Sunday, January 07, 2007

Defining Customer Service

How do you define customer service? There are indeed many ways to define customer service, but they are generally divided in to two categories. Customer service as defined by a particular business and customer service as it is defined by the customer.

In a business context the cost of customer service is defined as an expense and is often limited to basic services in terms of cost allocated to the cost of sales. In other words it is a function of the sales cycle or sales process most often defined by the marketing department. Even in the event that there is customer service representation the terms and policies are still determined in terms that support the over all sales cycle. Even in manufacturing or in service based companies this is true.

In terms of the customer experience, customer service is defined by the customer. Now, true every customer is different, but the service can be defined by customer segmentation or groups. When the customer defines the terms of service it is independent of the sales process and is need based with a focus shifting away from the sales cycles and sales drivers.

Which is better? It depends on the focus of the business and organisation that uses it, but if you are truly customer centered you will define your customer service and subsequent policies by the later. This applies to all sizes of businesses and organizations.

The customer fulfillment cycle is what really drives long term customer loyalty, increased sales cycles and long term increased valuation.

How are u defining customer service is it bringing you closer to your customers or pushing you farther away?

As always we invite your comments and insights

As always we invite you to share your comments and feedback.

55 comments:

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Jonty - Call Centre Helper said...

I think that the only way that you can really define customer service is from the customer perspective.

Sure it is harder to measure, but just because it is hard doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it.

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shell smith said...

I agree that customer service is defined by the customer - so isn't that a good enough reason to treat customers problems on a case by case basis? Why do so many people not do this? I recently came across a book that talks about going back to the basics with customer service. Very informative.

Ed Peaslee said...

I appreciate the blog and information on customer service which is one of the most critical points for any company. How you treat your customers and treat their feedback may determine your success as a company. I took a survey recently that tests your customer service IQ. I got a D+ but I did better than most people.

Art of Cultivation said...

I enjoyed your comments on customer service. I you agree with you on how customer service is define.

I would add though that their is one more that defines customeer service and that is your employees.

70% of the time customers do not come back to a busiess because of the employees.

Consumer Advocate said...

I agree that customer service is best defined from the perspective of the customer - because without a customer, there's no customer service!

Letterchamp is a consumer advocacy company that writes letters on behalf of unsatisfied customers, solving problems of defective products and poor customer service.

Seo said...

Customer service is not difficult if you know what it is. The rock quarry and the trucking company will have different operations than the health spa and the catalog company, but in the end, meeting and surpassing expectations will only come from people who have created environments to do so. A common definition for good customer service is “exceeding customer expectations.”

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Anonymous said...

I think we all need to evaluate our own customer service skills. Customer service is SO very important. Good customer service creates customer saticfaction which brings on the customer loyalty! I have recently come across a very neat customer service website called Mindshare Check it out it shares tips and information that can really help us all improve.

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BMW Sydney Sales and Customer Service said...

The core of customer service is the customer's needs. Now not all customers have necessarily defined, nor are aware of, all their needs.

However, customer service that misses customer's needs (known or unknown) becomes redundant pretty quickly. Customer service that addresses the customer's needs (whether the customer is conscious of those needs or not) tends to get a positive response from customers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Holden Efijy said...

As a (non-paying) customer of your web site I just wanted to say thank you for your customer service: a relevant, interesting and thoughtful blog.

David V. Greis said...

As a customer Service Trainer for many years, I agree totally that it is important to identify just how we define exceptional customer service.

All too often we pay lip service to our customers, use all the appropriate buzz word, and such but actually do little to provide our customers with the service and products they deserve.

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Hino Trucks said...

I remember reading an article by some New york psychologists who had identified three attributes of successful sales people. One of those was empathy: the ability to put yourself in the other person's position.

I think empathy would definitely help in customer service because it helps you to understand and identify customer needs, event he customer is unable to articulate them.

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Ambrose Amos said...


Customer service
brings back more customers. Any organization should have employees who can deal with customers and promote the business. When customer service is good, people normally have the desire to stay in touch. So, customer service training should be offered to employees in any organization. Customer service information has been presented well in this blog.