What is customer service? It is both simple and complicated to define. I believe that any interaction with a customer is a form of customer service. There are, of course, the traditional forms of contact, such as a telephone enquiry, an over-the-counter sale, a letter or a meeting, but there are many others that don’t spring to mind quite so readily when the topic of customer service is raised.
All forms of contact have an equally strong bearing on a customer’s perception of a business and the overall degree of satisfaction they experience in dealing with the business. Sometimes they affect a customer on a subconscious level; other times they are more obvious.
Some examples of the less obvious areas of customer service include:
• Is it easy to find the telephone number of the business?
• Is it easy to find the physical address?
• Is it easy to find parking?
• Is the business inviting to enter?
• Is the business well lit?
• Are you made to feel welcome by the staff ?
• Is the layout easy to navigate?
• Can the staff help with your enquiries?
• Does the business smell?
• Is the music too loud?
• Is the signage easy to understand?
• Are you treated with respect, or are you just another
• Do you have to queue for a long time to make a purchase?
• Do the staff have good selling skills?
• Do they make it easy for you to pay?
• Is the interaction with staff pleasant and sincere?
• Do they pay attention to the little things?
• Do they go above and beyond the call of duty?
• Do they thank you for your business and invite you back?
• Do customers leave the business wanting to recommend it
to their friends?
There are many other questions that can be asked and, ultimately, they all deal with different aspects of customer service.
Look at your business as a whole and I am sure that you will be able to identify many areas that you may not previously have considered as being customer service-oriented.
Customer service is really about satisfying your customers’ needs and exceeding their expectations. It is a broad field with many variables that have been broken down into simple categories in this book.
The three secrets to really satisfying your customers
1. Take the time to find out what your customers expect from you.
2. Always meet these expectations.
3. Always try to exceed these expectations.