What is Customer Service?

Customer service is all about how a business “serves”  its customers – or let’s put it another way, customer service is how a business “looks after” its customers.  When a customer decides to use a business, he or she is on a journey and every touchpoint is part of the overall customer experience and businesses must work hard to meet customer expectations throughout the whole journey.

What are the stages in the Customer Service Journey?

The stages of the customer service journey may vary and may include some or all of the following:

Stage 1:   Say “Hello” digitally

The customer may start their quest for information by a Google search for your business.  They find your website and decide that your business is one that they are interested in exploring.  But they have a question not answered on your website and decide to send an email or use the online enquiry form.

So how do we get the digital customer service right?  Answer emails and respond to online enquiry forms quickly and professionally.  No slang or typos here please. Create a positive first impression from the first online communication otherwise the customer may be turned off your business and decide to go elsewhere.

Stage 2:   Email Ping-Pong

Next up is some email ping-pong between you and the customer.  The tone is friendly and the customer seems interested in doing business with you but is asking lots of detailed questions which you are answering quickly and politely.  Rapport starts to build up nicely between the customer and your business.  This is the start of a good customer service experience.

Stage 3:   The Phone Rings

Good customer service also minimal waiting time.  Answer the telephone within three rings, smile and say in a friendly voice: “Good morning, Customer Sense Training.  Lynda speaking.  How can I help you today?”  It’s the customer who you have been playing email ping-pong.  There are more detailed questions which you answer politely and patiently.  The customer (he is called Brian) is really interested and decides he is coming to meet you next Tuesday morning.

Stage 4:  Be prepared

Tuesday arrives and the exterior of the business is clean and tidy – no rubbish in the car park and the hanging baskets are full of pretty flowers.  You have the products and information ready for Brian.  Clean shoes, clean shirt, mobile phone off and all spruced up – ready to create a positive first impression of yourself and your business.

Customer service is about good presentation – not just how you look but also how your premises look.

Stage 5:  A warm welcome

“Good morning Brian.  How lovely to meet you today.  Thank you for coming …”  Start with a warm welcome, a smile and a firm handshake.  Make Brian feel welcomed and important throughout his time at your business – pretend he is your best friend and treat him like a VIP.  Even though he asks the same questions that you have answered hundreds of times before, don’t roll your eyes and tut but answer them patiently and politely.

Stage 6:   Time to say goodbye

All questions are answered and Brian wants time to think about everything.  The reality is that he is probably talking to two or three of your competitors at the same time.  Hand him a card and invite him to call or email with any further questions.  Say “Goodbye Brian” as customers like you to remember and use their name.

Stage 7:    Thank you

You have done your best to demonstrate the quality of your customer service by helping Brian today and you hope he will do business with you in the future.  Take a moment to send him a follow-up email to thank him for his visit.

So what is customer service?

Customer service is how a business looks after its customers from the moment they visit the website, send an email, make a phone call or arrive in your premises ie stages 1 to 7.  You (and your whole team) have to get it right at every point of the customer journey.  Otherwise the customer simply ends their journey with you and starts a journey with one of your competitors – and we don’t want that to happen, do we?

Would you like to find out more about how Customer Sense can help to improve customer service in your business? Then visit our Customer Service Training pages for more information, call us on 07773 423675 or email lynda@customersensetraining.co.uk.