Glossary: Customer Service
ABCs of communication Asking, basic listening, comprehension. What you need in order to provide your customer with total satisfaction. ACD (Automatic Call Distribution system) A large-scale telephone switch that has a high degree of intelligence for routing incoming calls. attaching a file Connecting a separate file to an e-mail so that when the e-mail is sent, the attached file is sent along with it. auto responder An automated out-going response to incoming e-mail messages, based on a text file that resides on the computer. broadcast fax A fax message sent to many people at once. CSR Customer Service Representative, an employee who assists customers after the sale has been made. Some organizations refer to such employees as customer care providers. call center The location where service phone calls are answered. call to action A request for the customer to do something. Caller ID Telephone service that identifies the customer on the line as the call is received. carpal tunnel syndrome A potentially crippling disease that limits one's ability to perform a job. The disease often occurs when one frequently makes a repetitive movement such as typing. cause and effect diagram A visual means of identifying possible causes for an event. centralized service Consolidating customer service locations into fewer, but bigger centers. clarification question A type of question that asks customers to clarify their perceptions and meaning of words; useful because words can mean different things to different people. closed-ended question
A type of question that requires a yes or no answer. compliant customer (C style) One of four behavioral styles in the DISC Model. The C style customer is your everyday perfectionist. She wants it precise, orderly, and accurately. She is meticulous by nature and diplomatic in behavior. conflict resolution The art of bypassing emotional issues between people and easing tensions. consequence question A type of question that asks customers to describe the impact your proposed method or solution will have. constituencies All of the people served by your organization, including the owners, stockholders, employees, customers, joint venture partners, members of the community, government officials, and even suppliers. corporate culture The distinct personality of your organization that comes from your company's unique history, the customers you serve, the people on the payroll, and your firm's values and traditions. credit Returning goods and services with monetary value to be offset against future purchases. cross functional teams Teams of people representing various departments in an organization, such as sales, product engineering, credit, customer care, technical support, and so on. cushion An opening statement in a letter that prepares the reader for bad news. customer base All of the customers you serve. You might have many different types of customers that can be divided into groups known as segments. customer database A system that records the sales, transaction history, and other pertinent information for each of your customers. It can be as simple as keeping an index card for each customer, or as complex as intertwining numerous mainframe computer systems. Customer Service Representative (CSR) An individual charged with the responsibility of providing service to customers. customer support phone packages Telephone-based product support plans that include either an unlimited or specified number of customer calls.
decentralized service Creating several customer service locations. defectionitis A terrible, possibly terminal condition for your business where your customers take their business elsewhere, causing your business to whither, shrivel up, and die. demanding customer (D style) In the DISC behavioral styles model, these are driven people who push for results and expect the same from others. They are bottom-line oriented. They don't like a lot of detail and are easily bored. desires question A type of question that seeks out any other issues your customer may have with which you can be of assistance. differentiated value A unique feature that offers value to the customer and separates your business from the competition. DISC behavioral styles model A psychologically valid system for grouping people's behavior into four major styles based on the way they do things, such as respond to problems, influence others, respond to their environment, and react to rules. domain The part of an Internet address unique to the organization that sponsors a specific location along the information highway. download Transferring information from a Web site to your computer's hard drive. e-mail (electronic mail) Messages sent from computer to computer over the Internet or company network. Also spelled email. empathy An identification with how someone else feels. employee satisfaction survey A study of how employees feel about their jobs and work environment. ergonomics The study of problems people experience in physically adjusting to their environment. ESP (Employee Suggestion Program) A way for employees to make suggestions (perhaps anonymously) on how to improve the company's performance. exchange
Replacing goods and services purchased by a customer with other goods and services. FAQ Frequently asked questions. fax on demand A system that automatically, without anyone actually staffing the phone lines, provides information by fax to callers who request certain documents (usually by entering a code on a touch tone phone). FGR Frequently given responses. goodwill follow-up Regularly scheduled calls you make to ensure that your customer is satisfied with a purchase. goodwill freebies Free stuff you offer customers in return for their patronage. goodwill inclusions Including, at no charge, extra costs such as shipping and handling when a customer places a large order. goodwill interaction Writing or calling your customers to tell them how much you appreciate their business — not because they have a problem, but because you really do appreciate their business. guarantee Assurance, for a specified period of time, of the quality of products or services offered for sale. headsets Devices that connect to a phone to let a person conduct phone calls without using a hand to hold the phone. Headsets have both ear and mouth pieces attached. help desk Similar to a call center, except that it's a resource for employees to get answers to their questions. hyperlink An electronic doorway that takes you directly to specific information, such as a Web site or a particular sentence in a long document. illustrative question A type of question that asks a customer to paint a clear picture of what is wrong. inflection Adjustments in the volume of one's voice to signify highs and lows.
influential customer (I style) One of four behavioral styles in the DISC model. The I style customer is the person who needs and wants to talk and has a need for interaction with people and social recognition. infobot An automated out-going response to incoming e-mail messages, based on a text file that resides on the computer. information superhighway A metaphor for electronic data zooming between computers, usually over phone lines. instant of absolute judgment The moment when a customer forms a lasting, decisive opinion about your business. interactive voice response The ability of a phone mail system to offer prerecorded information on various issues, such as store locations and directions, hours of operation, and special promotions. Internet Many computers connected to each other through phone lines, cables, and satellites. Internet Service Provider (ISP) Company that provides access to Internet services. keyword Term in a document that you want search software to find. key system Telephone systems that are smaller than a full-blown PBX, but still offer features such as call forwarding, call transfer, and speaker phone. They serve five to fifteen lines. KISS principle Keep it sweet and simple. (You may have heard other variations.) LAN (Local Area Network) Software and hardware that let you share and send information between computers in an office. limited time refund A full refund of the purchase price for a product returned with a receipt in a specified period of time. limited warranties Warranties that provide protection for certain parts and services over specified periods of time (a guarantee with limitations). mailbot An automated out-going response to incoming e-mail messages, based on a text file that resides on the computer.
mission statement Declarations that express why an organization exists and give employees and customers a clear sense of what the organization stands for and what it is trying to achieve. Also called a vision statement. open-ended question A type of question that requires detail and free dialogue. outsourcing Engaging the services of a third party rather than having work performed by an employee. pay for service system A for-charge system (such as a 900 number) where customers call and pay for service. PBX (Private Branch Exchange) A computer-controlled telephone system serving anywhere from 15 to thousands of phone stations. playback The ability to replay menu options in a voice mail system. Personally Pleasing Memorable Interactions (PPMI) The goal of customer service. recovery follow-up Calling a customer to see if the solution provided to a previous complaint was satisfactory. recovery freebies Offering services or products for free in addition to replacing those that were damaged or unacceptable to begin with. recovery inclusions Paying the costs of overnight delivery when the product did not arrive on-time as promised. recovery interaction Personally calling or visiting someone to resolve a complaint. remote phone lines Technology that lets you list local phone numbers in various areas and have the calls routed to your support center location. root cause The true source of a problem. segments Groups of customers that have certain characteristics in common.
self-managed teams Work groups that determine for themselves how they're going to achieve goals. semi-auto responder Text that's ready to be sent electronically at the command of a service person. sequential fax Fax equipment and software that has the ability to automatically send faxes one after another. service difference The operating principles and specific processes that combine to give your customers a feeling of satisfaction from interacting with your organization. service standards Guidelines and operating procedures that specify the measurable activities which will help your company please customers by delivering services in a consistent fashion. For example, specifying the longest time allowable that a customer should sit on hold before being assisted. signature file Lines of text automatically added at the end of every e-mail message you send. Your email program adds the signature, after you specify what it is (or which signature to use). Doesn't need to have anything to do with your actual signature. status questions A type of question that seeks information such as name, serial number, and so on. steady customer (S style) One of four behavioral styles in the DISC model. The S style customer is an accommodating individual who, when inconvenienced by your product not working, will make sure he doesn't upset you with his complaint. The S style customer is patient, relaxed, logical, and systematic. tape disclaimer A message at the beginning of a voice mail menu which indicates that the phone call may be taped for quality or training purposes. time of delay The ability of a phone system to tell customers how long it will be before a customer service representative comes on the line. time-out rooms Places where CSRs relax and remove themselves from the mental stress associated with their jobs. Usually brightly lighted and equipped with music, TV's, and other equipment. toll-free numbers Phone numbers for which the receiving party pays the charges. These numbers usually
start with either an 800 or 888 area code. turn-around promotions Peace offerings intended to help make up and compensate for customer inconveniences. upload Sending information from your computer to another, such as one connected to the Internet. URL (Universal Resource Locator) The path descriptor that takes you directly to a desired site on the World Wide Web. user-friendly design A product or service that can be easily used by a customer. vision statement Declarations that express why an organization exists and give employees and customers a clear sense of what the organization stands for and what it is trying to achieve. Also called a mission statement. voice mail A system that lets callers leave messages by phone. voice response unit Hardware and software which automates some customer service work by recognizing a caller's voice commands. volume rebates Rebates or price discounts given in exchange for a certain amount of business from a customer. WAN (Wide Area Network) Computers connected at multiple sites. warranty A written guarantee by the producer of a product or service regarding the product's integrity and producer's responsibility for repair or replacement. Web browser Software that lets you search for and access information on the World Wide Web. World Wide Web (WWW) Information storage and retrieval system that uses the Internet to present text, graphics, photos, sound, and animation.