Traditionally, customer service is described as the provision of service to customers before, during and after a sale. But it’s quite obvious that a lot of things have changed over the past two decades. Customers’ needs have become somehow complicated – and simple, if you ask me.
Customers these days know exactly what they want. So it should be very simple a task for organizations in the modern business era. However, some organizations rather see these customer needs as becoming complicated by the day.
There have been several traits, practices, features and functions identified by numerous customer service experts over the years that help deliver the best customer service. Among them are patience, attentiveness, product knowledge, persuasion and tenacity, clear communication, use of positive language, a calming presence, ability to predict customer behaviour and ability to handle complaints.
These qualities are excellent for customer service. They have yielded good results in the past! And may yield some results today. But you don’t just want some results. Your business needs full results.
Over the years, my role in customer relationship management and direct customer service by way of offering social media services has revealed to me one thing that is barely mentioned by most writers and experts in the field of customer service.
When customers tell you they don’t care about your politeness, your broad product knowledge or excellent communication skills, then you know times are changing. CEOs care about the results and not just how much effort you are putting in, or in a simple language, how well you’re trying. Similarly, customers are concerned with results – the results your product or service is expected to deliver. It’s just simple.
Let your product be the first and best customer service to give to your clients. Excellent product or service is very essential to customer retention and attracting new customers. It is not the traditional customer service functions that will guarantee repeated business in this new business environment.
It is the ability of your product to deliver the results expected of it. Call it reliability. This is evidenced by the many strong products and brands that are recording significant revenues that we do not even come into contact with their customer service, physically or electronically. A lot of attention is given to the core product to make it deliver what it is purported to deliver – Simple!
When a customer comes back to do business with you, mostly it is because he is coming back to get a good product – at least for most products and services. Customers these days will not come back to experience excellent customer service and walk away with a poor product.
That said, it is also important not to ignore the core elements of good customer service, some of which have been mentioned earlier.
So rather than investing heavily in the traditional functions of customer service, organizations (both small and big) can channel a larger part of that investment into product development, fixing defects in products and implementing recommended changes to processes, core product and services to meet customers’ needs. After all, they are your customers first because of the core product or service you offer and not the pre-sale, during sale and after-sale services.