What Are The Key Factors In Customer Service?

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Customer service is a term that tends to get thrown around quite a bit and it is at times ambiguous as to what it means exactly. It seems to refer more than just the manner in which a service provider deals with their customers, but also the systems and procedures that are in place to ensure the customers’ needs are met. It is without any doubt very important and can be a deciding factor in earning a returning customer.

But what specifically makes for great customer service? This article will go into a few of the characteristics and factors that can help a company deliver great customer service to their customers.


Take Responsibility For Mistakes

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It’s important to own your mistakes and in some cases possibly admit to wrongdoing to appease the client even when you feel you aren’t at fault. There is no better way to irk a customer than to make an error of some kind and then be stubborn and shift the blame onto them or someone else – this is the best way to get a bad reputation. Even if the mistake isn’t your own, if the customer feels that it is, you’re better off making up for it, showing that you’re sorry and offering something in return to demonstrate this. It’s all about thinking long term!


Quick Response Times


This one is really a no-brainer and applies across all industries, but particularly in professional services. It’s imperative that you get back to customers as quickly as possible, whether it be in response to an email, a voice message or a call that you’ve received while in a meeting or otherwise engaged. There is nothing more frustrating for a client that has a time sensitive issue that needs attention immediately but has to wait because your provider isn’t getting back to you.

If you can get back to your customers within a few hours, you will actually put yourself ahead of the competition. According to Frost, the average response time to emails service providers is 17 hours. Make an effort to get back to your customers as soon as possible and your efforts will be appreciated.

For some types of businesses, this simply isn’t possible. You may be a sole trader or only have a few staff, making it very difficult to get back to customers if you’re busy on other jobs. In these cases, an answering service for small business, which allows you to outsource your incoming calls, can be very useful.


Foster Relationships With Customers

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Customers like to deal with people they know and feel as if they are valued. This is part of the reason account management is essentially an industry unto itself! As well as the actual service you provide, a large proportion of business is about the relationships that you create and maintain. Getting to know a little about your customers, their lives and the specifics of their businesses, and referring to them by name as often as possible will go a long way.

This can be more difficult for larger companies where you have many customers. In these cases, the least you can do is try keeping notes of previous discussions with clients and next time they call, bring up their file so that you have some reference point.

These points are part of the foundation that makes for great customer service, so no matter how small or large your business, they are well worth considering. Customer service is one of the most important aspects of your business, so make every effort to make it work in your favour!


5 Ways to Ensure You’re Providing Good Customer Service


There are so many things that determine why customers choose certain service providers over others. Maybe the prices are agreeable, maybe it’s more convenient, maybe it’s just a better product they are offering.  But good customer service goes a long way as well. Satisfying clients is about dealing with them in a professional and friendly manner.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review called “The Truth about Customer Experience” defines the relationship between you and your customer and the end-to-end journey. We have collected a list of some of the ways that are suggested to improve your business in this area:

1.Give Priority to your Customer

You need to listen to each and every customer and try to understand their needs as much as possible. Showing a customer that you are genuinely interested in helping them rather than interested in getting their business is a must. It will re-define your relationship with your customer and give you an opportunity to improve your service.

2.Create a Bond with your Customer

Emotional attachment is another way to create loyalty among a customer group. If your customer is satisfied with your service, they will tell others about your business. How you create a bond or connection is the million dollar question. Often it comes down to delivering in terms of your product, being reliable and treating customers as friends. This is a very efficient way to get more clients.


3.Remain Professional, but Hold your Ground

It’s a fact that you will come across clients that are difficult to deal with. Perhaps they are upset about something else, they had a bad day or maybe you made a genuine mistake. In these situations, it’s important to take responsibility when you’re in the wrong and show the customer that you understand their position. If it’s appropriate, offer something extra to show them that they’re important to you. But keep in mind that there are times when the customer needs to be dealt with firmly and fairly, if you hold your ground and keep it professional it will be better for the long-term nature of the relationship.

 4.Reward Loyalty

Long standing customers need to feel loved, and throwing in something extra just because is a good way to show that they are important to your business. This is true among basically all service areas and is a great way of retaining your customers.

5.Be Available and Reliable

No matter what kind of business it is, you should do your very best to make yourself as available when a customer tries to contact you. In many cases, however, this is simply unrealistic and it’s advisable to have a receptionist or other staff member to look after incoming calls on your behalf. This at least means you can show how important their call is to you even though you’re not there to receive it.

For smaller companies or sole traders that don’t have the budget, there are call answering services that essentially act as a receptionist on behalf of your business, answering inquiries in the proper tone and providing the right advice if needed. This is a very effective way of retaining customers.