What does customer service mean to you?

The perception of customer service is commonly correlated as an activity, performance measurement, or a philosophy. There are several definitions of customer service out there, as for just one definition does not exist. In order to define customer service, it’s important to be aware of behaviors and actions that customers seek when interacting with service providers.  If a potential client were to ask you “What does customer service mean to you?” You are put on the spot and your answer could possibly cost you the sale. On the positive side, it could gain you the sale with the correct response. It’s important to have a vivid definition of customer service implanted in your brain. It’s not only important to have complete knowledge concerning customer service in terms of preparation, it’s important to have a clear definition so that you are practicing what you preach.

The principle of customer service involves meeting needs. You can explain it in numerous different ways. It all boils down to building a relationship by meeting the needs and wants of your customer. The service begins once the customer walks in the door, the moment you hear their voice on the phone or the very second you are communicating through e-mail, etc. When does it end? It never ends; once you’ve obtained that customer you are constantly working to go above and beyond his/her expectations.

It’s very imperative to know what a customer expects. When people choose to do business with a company or individual, it’s because they have specific product or service need.  A person who needs a website designed will go to a web designer or even perhaps a marketing firm. A person who needs office supplies is going to go to an office supply store or order from an office supply catalog. A person who has a pipe leak is going to call around for a plumber.

Aside from specific needs, customers have a basic expectation of how they should and want to be treated.  Some simple basic needs include; personal recognition, professionalism, patience, empathy, respect, treating them only in a courteous manner, and being understanding. A customer wants to be viewed as a valuable human being. They want to feel important and bold. A key to customer service that should be implanted into your brain is always demonstrating professionalism. Professionalism plays a major role on how your customer views you and your business as a whole. No matter what the circumstances are, your personal issues are not of any concern to the customer. Stay professional and remain positive in all customer interactions.  Not to state the obvious, you should always be courteous to your customers, this is a person considering doing business with you. It always tends to provide a better outcome when you look at the situation from their perspective. They will greatly appreciate this. Just take a step back, and look at your business process through the customers’ eyes. Make sure you activate your best listening skills, for the customer needs to be understood. The best way to demonstrate you understand is to listen carefully. Interrupting, not allowed. Forget the word interrupting exist upon dealing with a customer.  By doing this, you are also demonstrating respect. To further enforce your respect to the customer, be patient. Give them your full attention and stay on task.

Customer service is usually defined as negative or positive. This is all decided by the communication that takes place between the service provider and the consumer. As long as you follow all of the basics of the customers’ needs, your customer service language will remain positive, polite and demonstrate respect for customers.

One of the best ways to figure out what customer service means to you, is to reflect over past experiences as a customer. Most likely you’ve experienced all aspects, negative and positive service. Now think about how these experiences have had an impact on you. In the end, providing the best customer service is about thoroughly understanding what the customers need and want, and going above and beyond their expectations.