How to approach customer service

What is customer service?

In a nutshell, the definition of customer service is the service provided to customers before, during and after purchasing and using goods and services. Good customer service provides an experience that meets customer expectations. It produces satisfied customers. Bad customer service can generate complaints. It can result in lost sales as customers may take their business to a competitor.

As a business, Zappos is very values led and very customer service led. How have they brought the two elements together? Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh was talking from experience when he said,

"If you get culture right, other stuff like great customer service or building a long-term brand will happen on its own." Tony Hsieh

When Zappos shifted focus from selling shoes to pleasing customers, employees became more engaged and passionate, customers were happier and sales went through the roof.

"When you hire, train and motivate your employees based on your core values, everything will fall into place on its own." Tony Hsieh

A good question to ask yourself is: What’s your WOW factor? What core values does your business live and breathe by? Are you willing to live them in good times and bad? If the answer is yes, you have a strong start to creating a culture you and your employees want to work in.

Here’s another great example: First Direct’s mission statement is ‘pioneering amazing service’. This means that customer service is used to set the direction for the business. In other words, customers come first. This is not an empty slogan. Market research shows that, in terms of customer satisfaction, first direct is the UK’s number one bank. It confirms that the bank has a reputation for quality customer service. This has also been demonstrated by comparative studies. The bank was the leading performer in the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service benchmarking programme and it came top in the Finance Sector in the Institute of Customer Services (ICS) Satisfaction Awards.

I recommend that you spend a bit of time thinking about recent times that you received great customer service: what was good about it and how did it make you feel? More importantly, did that feeling inspire you to take any particular action?

In my next blog post I will begin to unpack this topic in greater detail.