A good customer service definition isn’t a one-word answer or a tidy, concise phrase. A good customer service definition entails nuances, flexibility, and allows for varying customer experience circumstances across every industry.
To get a more accurate definition of customer service, here is a deeper look at its true meaning and the real reasons why it’s so important for every company to put into better practice.
The 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.
Current years have brought stiff competition to every company across the board, thus ensuring the importance of even greater customer service. This is now often accomplished by offering more and more personalized service to each consumer.
The Four Organizational Types of Customer Service
Typically, there are four different types of organizations when considering the way they handle their customer service experiences.
- Unbalanced Supporters: These are organizations that have yet to realize their full customer service potential or the importance of it.
- Personal Relationship Builders: These are often small businesses or teams that strive to provide a more personal experience for every customer.
- 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.
- 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
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 behind 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 talked that’s being spread. It can, however, be equally damaging if negative chatter is being shared online.
Focusing on positive brand awareness, if someone hears of a specific kind act on the part of a business, they are much more likely to offer you their loyalty. Also, 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’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? It’s not only a willingness to assist your customer to the best of your ability. It’s taking the opportunity, each and every time, to build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between you and the people you serve.