Create a Common Definition of Customer Service – 9/15/20

Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.”

Paul thinks customer service is about being responsive.  When he gets e-mails, he replies right away that he got the message.  When he gets a voice message, he calls right back.  If the same customer calls 5 times for updates, that’s OK to Paul, because he’ll get back to that customer immediately every one of those 5 times.

Marie defines customer service as getting the customer what they want.  “If I do my job in getting them what they want, that’s all that matters. I hate when they whine that I was rude to them or short on the phone.  They got what they wanted, didn’t they?”

Peter, Paul, and Marie all have different definitions of customer service. They are all right…and they are all wrong.

Great customer service has a cordiality peace – a friendliness aspect.  Having that warm and positive engagement with another human being should always be a part of great customer service.

Delivering exceptional customer service also has a component of speed.  Being respectful of people’s time and responsive to their needs is a part of the process of serving a customer effectively.

And great customer service, in the end, should be about giving the customer what they need – it should be about striving to achieve outcomes as much as possible.

So, Peter, Paul, and Marie were all correct – what each emphasizes is part of the definition of customer service.  But they’re also wrong – each person has a limited view of what it means to deliver great customer service, and each individual’s version of great customer service will lead to a positive experience for only a subset of their customers.

For organizations to deliver great customer service, they need to create and instill a common vision among all staff of the desired customer experience.  Organizations need to make sure that definition is broad enough to address the attitude, the process, and striving for the desired outcome, as well.

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service.

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