Saturday, December 8, 2007

What is customer service?

With almost 5 years of customer support experience with me, I thought I should share my views on customer service with everyone. So, here I am writing an article in my blog after a long long time.

Customer support according to me is the best means of advertisement for a business. I feel quality customer service helps retain existing customers and the good will generated attracts more customers towards your firm. And if you don't provide quality customer service, existing customers will start looking for other options and disuade potential customers as well.

I have also learned that most customers do not mind if their problem is not resolved at the very first instance. For them what matters is that someone is listening to them and empathizing with them. Also, customers hate to keep following up on an issue. If the follow up initiative is taken by the firm, the customer feels really good. Customer support is less of talking and more of listening. The reason why listening is important is that you will have more information at your disposal. The more information you have, the better it will be to solve a problem. I think we could compare this with arithmetics. In arithmetic the unknown factor is considered "x". Suppose x=a+b+c. The value of x could be found only if we know a, b and c.

Also more direct the communication the better. I have noticed that emails fail to convey the right emotions. Emails are fine when you have to give technical details for reference. But on any given day a telephonic conversation would be a better option for assuring a customer. An issue that may take 3-5 emails to and fro, could get resolved instantly over a telephonic conversation just because of the fact that it is more interactive. The person sending an email may not be able to understand how the person would interpret it. However, in a telephonic conversation clarifications can be sought, the gravity of the problem could be understood and thus an effective solution to the problem could be provided.

I would like to conclude with a nice quote which conveys the right attitude that a customer support person should have:

To my customer.
I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.
I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.