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Five things that are key to customer care

Customer service is a must - especially for companies on the larger end of the scale. But does your team do the right things? Do they prioritise their users’ needs?

Service that functions properly not only contributes to more satisfied customers, but can lead to increased revenue. Really effective customer service builds a company's brand and brings with it great competitive advantages. There are examples of companies that have chosen to prioritise their customer service resources so much so that it defines the entire company.

American airline JetBlue is a prime example of a company that does this - and does it well.

It works both ways. Some brands are notorious for their poor customer service, which scares people away. A company whose customer service is often called into question is the Swedish cable provider, Comhem.

A well-functioning customer service team can mean the difference between success and failure. A dissatisfied user can be transformed into someone who is very pleased - if he or she is treated well. Poor performance on the part of your care team can spoil the experience for a client who was initially satisfied with the product or service.

Five musts regarding customer service:

Reliability

Keep your promises. If the customer has been promised something, it is extremely important to really deliver on the promise. Communication of any delays or other setbacks are important; that customer service explain the cause of any ‘trouble’. Most people are much more understanding than you might expect, but they need to get the information about what went wrong.

Responsiveness

Speed and thoughtfulness are qualities that all customer care employees must possess - as well as knowledge of their company what it offers. US cable TV provider Time Warner failed to keep their promise to users, which had consequences in social media. A media monitoring tool that allows you to listen to social media reactions can mitigate the consequences when something goes wrong.

Guarantees

You want to be a customer of a company you can trust. And perhaps most importantly, you must be able to rely on customer service. Effective expectation management for unhappy or demanding users does not start with arguing. Sony Playstation hired a professional public relations firm to communicate the delay of a new game, but their approach only made things worse.

Tangibles

How does customer service perform? How long do they take before responding? Are they perceived as professional representatives of your organisation? These types of questions are important to ask, and it is possible to systemise the improvement process. When courier delivery services company, FedEx, was captured on film delivering a package in a somewhat heavy-handed manner, it went viral (and not in a good way).

Give your customer service team the recognition they deserve - they are, after all, the face of your organisation. Make sure they’re listening properly - and that they have the support they need to perform.

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