Customer service can be seen as vital in the sphere of modern business. There are few companies who do not regard the importance of service as paramount. In today’s consumer world it would be foolish for many companies to disregard the wishes of the customer. Often providing exceptional service is the only dividing factor between two companies, with the internet providing ever increasing amounts of review based information companies have once again found the importance of providing a service that will spread through word of mouth.
Customer satisfaction has become so important that a professional body; the Institute of Customer service has been formed. Operating through a membership system it provides industry standards for service whilst awarding those who meet these standards each year. The institute also undertakes the training of representatives and undertakes a nationwide customer satisfaction survey twice a year to assess the overall standard of service present in UK business.
As a customer today we are faced with unrivalled choice, those as close as two generations before us could not have imagined how different the world of consumerism is. Only fifty years ago the local cooperatives still existed providing almost anything a customer might need. Although a local service was guaranteed, this can be seen as a distant memory for many. The trend has been to provide the customer with an increase in specialist services and product providers.
These specialist traders have led to an increased focussed on customer satisfaction when it comes to advice on buying products. The purpose of modern shops is to advise their customer base on what is the best option, not for the good of the shareholders but for the customer. This is the essence of modern customer service, at least in its advisory role. To provide a customer with the best product taking into account their budget and needs is the primary objective.
Another major component of the modern business is complaint handling. Many of the previous generation will remember a simple shrug of the shoulders if a complaint was raised. Today the customer is better protected by laws and hence larger companies have responded to this. Many companies now implement complaints handling procedures that all staff must be trained in; the idea of this is to always provide the customer with the best customer service possible, subsequently improving their reputation in a wider sense.
Some companies have undertaken customer satisfaction in a more proactive manner. Through post sales customer surveys it is possible to achieve valuable knowledge of various facets of a business. Gaining an idea of how a customer feels they were treated, how well they thought the service performed and whether or not they think they received a good deal are extremely precious when searching for that competitive edge.
Like so many elements of the modern world, the internet has revolutionised the customer service received by consumers. Although many still like to have a real person at the end of the phone when making inquiries, websites with frequently required information and automated telephone services have arguably simplified customer requests. What can definitely be asserted is that these technologies have reduced the costs for many companies.
Companies that combine these elements to create superior service will truly feel the benefit. Admitting accountability is a major part of this as customers are far more forgiving when a company has recognized its mistakes and is pursuing to resolve them. Delivery of consistent results to consumers and resolving issues speedily will give that particular company a competitive edge over its rivals; this is why modern businesses really have no choice but to provide exemplary service.