In this Blog Post
Does your organisation understand the importance of customer service? You have probably heard the term that "the customer is always right". While many people disagree with this statement, it is probably true. This largely depends on the way in which you look at the statement.
The customer is always right in that they are the lifeblood of any organisation. Our role as those who provide customer service is to recognise that our customer has expectations and, in their mind, their expectations can and should be met. We need to understand what those expectations are and meet them as closely as possible. If we don't, the customer will feel as though the service they received is sub-standard and that then forms their opinion of our business.
This was well before the days of social media, reviews platforms and other digital communication. Today, if you do not meet a customer's needs, the amount of people that can be influenced by one person's opinion is endless.
A common way that organisations measure the service that the customer has received is to use a metric called Net Promoter Score (NPS). To get the net promotor score and organisation will ask a single question to their customer - this is usually "on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is not likely and 10 is very likely, how likely are you to recommend our company to others".
Rather than ask them about their experience, the questions ask if they would tell others about your business. The scores work as follows:
Again, this highlights the importance of customer service in that we only have a small opportunity to generate promoters of our business. Anything less than a 9, our customers don't share the good word.
The score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters and turning this into an integer (a number rather than a percentage). For example, if you had 60% of people as promoters and 10% of people as detractors, your net promoter score would be 50% or 5.0 as an integer.
When we understand the importance of customer service, we understand that good service brings many benefits. Some of the benefits of delivering good customer service are:
When it comes to customer service there are four main elements that when considered altogether will ensure that a business is delivering effective customer service. These elements are:
People in the business need a can-do attitude. They should understand the importance of customer service and be there to help customers, promote the business and ensure that the customer is placed at the centre of everything. This should happen regardless of pressure from targets and goals, and even if the customer-facing team are feeling pressure from above to achieve more, this should never come across when dealing with customers.
We all have the ability to separate the emotions we are feeling from the outward attitude we demonstrate. This is an easy thing to do in theory, but really difficult in practice. See this post for more on this.
Customers themselves can also drive people to feel negative, but we need to understand that they are always right and we should do everything we can to help them, especially in these challenging times. See our Why Customers Are Always Right post for more details.
In order to deliver effective customer service, those people facing customers need a certain amount of skills to ensure that customers are receiving great service. Some of the skills include communication skills, listening skills, assertiveness skills, questioning skills and being empathetic.
If your organisation doesn't seem to be delivering the right level of service to customers or you are receiving lots of complaints, then maybe it time to look at the skills levels of the customer-facing people to see if they have the right skills set. If they haven't, then this could be having a negative impact on their attitude towards the business and of course customers.
Your organisation should have a way of measuring service standards. They should understand the importance of customer service and therefore build measures around how well the organisation is delivering service.
These should be documented and communicated to the customer-facing people in the business. These don't have to be detailed standards, more of a framework that shows the organisations approach to delivering effective customer service.
If the customer-facing people in the business don't know what is expected of them or the importance of customer service to the business, how will they ever achieve the expectations the business or the customer has of them.
Regular reviews of standards should be carried out to check they are still relevant, and customer service standards should be included in one to one discussions.
This is twofold. As mentioned previously the organisation should communicate their expectations to the customer-facing staff on a regular basis. We need to remind our people of the importance of customers and the importance of customer service.
Also, the communication approach that the team takes with customers is important. We not only need to be highly aware of the attitude we have towards customers but also highly aware of the style of communication that we using with customers.
Thought should be given to first impressions, body language, our voice and the actual words that we use.
Ensuring all of the above four elements are looked at and are correct, will go some way to ensuring that the service you offer to customers is highly effective.
Next comes behaviours then skills. Behaviours are the things that customers see and hear and should show that we understand the importance of customer service. Skills are the things we need to learn and practice to deliver a better service.
Here are some top tips linked to the above to help you to improve your service:
Happy Staff = Happy Customers = Healthy Revenue = Healthy Business = Happy Staff = Happy Customers (and so on and so on).
Cutting corners, not taking time, rushing, making mistakes and not taking responsibility will drive customers away. We need all of the people in the organisation (whether customer-facing or not) to understand the importance of customer service and the positive impact it can have.
At Revolution Learning and Development we offer a one-day Customer Service Skills Training course that looks at the importance of customer service and the four elements above in much more detail.