With razor-thin profit margins, customer service can be your competitive difference

Posted By Alvin Brown || 2-Jun-2015

The first line of defense of every company is its customer service structure and culture. Aside from a salesman, customer service is normally the initial point of contact to your company’s goods, services, and image; and when that contact is made, customers are entitled to accurate, timely, and viable information, along with the experience of speaking to a courteous and understanding customer service representative (CSR).

Whether or not a customer experience this is solely in the hands of your customer service team. No matter the disposition, even if a customer is irate, there is often a livable solution for both customer and company. The CSR goal following every call is chiefly to assure that a current customer remains a customer, and that no harm is done to the image of the company when speaking to a potential customer.

In an ultra-competitive business market, customer service can be the difference in gaining a new customer or retention of a current one. Some customer service experts like to say, don’t make it personal, keep it business. To the contrary, often that potential customer or current client is looking for the exact opposite of that statement – by all means keep it professional, but please make it personal. Make it about the customer and their needs –nothing is more personal to a customer than THEIR needs!

Whereas companies are always seeking value added propositions, a knowledgeable, considerate, and compassionate CSR is sometimes all the value that’s needed. Let’s not confuse compassion in this stead – it merely means understanding the challenges and/or discomfort communicated by the customer –successfully speak to those needs and you have a customer for life – or at least until your competitor offers the same services or products for free.

All jokes aside, customer service is the window that allows customers or potential customers to peek inside the culture of your company. There is a world of difference in personalization of a customer’s information than making him/her truly feel that they’ve had a personal experience after speaking with your CSR. To give your customer a true warm and fuzzy connection, simply trade places with them.

While we know that every call to customer service does not require a surgeon, but we still should treat each call as if one is required. Never forget that all calls are created equal in terms of the desired goals of a customer management system – customer satisfaction, customer education and customer retention.

When a customer service team is highly effective it adds instant value by enhancing the image of the company. No form of advertisement and marketing is more desired than the positive testimony of a happy, empowered and informed customer. So again, by all means do provide accurate, timely, viable, and solution-oriented information, but never forget that solving the problems of a customer is very personal -- to them.

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