What makes good customer service?

Shep Hyken
September 22, 2017
By Shep Hyken
Good customer service is more than having a great attitude: it's about meeting and exceeding the customer's expectations, customer service expert Shep Hyken writes.

It's important to appreciate employees for doing a great job taking care of customers. There are many ways companies are celebrating. Everything from an employee appreciation event, like a lunch or dinner, to fun games that are about team building and camaraderie. And, of course, there is showing some love and appreciation to your customers.

I remembered a question that was asked in a recent interview. “What makes good customer service?” Normally I would say attentive people, knowledgeable employees, great attitudes, strong relationship-building skills, and a desire to serve. While all that – and more – can create good customer service, there is an even bigger answer.

We cannot determine if we give good customer service. Only our customers can. In other words, it is our customers’ perceptions that determine if we’ve provided good or bad customer service. The customer acts as the judge and jury. As a business, we can only hope that our efforts are in line with our customers’ expectations. And, only our customers will determine if we have met or exceeded them.

Good customer service starts on the inside with the company’s culture. I’ve preached this before. Leadership must create a customer service vision that every employee can relate to. It must be concise, simple and easy to remember. I call it the service “mantra.” It must be trained to – not just once, but continuously. Remember, training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do.

Every employee must do their part. Once they understand the vision and are properly trained, they must manage every interaction they have with their customers for an optimal experience. The secret to making it optimal is within reach of anyone or any company. Just make the experience better than average. Just a little. That may sound easy, but what makes it a little more difficult is that it must be all the time. In other words, the customer can count on it. A consistent and predictable experience, that is better than average, is what makes for good customer service.

Take some time to talk about your service vision. If you don’t yet have one, this is a good time to start the process of creating one. Tweak the service. Talk about it. Practise it. Get feedback about it. And, make sure you’re not just meeting, but exceeding your customers’ expectations, if even ever so slightly. Your customers will tell you if you are. And, that’s how you’ll know if you are delivering “good” – even amazing – customer service! 

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, visit www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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