What Is the True Meaning of Customer Service?

It’s hard to summarize what good customer service looks like in a one-word answer or a tidy, concise phrase. A good customer service definition reflects nuances and allows for varying customer experience circumstances across every industry.

To arrive at an accurate definition of customer service, you need to understand its origins, variations, and overall importance. Let’s take a deeper look at the true meaning of customer service and discover the real reasons why it’s so important for every company to put into better practice.

A Short History of Customer Service

In 1946, The International Organization for Standards formed in Geneva, Switzerland. The ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with members from 162 nations. These experts share knowledge and develop the voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that are still used today for the customer service sector.

During the 1980s, electronics began to be widely used and agencies such as the Service Quality Institute began widely providing customer service training seminars, books, and videos to aid companies in improving their experiences with clients.

The 1990s brought the internet and increased opportunities for companies to improve their customer service. Trends were tracked and “giving back” (in the form of points and rewards) to consumers for their loyalty became a priority.

More recently, social media and powerful search engines have given online reviews a prominent role in the buying process. Offering more and more personalized service to each consumer is one way to stand out in this competitive business environment.

While customer service matters in every industry, it still helps to understand the styles of customer service you can offer.

The Four Types of Customer Service

Typically, any organization’s customer service style fits primarily into one of four types: 

1. Unbalanced Supporters

These are organizations that have yet to realize their full customer service potential or the importance of it. They aren’t sure what type of customer service they prefer, so their customers may be getting mixed messages or incomplete help.

2. Personal Relationship Builders

These are often small businesses or teams that strive to provide a more personal experience for every customer. Obvious hallmarks of this style are remembering a customer’s name and preferences, like when a frequent restaurant patron has a “usual” order.

3. Data Drivers

Backed by detailed statistics and reports, these organizations use complex methods to determine exactly what their customers want and how to best approach their services. This type of customer service often works well in a B2B market where businesses are focused on the bottom line and the ROI of requested services.

4. The Gold Standard

Encompassing an overall customer service operation that includes data-driven research coupled with extremely personalized service, these organizations are very successful, set the gold standard of customer support operations, and are what other companies strive to emulate.

Which type is your organization? Which type are you striving to become? How are you trying to accomplish or maintain it? These can be hard questions to answer but if you take the exercise seriously, chances are much greater for the success of your company.

The Real Reasons Why Customer Service Is Important

Customer service representative helping customers

Yes, maintaining positive, ongoing client relationships is a key to continuing revenue, but that end-goal won’t ever be accomplished if your company doesn’t value the real reasons to deliver outstanding customer service.

It Builds Brand Awareness

Word of mouth, especially when done over the internet, is invaluable to any business. That is, when it’s positive talk that’s being spread. It can, however, be equally damaging if negative chatter is being shared online.

If a potential customer hears of a specific kind act on the part of a business, they are much more likely to offer you their loyalty. Referrals are so powerful that any company would be remiss if they didn’t consider how to best attain them.

It Builds Trust

Customers only stay loyal to trusted companies. If you lose their trust, there are plenty of competitors who will gladly take your place. By providing your customers with the best customer service experience possible, you can make all the difference in whether or not they remain loyal or defect to the other side.

Over-delivering is a very valuable tool in the trust toolbox. By going above-and-beyond what your customers expect from you, they will be pleasantly surprised and very willing to come to you again and again.  

It Works

It’s inevitable. No matter what you do to prevent them, issues will always come up and customers will always need to be able to rely on you to solve them. You are expected to treat customers well and appreciate them for their patronage.

Customer service, when performed well, is the bridge you build to keep your customers coming back to you over and over again.  

To summarize, what is the true meaning of customer service? Here’s our definition: It’s a willingness to assist your customer to the best of your ability, and it’s taking the opportunity, each and every time, to build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between you and the people you serve.

How ROI Does Customer Service

At ROI Call Center Solutions, customer service isn’t just part of our business—it’s our only business. In fact, we’ve made it our business to optimize and personalize customer service so it doesn’t become a thing of the past.

To see how our customer service expertise could help your company or organization, ask for a free quote today.

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