How Do You Define Customer Service?

“We provide excellent customer service.”

Have you ever heard that phrase? Perhaps you’ve said it yourself and yet just how often do we really provide great service to our customers?

What is customer service, anyway?

The Encyclopedia Britannica says “Customer service involves an array of activities to keep existing customers satisfied.”

Wow. That’s vague. And who defines what will satisfy a customer? Telus webmail down

The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale offers these alternative words for service: assistance, help, aid, abetment, good turn, favor, a hand, a leg up, benefit, contribution; boost, promotion, advancement, furtherance, advocacy, recommendation, support and backing.

We can sink our teeth into those words, but we are still sitting in a room alone, or with our team members defining what great customer service looks like without the benefit of the customer’s suggestions. How can we provide great customer service or “keep existing customers satisfied” without input from our customers?

So the first step to providing great customer service is to define just what it looks and feels like. A great place to start is by asking your best customers:

What keeps you coming back?
What experiences do we provide that mean the most to you?
What is the most important component of great customer service for you?

The customer may or may not be able to define exactly what your customer service components are but the conversation will have two important results:

1. The customer will feel valued because you asked their opinion, listened to what they had to say and plan to use some, if not all, of their suggestions.

2. By listening between the lines, you can begin to understand just what is truly important to your customer.

When my teenage son was young he and I would spent a week each summer camping. Sometimes we’d tent camp and sometimes we’d visit a campground with cabins. His attention span was short and so I would plan great activities for our week; visiting a local children’s museum, a day at the amusement park, hayrides, hikes in the woods and trips down the river in a canoe. Each day was carefully planned with play time and adventure time. The activities were fun but also costly and a cheap vacation in a tent would often cost as much as if we’d stayed in a hotel.

One summer, as we drove home from our fun-packed week, I asked my then five year old son what his favorite time had been. We’d visited Santa’s Village and I fully expected him to pick the amusement park as his favorite experience

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