The following article aims to provide a general overview of customer service basics, theories, and practical advice. Everyone involved in customer service – from frontline support reps to service managers can benefit from this guide. It can be also used as a helpful resource for free training in help desk, ticketing, call center, and live chat capabilities.
However, since the topic of customer service is so broad, we have decided to make a couple of in-depth articles so you can get detailed insights. Thus, if you would like to learn more, do not hesitate to click through the topics that interest you below.
What does the modern definition of customer service mean?
Customer service definition
Customer service is the support and assistance businesses offer before, during, and after purchasing the products/services. Quality customer service adds an immense amount of value to a product and helps build long-lasting relationships with customers.
Today’s customer service is much more than traditional phone support. Rapid tech advancements reshaped the way businesses interact with customers and created the proliferation of digital service channels. Receiving fast, efficient, personalized support and a seamless experience is what consumers generally expect from brands these days.
Find out more in-depth information about types of customer service.
Why should customer service be a top priority for any business?
As consumer expectations are on the rise, delivering excellent service is one of the most valuable things a business can do to stay competitive and successful in the long run. Numerous studies have proved that happy customers are more loyal and spend more. On the other hand, those experiencing bad service abandon the brand, which costs them revenue and affects their reputation.
Stats demonstrating the importance of providing outstanding customer service:
- Poor customer service is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year. With 42% of consumers reporting leaving a brand due to inadequate customer service. However, 55% of consumers would be more loyal if provided with better customer service.
- For 95% of respondents, customer service is significant to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. 61% have switched brands due to poor customer service.
- Consumer expectations for service via digital channels continue to increase. 81% of consumers indicated that their expectations for digital customer service are higher today than they were a year ago.
- One in three consumers is willing to pay more to receive a higher level of customer service.
- Two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay for stellar customer service, and 31% are willing to pay as much as 10% more for exceptional service.
- 97% of consumers say that poor customer service changes buying behavior. 87% say good customer service changes consumer behavior, and 46% continue to change their buying behavior two years after a bad customer service experience.
10 Major reasons to invest in customer service initiatives
- Customer service expectations are constantly increasing and changing.
- Consumers value high-quality service and are ready to pay more to receive it.
- Customer service can significantly influence consumers’ buying decisions.
- Good customer service helps increase customer satisfaction, improve customer relations and retention.
- Happy consumers tend to share their positive service experiences, creating positive word-of-mouth for brands.
- Outstanding customer service can turn customers into brand advocates, which brings in more traffic and referrals.
- Consumers will not tolerate bad service and leave brands that fail to meet their service expectations.
- Unsatisfied customers can damage a brand’s reputation by sharing their negative service experiences through social networks and review sites.
- Investing in service improvement is cheaper than dealing with a damaged reputation caused by poor service.
- High-quality customer service ultimately results in continued revenue growth.
What kind of customer service skills should your agents have?
In order to provide excellent customer service, you need to have customer service representatives that exhibit specific skills. Customer service skills can be divided into two categories;
The first category includes soft skills. The customer representative’s job is to communicate with customers effectively and efficiently. Thus, knowledge about the product/service is essential to assist the customer. However, customer service is not only about providing information/solving problems. The agent also needs to know how to communicate the outcome or the information to the customer. Here are a few necessary soft skills that the agent should possess to excel in customer service:
- Time management
The other category is called hard skills. These skills can be acquired/learned throughout training, school, or self-taught. Here are some examples of hard skills:
- Technical skills
- Computer skills
- Analytical skills
- Microsoft office skills
Make sure you keep these in mind when hiring a new customer representative. However, do not dwell on them too much. If your company provides proper customer service training, all you need is a person that is highly motivated and is willing to learn.
If you do not have proper customer service training I suggest you keep reading below to gain more information and perspective on how it can affect your overall company success.
What is customer service training and who needs it?
Customer service training refers to teaching customer service employees the knowledge, competencies, tools, and skills required to serve and support customers. Therefore, delivering more value from a company’s products and services.
The quality of customer service a business offers will never exceed the quality of the people providing it. No matter how talented and experienced service employees might be, there will always be more to learn or new skills to develop. In fact, any customer-facing employee whose job entails interacting with customers either personally or online should undergo basic customer service training. In addition to service representatives, this could also include other positions such as; technical support and sales representatives.
The importance of customer support training
Customer service employees are typically the first point of contact consumers have with a brand. They create the first impressions that impact your customer’s perception of the company. Incompetent, untrained, or poorly trained service agents are not likely to deliver stellar service. On the other hand, well-executed customer service by properly trained employees results in increased customer satisfaction and improved customer experience. That’s why training customer support teams is just as important as training marketing and sales teams.
Best customer service training enables service employees to meet the highly demanding, tech-savvy consumer expectations effectively. Moreover, investing in training gives employees a feeling of value, improves their morale and motivation. And when employees feel valued, they value their customers and are willing to go the extra mile for them.
Customer service has become a brand differentiator for helping businesses stand out from the competition. It is especially a key aspect in the oversaturated market of similar products/services. Some of the world’s most known customer-centric brands like; Amazon, Zappos, Ritz-Carlton, and Southwest Airlines, spend a substantial share of their earnings on delivering excellent customer service. These companies provide consistent training for their employees to provide a great customer experience. Overall, their success proves that it’s worth the investment.
How does poor customer service impact a business?
Poor customer service can be a fast downward spiral for any business. It can lead to:
- loss of customers
- loss of profits
- poor brand image/reputation
- loss of the best employees
It is really hard to rebuild the trust and overall customer perspective about your brand once it has a bad reputation. Do not underestimate the power of customer service.
If you would like to learn more, check out the How to avoid bad customer service article.
Discover on your own
Put the knowledge into practice by testing everything outlined in our academy right inside LiveAgent for free.
Try out LiveAgent for FREE
Handle all customer inquiries from one interface. Start improving your customer service with a 14-day free trial right away!
- Customer Service Training (Explained)
- Customer Service vs Customer Support (Explained)
- Customer Service Skills (Checklist)
- Must-have Customer Service Soft Skills
- Customer reps are more than just employees (Examples)
- Customer Service Skills Checklist
- 10 Important Customer Service Duties and Responsibilities
- Customer Service Resume Template Examples (Copy&Paste)