What is Customer Service?

This is a guest blog with Steve Curtin, speaker, consultant and the author of Delight Your Customers.

There are as many definitions of “customer service” as there are customer service books and gurus. And, while there is no single correct definition, I would like to submit mine for consideration:
Customer service is a voluntary act that demonstrates a genuine desire to satisfy, if not delight, a customer.

Within this short definition, there are seven elements that I suggest we explore further:

Voluntary: Providing exceptional customer service, unlike executing mandatory job functions for which an employee is paid, is always voluntary. Employees don’t have to deliver it. And most don’t. (This explains why you almost always receive the deli sandwich you ordered but might not always receive it with a smile.)

Act: Service is a verb. As such, it requires action. Without initiative, one’s readiness and ability to initiate action, there is no exceptional customer service.

Demonstrates: Exceptional customer service reflects job essence, an employee’s highest priority at work.

Genuine: Exceptional customer service is not about masking your true feelings. It’s about actualizing them. There’s no place for duplicity or phoniness in the delivery of exceptional customer service.

Desire: Employees must want to provide exceptional customer service. Exceptional customer service doesn’t happen by chance. It happens by choice.

Delight: Employees decide for themselves whether or not to expend the discretionary effort required to elevate a customer service experience from satisfactory (ordinary) to delightful (extraordinary).

Customer: Customers are our highest priority at work and the ultimate basis for our employment.

What’s your definition of customer service? If you don’t have one at your place of business, consider posing this question to the team at your next department meeting. Put everyone at ease by reminding them that there’s no single correct definition of customer service. Whatever you come up with together will be just right for your work group.

Besides tapping into the team’s collective genius, you’ll be raising awareness about the topic of customer service, which, besides actually serving customers, may be the best use of your time at work.

To learn more about customer service, enroll in Steve curtin’s SoundviewPro course, Delivering Exceptional Customer Service.

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