Study notes

Customer Service - Introduction

Broadly speaking, customer service can be defined as:

"The way a business looks after its customers"

Customer service has to be a team effort and not just the responsibility of employees who deal with the public directly.

Providing good customer service is a vital part of managing a business. Most customers have the option to go elsewhere if the quality of customer service is lacking. On the other hand, good customer service is a source of competitive advantage.

Good customer service leads to customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more loyal and profitable. Dissatisfied customers take their money elsewhere – and tell their friends about the poor service they have received.

Customer satisfaction

The following ideas are usually considered to be fundamental in achieving customer satisfaction:

The product or service must meet customer needs & wants – i.e. it must be of good quality

Sales and promotional activities need to create a positive experience for the customer. For example, the attitudes of employees who make contact with customers should be positive and professional

After-sales service should also be positive and appropriate (e.g. user training, help lines, servicing). Customers often need reassurance after they have bought something that they have made the right choice, or help in using a product properly.

Customer expectations of good customer service also play a part in customer satisfaction. These expectations typically include factors such as:

  • Safety and security
  • Clear and accurate information
  • Legal rights to be upheld
  • Impartiality and objectivity
  • Complaint, enquiry and suggestion procedures
  • Special needs catered for (e.g. disability access)
  • Ethical delivery

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