Learning the Foundations of Customer Service
By Miranda Lindsey, Volunteer.
When people think of customer service professionals, they often think of waiters, hair stylists, accountants, etc. In reality, if you work with people, you are providing some sort of service. There is an aspect of customer service to almost every career, and providing quality customer service will play a key role in your success, regardless of your career path.
There are five fundamental factors to great customer service that will help you make a positive impact on the experience of your customers. These factors are Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness (RATER).
Learning and developing these five factors is vital to improving your customer service skills.
The first factor is reliability. In order to be reliable, you must show up on time, be prepared, and be ready to deliver in a consistent, positive, and impactful manner. Building a service is like making a promise to your customer or employer. When you keep that promise by being consistent and prepared, you are considered reliable and trustworthy.
The next factor is assurance. It is important that you are the expert on the service you are providing to the customer. Demonstrating your knowledge of the products, services, procedures, etc. that pertain to your role provides customers with the assurance that you are the correct person to meet their needs.
Tangibles are physical items -- such as furniture, atmosphere, uniforms, and wait staff -- that are part of the service environment. Tangibles can have a major impact on the customer’s experience and their likelihood to return to you or your company for the service provided. You must consider how the customer will view their surroundings. Cleanliness, tidiness, and professional attire demonstrate confidence and knowledge, and inspire confidence in the customer.
The next factor is empathy. To provide good service, you must develop an understanding of the customer’s perspective by putting yourself in their shoes. Provide the customer with your undivided attention, offer assistance, and be ready to listen to their needs. Your role is to make them feel valued and create a memorable, positive experience.
Responsiveness is the final factor to great customer service. In today’s fast-paced world, we expect problems to be addressed quickly. When providing a service to someone, it is important to do things correctly and in a timely manner. Staying focused on the customer you are helping and following through on the customer’s request until it is resolved will have a positive impact on their experience.
Quality customer service requires creative thinking to solve a problem. The five fundamental factors of customer service will help you address the customer’s needs in a positive manner, and help you succeed in your role as a customer service professional.
The information in the blog post is sourced from the Foundations of Customer Service course provided by Edge.
Did you know that clients of Suited for Change are able to access the Edge platform and its various courses in Leadership and Professional Development (including this one) at no cost?
To access these modules, go to the “Client Resources” page on Suited for Change’s website. Following completion of each module, clients are provided a professional certificate of completion which they can share with companies on their resume to demonstrate their knowledge.
About Miranda Lindsey:
Miranda Lindsey is a SFC volunteer and a recent graduate of the Master of International Affairs program at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She is passionate about service, and excited about the positive impact she can make in her community through her work with SFC.