What is Customer Service? (And why is it important?)
Wikipedia will tell you that customer service is “the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase.” And Business dictionary will tell you that it’s “All interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter.” But what is it really? And why is it important to you as a fast-growing business?
Customer service is every interaction with a customer.
Customer service started out as help offered at a desk at the back of a department store, and evolved with the invention of the telephone. In today’s hyper connected world, customer service is more than just the helpdesk agent ...view middle of the document...
Not only do customers ask for help on social channels but they also share their opinions with friends and family on social channels. It’s critical that today’s small businesses offer multi-channel customer support across email, phone AND social networks, so they can offer help, solicit customer feedback, and participate in conversations about their brand.
Self-service support is an essential part of support.
Today’s customers like to find their own answers, at their own speed. More than 90% will check a website for answers before emailing for help, so your website can make a huge difference in how you are perceived. Self-service could be existing information or information provided by fellow customers. Some of the most common types of self-service are FAQs and searchable knowledge bases, but user communities are also a cost-effective way to offer help while building relationships with customers. This is a must-have in today’s world.
7 customer service principles that can change your business
Welcome to the era of the customer. In today’s world it’s all about creating awesome experiences. If you want to be successful, you need to throw out the old way of thinking of customer service as a cost center and start thinking about customer service as an opportunity center.
After all, after a positive customer service experience, 69% of Americans would recommend that company to others. Here are seven principles for awesome customer service that can help you deliver the best experiences, every time.
1. Support customers as a team.
These days, customer service is a team sport. And not just for your support team — for your entire business. You need to train everyone at the company on your customer support tool so they can answer questions and they can all pitch in when times are busy. Sure, you’ll want to pass highly technical cases to the experts, but everyone needs to be able to help out. And, successful startups can tell you that when everyone spends time on the frontlines it’s easier to stay aligned around customers, and maintain service levels when things get busy.
2. Listen to customers (and share their ideas).
What information do you need to answer people's questions? Encourage your team to never hesitate to ask questions when talking to customers. The more they know about your customers and their needs, the more of an asset they are to both your company and your customers. What’s more, your customer support team can be one of your best sources of feedback, and a key driver of product innovation. Some successful startups have the customer support team present their latest findings at every company meeting.
3. Be a real person (not a robot).
Robots are cool but people would rarely choose to have a conversation with them. And when 75% of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, [Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report] you need to show them that you aren't a machine! Encourage agents to...