It is well known that providing customer service is vital in marketing your business for long term success.
However, what does customer service really mean?
A Google search produced over 37 million results, including:
- “The provision of service to customers, before, during and after a purchase” from Wikipedia
- “An organization’s ability to supply their customers’ wants and needs” from About.com
If you do a search on excellent, great or exceptional customer service you will also find thousands of results.
With so many different explanations and definitions including our own, we can sometimes forget to look at it from our customer’s point of view.
This is especially true when you hear someone say “Our difference is the excellent customer service we provide”.
This may be fine if you are competing against larger companies, but what happens when your key competitors are other small businesses and all are making this claim?
One important element is to make sure your customer service policy is friendly.
If you look at all the elements that could make up your customer service policy it could be a long list. Here are just a few:
- After hours service
- Returning phone calls, emails, support tickets requests etc
- Order fulfillment
With these and many other elements how do you know what hits the right spot with your customers.
Sure, there is the minimum which could be an industry standard.
But are you missing to include or concentrate on those elements that your customers feel are vital.
We may think that having nil shipping costs is important or offering 30 day money back guarantees or a 24 hour help desk.
Unless you understand your customers’ definition you may end up offering the same customer service experience as your competitors or one that is not important to your customer.
It is not always easy to find out the information from your customers as they may not be able to give you a clear answer, especially new customers.
However feedback from your key customers will give you big hints.
You may even find it is something very simple and straightforward.
Identify their definition and what elements are crucial, important, nice to have and not important.
It just might set you further apart from your competitors and strengthen your customer relationships even further.
One final point to note is to ensure you have the resources in place to deliver the customer service.
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