Lesson 1 – What Is Customer Service?
What Is Customer Service?
I would define customer service as how you treat the people who support your company. These can be paying customers or internal staff. (For example, a company’s IT department probably doesn’t have paying customers, but they are still responsible for providing good customer service to internal staff.)
Why is it important?
We know why keeping customers happy is important to small businesses, however, why should we be concerned about customer service in a larger company? Who will know? Customers will know. If they refrain from coming here, we could all be unemployed.
What’s in it for me?
Good Customer service will make you feel better about your job and make you feel better about yourself. Think of the customers as the reason you have a job. If you do not attend to your customers properly, you risk the chance of being dismissed.
In some cases, customer unhappiness can quickly become customer animosity. This bitterness can escalate quickly. As customers come to expect that they will be treated poorly, they will in fact begin to treat the employees poorly (in self-defense); the affronted employee fights back, and the tension on both parties increase.
Some results of tension on employees and the organisation include:
- Increased stress-related illness
- Employee exhaustion and absenteeism
- Higher turnover (resignations)
- Cost and inconvenience of training replacement employees
- Increased difficulty in attracting good employees to the designated position
- Negative public view of the organisation
- Lower sense of pride in the organisation
- Lower sense of self-confidence amongst employees
- Increased defensiveness in employees which can lead to even more tension
People who provide good customer service (regardless of the nature of their business) earn emotional and mental benefits in addition to any rewards offered by their company.
If you are unhappy in your position, take an objective look at the kind of service you are providing. In almost every case, your job satisfaction mirrors the satisfaction people feel when doing business with you. By giving poor customer service you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Service is a philosophy—not a department, a program or a policy.
All members of a company should believe in customer service, and and should not leave it up to one department to do it all. Nor can they just refer to their policies and stop there. They will all have to work together as a team to achieve the best possible results.
Service means exceeding customer expectations.
Your definition of customer service should mean exceeding your customer’s expectations. However, you must also strive to understand who your customers are and what their needs are in order to meet this objective.
Service is not natural, automatic, or coincidental.
We are not just naturally polite and considerate about others. We have to work hard and practice good customer service skills.
Service is not natural. We do not instinctively want to serve others. This doesn’t come automatically to most of us. You know this if you have ever tried to find a seat on a full bus when you have your arms full of books or groceries, or if you’ve ever waited for a break in traffic to cross an intersection.
Nor is service coincidental. It doesn’t happen coincidentally when you buy a new car or a new coat or pay your electricity bill. Nor does it happen by chance. We have to be aware of the need for service, and then have a way or a process by which it happens.