Customer Service 101

Customer Service 101

By: Lindsay Ferro

I think most business professionals offering a service can agree that one of the most important day to day tasks is to make sure the customer is happy. But it got me thinking….does customer service mean the same thing to everyone? Is a quick response preferred over a more thorough response? Is experience more important than a positive attitude? Is solving the problem enough or can we do more? Should we be more assertive or meet people halfway? I’m not sure that I will ever have the answers to these questions because what is important to me may not be the most important to someone else. However, I think all of the following tips are important to keep in mind to ensure good customer service on any project. Plus it can’t hurt to try to check them all off, right?

 

  1. Communication: Because even some news is better than no news!
  2. Expertise: Let’s be honest, no one knows it all. But research, the right contacts, experience, and a revisit to tip #1 can still allow you to get the customer what they need.
  3. Patience: Key listening skills and a thorough answer all come with time.
  4. Positive Attitude: If you always have a smile and optimistic attitude there’s no way for a person to misinterpret your body language. Plus it’s not uncommon for customers to be more receptive to “bad” news when you tell them in a positive way.
  5. Time Management: Avoid distractions! At the end of the day customers always want answers ASAP. Lists, calendars, technology, etc. all help us stay organized to make sure we can be as efficient and thorough as possible with our solutions.

 

Customer service is simply defined as the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its product or services. While this is true I personally feel that it can be so much more. I think good customer service is like free marketing and advertising. Interior design is one of the few professions where at the end of a project we are left with a visual of our work. If a customer leaves a project beyond happy then they are more likely to spread the word of your capabilities, and show off your project. It’s a win, win for everyone! While doing a little bit of research on this topic I came across an interesting article called “Kick-ass Customer Service” by the Harvard Business Review. The article explains how customer service is changing with technology and how some types of approaches and personalities are working better than others.  What does good customer service mean to you? What kind of customer service do you offer?

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