An Expectation of Service
Customer service is the art of caring, understanding and solving a customer's needs in a professional and personalized manner. When a client seeks a solution to an existing problem, or the prevention of a future problem, there are always initial expectations.
Closing the gap between expectations and a satisfactory resolution requires:
• Follow Up
During the initial communication stage, a wise service provider will allow a client plenty of time to discuss their concerns. Understanding the client’s mission and perceived challenges is a necessary step in the process of customer service. While a client sums up their understanding of the problem(s), a trained professional may see a more involved need. Clear expectations and preferred methods of support should be discussed and agreed upon. Will a client expect individual attention or will a team approach be acceptable? Effective listening and expert analysis can move the communication process smoothly along to the accountability phase.
Accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies of the business. Superior customer service must demand and accept the obligation to report, explain, and answer for consequences. Accountability is often used synonymous with responsibility, blameworthiness, and liability. Creating a culture of accountability must start at the top, but it is also the job of the managers in the trenches to execute.
When adequate communication and accountability has been established, follow up is a matter of keeping communications ongoing through the agreed upon channels until a successful resolution is achieved for a satisfied client. Nothing demonstrates ongoing customer service as well as timely follow up. In this information age of readily available knowledge and skills, customer service is often all that sets one enterprise apart in the marketplace.
Exceptional customer service through communication, accountability, and follow up helps establish trusting and long term relationships. One positive outcome of these carefully cultivated relationships is often repeat and referral customers for the business willing to invest in exceptional customer service.