Think of the last time you had a great experience with a company. Consider what made it such a positive experience and why you might want to use their services again in the future. It's likely your example contained at least some aspects of exemplary customer service. In a world where so much of our interaction with service providers is automated and behind a screen, great customer service and a human touch is more important than ever.
The quality of your customer service is often the first thing customers notice about your company – and it's often what leaves the most lasting impression! Getting these interactions right and exceeding your clients' expectations are extremely important.
Clear communication, patience, problem-solving and knowledge of the company's products or services are all examples of vital customer service skills. Like any other professional skills, they can be honed over time and training can help considerably in building them.
Benefits of Good Customer Service
Companies that invest in their customer service reap the benefits in terms of customer goodwill and client satisfaction. They are likely to enjoy:
- Repeat customers. People will be more likely to return to an organisation that has treated them with respect and met their needs.
- Good reviews. Happy customers will often share their experiences, especially if prompted to do so using one of the online review tools. This improves the company's reputation and provides a good boost to new customers, who know they can feel confident in your customer service levels.
- Case studies. Clients who have enjoyed exceptional service over a number of years will be more likely to want to shout about their good experience. Having built up loyal customers on a foundation of consistently great customer service, companies will have more people to call on to provide detailed case studies – a great marketing tool and a plus for any corporate website.
- Engaged staff. Customer service staff who are given the tools and training they need to succeed in their roles are more likely to feel fulfilled. If they are successfully pleasing customers on a regular basis, it affects their job satisfaction.
It's clear that the benefits of good customer service touch every aspect of the business. Metrics from customer satisfaction to client retention to sales revenue can all improve hugely when investment is made into customer service training.
Who Benefits from Customer Service Training?
When we think of staff whose customer service skills need to be top notch, we often think first of customer support staff and account managers who spend a lot of their time talking to clients. Their roles of course require high levels of good communication, empathy and problem-solving - all skills that feed into excellent customer service.
Yet customer service is a part of all roles. Even for those whose jobs are not "customer-facing", their roles will still be customer-focused. For example, a software developer is aiming to provide the best product for their customers, anticipating their needs and working with feedback they have received from an earlier version of their product.
It is also true that not all customers are "external", i.e. paying customers from outside of the organisation. The concept of "internal customers" gives a name to the interactions we have between departments and within teams each day of our working lives. Projects often rely on a joined-up approach from all areas of the business. How we treat our colleagues is just as important as how we speak to people outside. Good internal customer service can lead to good external customer service; for instance, a sales team that has been briefed well on a new release by the product team is better placed to communicate the benefits of that new product to their customers.
This shows that customer service training is important for all staff, as customer service skills are important across departments and job roles.