This week, we came across a definition for customer service:
“The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.”
For a general jyst, this does the job. For the customer experience world, though, we think this definition may be a little detached and- if we’re honest- we think we can do a bit better!
Place the word ‘great’ in front and we have a talking point. So, what would the definition for ‘great customer service’ be? Let’s break down the definition and add a dash of ‘greatness’ along the way…
“Assistance and Advice”– Assistance is the most important ingredient involved in any customer service Interaction. Without the need for assistance, the customer wouldn’t be in touch in the first place.
The advice is what makes the assistance all the more personal.
Example: You’re a mobile phone company customer, you’re going on holiday soon, and you call up to activate your international services. From a Customer Service Advisor’s perspective, the assistance would be acknowledging that the customer would like to turn their services on, and doing so. Advice, however, would require the Advisor getting to know the customer; finding out where they are heading, explaining the charges for the area, how to monitor data usage etc.
The assistance would be the action being carried out by the Advisor, but the advice would be the Advisor taking the time to get to know the customer, understanding their needs, and then using this information to offer personalised and relevant advice.
“Provided by a company”– As a customer you do want to know that you’re in the right place, but you don’t want to feel as though you’re talking to a company, you want to feel like you’re talking to a person; someone who knows their stuff, wants to help and carries out any requested actions efficiently.
As well as being a representative and upholding the values/ tone of the brand, it’s important for your Customer Service Team to feel that they can get to know their customer and build rapport. The Advisor will need to get to know their customer in order to provide the best and most relevant advice. Long gone are the days of robotic scripts, and we’re glad!
“those people who buy or use”– OK, so we understand that this is just for definition purposes, but we can’t help feeling a little uneasy thinking about valued customers as just “people who buy or use”. Getting to know each individual customer is the key to providing a positive customer service experience and, as we touched upon above, is the best way to ensure that you offer the most appropriate advice and support, catered to the customer’s needs and situation.
A past report suggested that, by 2020, Customer Experience will become the predominant brand differentiator, beating both price and product. Customers “will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.”(Customers 2020 Report, Walker)
“products or services”– It’s incredibly important for your Customer Service Team to have an in-depth knowledge of the products/services in question. After all, it’s what your customer wants to talk about.
As well as knowing the customer and understanding their needs, the Customer Service Advisor will need to know the product/service inside-out before they’re able to provide extra advice or be unable to provide extra advice, or go above and beyond.
With all that being said, let’s re-jig that definition, shall we?….
‘Great Customer Service’:
Personalised, knowledgeable advice and assistance, from one individual to another; customised to suit the needs of the individual requiring assistance (the customer).
OK… we’ll admit, it may be a bit wordy… but it definitely makes sense to us!
Of course, we could go on about this all day… In reality, there are a huge number of factors that contribute to a positive customer experience, but we think we’ve covered the basics.
If you need help making your customers’ experience great, simply get in touch.