What exactly is Good Service
High quality service is what every honest company strives to produce for its customers. People like getting good service, and they complain to their friends when they don’t get it. A good customer service reputation is integral to a successful business model.
Good customer service requires a keen balance of multiple attributes:
The company should strive to offer services as rapidly as humanly possible. People can be impatient creatures, and this is greatly exaggerated when they’re frustrated. When they get our feathers ruffled, they want their problems solved quickly and completely.
Along with speed, people also expect quality work. It is of no use to give high speed service that needs redoing after completion, or worse, takes multiple attempts to get done right. This is especially true in the event that a customer is returning for a correction or alteration. At this time, care should be taken to make sure the customer is treated maturely and respectfully, as they are likely considering telling their friends of the quality control issue. If you ever need to make a great swing at quality work, this is it.
Humans don’t like being told they’re at fault, and automatically blaming the customer tends to get a lot of negative replies. If there is a possibility that the company is at fault, apologize and own up to the possibility that it may not be the customer’s fault. If it is, then try to make it right. If it isn’t the companies fault you still gain ‘brownie points’ with the customer who may pass on your admission of possible guilt to their friends. People like hearing of companies who are willing to take the blame if it is due, and they like telling their friends about companies who are honest with their paying customers.
This also extends to avoiding the use of phrases which give an impression of “Okay, fine, I’ll give you what you want to shut you up.” People don’t take well to being placated with empty phrases that are demeaning to the customer’s intelligence. People also don’t like it when companies don’t take their problems seriously. A laid-back approach may work for some things, but when a paying customer is legitimately unhappy, it’s inappropriate.
This is where it gets tricky. People like to pay the smallest amount of money they can to get the best service they can find. Low cost options which are worthless will never go over well. If it is humanly possible, try to hire people who can actually do their jobs to a high level and take their jobs seriously. It shows when people are working just for payday. If a company doesn’t care enough about itself to hire competent staff, why should the customer care about the repercussions of blasting the company every time they get the chance with their friends?
Here’s a weird turn on the customer service business; companies don’t always have to perform to a high level as long as people can come to rely on the company to be consistent day to day. A company which has great service on Tuesday, but can barely manage simple tasks on Wednesday may find its customer base also ebbs and flows with the tides. It is better to offer a slightly lower quality all the time than to have fits and starts of both good and bad quality. You’ll never get away with doing lousy work, but passable work all the time is preferred by paying customers more than not knowing which kind of service they’ll get at any given time.
It is known that business can’t always be fair. Prices go up, quality sometimes falls, it happens. What makes customers irate is a company which tends to set every deal to benefit only itself. A company who seems to be in business only for its own ends can expect to be lambasted regularly. People like companies who can at least maintain the illusion that they are in business to offer a service rather than to pack a bank account. You have the right to make profit, but sometimes it’s better for business to let a customer have a noticeably better deal and tell them plainly “I appreciate your business, here’s your (service/goods/product) at cost/reduced rate. I am honored to have you as my customer.” Doing this gives the customer a reason to tell their friends about the way you treat your long term customers and can help you drum up self-fueled business which requires little to no effort or time of your own. You lose a few dollars, but you could end up getting more business for that small investment. Let your customers know that you value their unwavering business, and nine times out of ten, they won’t keep it to themselves!
Never underestimate the human voice. People talk to each other and when they do the conversation inevitably finds its way to topics like “so and so charged me twice for one item, etc.” Having seeded the public opinion with good deeds in the business sense is just the kind of thing that people love to tell their friends about. Your customers become a fairly cost-effective method of advertising. Never underestimate the power that comes with good old word of mouth advertising. It has been touted for years for one simple reason; it works.
Good customer service is a blend of human psychology, caring for ones customer base, and managing profit margin. Without customers, you don’t have a business. With this same line of logic, it’s easier to treat customers right once you have their trust than to continually lose and find customers on a daily or weekly basis.
If all else fails, fall back to the old standard of treating people in the way that you’d like to be treated in an identical situation; it’s worked for far too many years to discredit at this point.
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