Tips on How to Provide Good Customer Service (With Benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated January 26, 2023
Published November 5, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
The quality of service received from an organization often determines customer loyalty. For this reason, many organizations continually invest in their customer service efforts. Understanding how to provide good customer service in food industry careers and other areas can help make you an effective employee and aid your career development. In this article, we describe good customer service, outline its features, provide tips for providing quality customer service, identify its benefits, and explore essential customer service skills.
What is good customer service?
Good customer service is relating with customers in a timely, respectful, and helpful manner. Customer service involves all interactions with the customer, from when they purchase goods to after they use them. This involves helping customers with their purchase or delivery and responding promptly to all complaints or requests. To ensure effective customer service, many organizations hire customer service representatives or create a customer service department. These professionals relate with customers and ensure they're satisfied.
Features of effective customer service
Here are some features of effective customer service:
Prioritization of the customer
Effective customer service prioritizes the satisfaction and happiness of the customer at all times. For that reason, customer service representatives are constantly available to respond to all their needs and communicate to the customer that they're valuable. They do this by speaking respectfully, thanking the customer for their time, expressing gratitude for their patronage, and responding to relevant questions.
Effective customer service requires representatives to act professionally at all times. Even when a customer is unreasonable or aggressive, it's essential for the representative to maintain composure and focus on addressing the issues the customer is presenting. Maintaining professionalism can impress other customers and preserve the organization's brand image.
Protecting the interests of both customers and the company
The goal of quality customer service is to protect the interests of the customer without compromising the interests of the company. While it is important that customers feel satisfied, it's equally important to promote the organization's interests to avoid losses. This makes it essential for a customer service representative to balance these two competing interests as necessary.
Tips for providing quality customer service
Here are some tips to follow to provide quality customer service:
Be friendly and polite
When attending to customers, it's important to create a friendly atmosphere. This helps customers feel relaxed, which can be helpful if they're coming to resolve an issue they have with the company or its products or services. It also communicates to the customers that they're important to the organization. Do this by smiling, greeting customers enthusiastically, and using respectful language during your interaction with them.
Attend to customers promptly
Attending to customers immediately after they contact you communicates you have respect for them. This helps de-escalate tense situations and also encourages customer loyalty. It is best to respond to a customer as soon as possible. If you're unable to respond immediately, ensure the response time doesn't exceed 24 hours. Organizations can list their customer service departments' operating hours on their websites or in other publications.
Understand the product or service
To provide effective customer service, it's essential you understand the product or service offered by the company. For example, understanding how the product works and the ways to use it helps you provide effective solutions when a customer has a complaint. This knowledge also helps you easily persuade customers to buy products when you're aware of the value and features it offers.
Practice active listening
Active listening helps you to understand the complaints of the customer properly. This understanding is essential for providing effective solutions. By listening to the customer's complaints, suggesting effective ways to improve the product or service and helping to ease the situation by being engaged and invested in what the customer is explaining.
Follow up on resolved issues
Following up on customer complaints is an effective way to show concern about user experiences and convey that you value them. Follow up by sending a brief email or message asking if they were able to resolve the issue with the product or if it occurred again after you resolved it. Remember to thank the customer for their time and patience during your follow-up.
Showing gratitude to your customers demonstrates you value them, which helps to improve their loyalty. Show gratitude for their patronage, patience during a complaint, and other forms of support to the company. One of the most effective ways to show gratitude is by offering benefits to your customers. This can include discounts, sales offers, and free samples. Consider including thank-you notes in your packaging for a more personal gesture.
Involve customers in the work process
Involving customers in the work process may encourage them to continue using the product and support the company, increasing their patronage. For example, ask customers what new products they are interested in or the improvements they want to see. Involve customers in the product testing process or allow them to vote on a product feature like colour or logo.
Ask customers what they want
Companies that spend more resources on market research are more likely to attract and retain customers. This is because customers are usually the best source of information for determining market preferences. Use surveys and other techniques to determine what customers want and act accordingly.
Show concern for social issues
Showing concern about pertinent social issues can communicate that an organization values its customers. Do that by donating to charitable causes, campaigning for social justice, or assisting individuals from disadvantaged groups. This way, the company can grow a connection with its customers and show support for the issues and people in their communities.
Try to make your communication with your customers more human to build rapport. For example, you may address them by their name in your official emails or messages. Make your advertisements more personal by incorporating celebrations for various cultures, which are important to customers.
Benefits of quality customer service
Here are some benefits of quality customer service:
Due to the cost of advertisements, it's much cheaper for organizations to invest in retaining existing clients than pursuing new ones. Existing customers are more likely than new customers to spend more on a brand due to trust. They can also advertise the brand to family and friends, increasing your chances of gaining new customers. This makes it beneficial to invest in customer service, which is usually an inexpensive process compared to other advertising methods.
Increases sales and profits
When you provide quality services to customers, they're more likely to return as repeat customers. Satisfied customers are also more likely to spend more on your products and refer them to others. For these reasons, quality customer service can help increase the likelihood of an increase in profits.
Preserves brand image
Satisfied customers are likely to discuss their experiences on various platforms, including social media. Ensuring your customers always have something positive to say can help build and sustain a positive professional image. Similarly, customer service representatives can help remind customers of corporate values.
Supports marketing efforts
Satisfied customers are likely to refer your products and services to their friends and family. Customer referrals are a great form of marketing as people are more likely to believe those they know. Effective customer service also works as a less expensive form of marketing.
Helps develop better products
Customer service also involves noting complaints from customers and incorporating them into future efforts. For example, by analyzing the most common complaints customers have, an organization can improve its products and services. Customer service representatives can work with others in the company to help provide insights on the direction the company may take to best address the needs and wants of its customers.
Essential customer service skills
Here are some essential customer service skills:
Many of the interactions customer service representatives have with customers are resolving complaints. These complaints often relate to various complex issues. Customer service representatives require problem-solving skills to resolve these issues effectively and to maintain customer satisfaction.
Customer service representatives spend a lot of time explaining solutions to customers on a step-by-step basis. To explain these solutions effectively, customer service representatives can benefit from having effective communication skills. Active listening is also important for the role, as it helps when trying to understand customer issues.
Interpersonal skills are abilities that help you build and sustain relationships with people. Customer service representatives require this skill, as their role involves building and sustaining client relationships. The ability to respond to customers in a friendly and genuine manner is a function of interpersonal skills.
Time management skills
Customer service representatives usually handle several customers at the same time. Some organizations also have a large customer base, which means more people may contact the customer service department. To handle these competing interests effectively, customer service representatives require effective time management skills.
Conflict management skills
Often, customer representatives encounter upset and aggressive customers. In such cases, their responsibility is to de-escalate the situation and avoid losing the customer. Conflict management skills are necessary for navigating these situations and help to reduce the customer's disappointment.
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