do want to offer support where you can.
- Do not lie – your word is your reputation so value it and treat it like gold.
- Followup – after you have worked to resolve whatever issue they are having, go above and beyond by following up. It is kind of like a surprise gift and everyone loves little surprise gifts.
- Knowledge – make sure you are as knowledgable as possible regarding the services you are offering or can offer. Quite simply, become an expert.
- Body language – keep it relaxed, open and friendly.
- Do not question yourself – if you lack confidence they have no reason to trust what you are saying.
- Surprises – well they come up and often. You can panic and let it derail any/all of your efforts or you can roll with it and come up with a plan to reach your goal and help your customer reach theirs.
- What if? – What if you had the same problem your customer has? How would you want it resolved? Is it possible? Does it make sense?
- Add – always add something. What makes working with you better than working with anyone else? How can you stand out from the rest. What’s in it for them?
- End result – what was the end result? Has it been resolved? Are there more steps you need to take?
How many of these customer service traits and habits resonate with you? This list is very helpful to keep on hand as a reminder. No matter what your job or career is, customer service skills are critical to success. In education alone – I tell my tech team all the time… Anyone can be a technician and walk in the door, perform the essential task and move on to the next. But their success will go a long way if they check in with the principal when they arrive at a school. Does the principal need anything? Often they are far too busy to take a moment to seek out that help. 90% of the time they will say they are all set but they will never forget how you checked in to see. And the 10% where they may need help – well it becomes the technician being proactive rather than waiting until the principal can’t take it anymore. Miss Bongo Avis specifically talks about how tech companies can really benefit from customer service! She is right on target.