UNIT1: WHAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE? Structure 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.0 Objectives Introduction What is Customer Service?

Need versus Want Customer Expectations Moment of truth Customer Service or Customer Delight Customers - Internal and External Role of a Customer Service Executive Let us sum up Key Words Suggested Reading Answers OBJECTIVES The aim of this unit is to help you to • Understand what Customer Service means • Understand the differences between needs and wants • Recognize customer expectations Identify Moment of Truth Differentiate between Customer Service and Customer Delight Differentiate between Internal and External Customers Recognize your role as a Customer Service Representative INTRODUCTION

• • • • 1.1

Look at a day in your life. You step out of the house to buy yourself a brand new shirt or perhaps some groceries for your mother. What happens next? You walk into the store and the salesman there wishes you pleasantly, enquires about your job and then proceeds to ask you what you would like to see. You tell him that you are looking for shirts for formal wear, preferably a darker shade of blue. Who are you at this point? – A customer. Think of how you feel as a customer. Later in the day you are at your father’s shop, standing in for him as he had to run some errands. You get a call from Mr Jagjit, enquiring if your father is in. You say that he has stepped out. However, you ask him whether you could be of any assistance to him. He tells you that he wants to know whether the ceiling fan that he had given for repair is ready. You tell him that you will find

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a representative or by automated means like the internet sites or pre recorded messages. so it is essential to focus on understanding and providing everything a customer needs. If it costs Rs 10000 to get a new customer. It is a commitment to providing value added services to external and internal customers. Recollect the satisfaction experienced every time your neighbourhood storekeeper stocks on and offers you your favourite brand of chips or shampoo without you having to remind him. 7 .out and let him know. Good customer service leads to repeated business interactions and therefore growth in market share. On the contrary. “Customer Service is a series of activities designed to enhance the levels of satisfaction of a customer –that is the feeling that a product or service has met or exceeded the customer’s expectation. Thus the nature of the interaction between the customer and the service provider is an important part of the image of the company in the market. This negative word–ofmouth propaganda cannot be overcome even with the most expensive advertising strategies.the customer is the KING. It involves giving quality service in a timely manner and the total activity of identifying and satisfying customer needs time and again. It will help to generate higher profits as also cut costs thus leading to a stress free work environment. it leads to loyalty that cannot be replaced even by short-term. How do you hear of a good restaurant or a shop that stocks clothes or shoes that you’ve been waiting to buy? More often than not it is by word-of-mouth -. 1. Remember customer service is governed by the rule of 10s. Valuable customer interactions take forward a company’s service profile miles ahead in the competition. 2002). Approximately 13 percent of these will talk about it to 20 other people. a dissatisfied customer acts as a deterrent to business success. There is no business without customers. His satisfaction leads to recommendations that help business grow. price.” (Turban et al.offering customer service. What are you doing at this point? – Assisting the customer . Thus it is important to remember that a customer is the most crucial link in any business. A satisfied customer is perhaps the most effective advertisement of the business. during and after a purchase. for example. it takes only 10 seconds to lose one. Statistics show that a dissatisfied customer will talk about his dissatisfaction to at least 10 people. When the customer’s interaction is made into a memorable and effective one. Customers talk. He also wants good service and is willing to pay for it. Customer service can be provided by a person.based promotional offers by competitors. Good customer service will help an organisation maintain a competitive edge over its rivals in the same sector.2 WHAT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE? Customer Service is defined as the provision of service to customers before.a friend who has visited the store or an uncle who has dined at the restaurant. The customer today is a well informed individual who wants value for his money. Customer Service is a critical factor for success in any business. Good customer service practices lead to higher gains and a distinctive advantage in today’s competitive markets. Customer service is an integral part of the present day competitive business environment. All of this adds to creating a good image for the company which will attract future customers. Customers today are therefore the most important part of the business and one must work to retain them.

............................................................................................................................................................. Now list two instances of BAD customer service that you have experienced as a customer and explain how you felt after those interactions........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ ...................................................................................................................................... ...................... ...................................................................................................................................................... List two instances of GOOD customer service that you have experienced and explain how you felt after these interactions? ............................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................... ...................................................... ......................... ............................................................... Having listed out your experiences read through the checklist and compare your list: Warmly greeted customer Made customer feel valued and important Was pleasant and willing to help Listened actively to the customer Understood the needs or requirements of the customer Did not make false promises to the customer 2...................................................... ......................... ...................... .....Check your Progress 1 1.......................................................................................... Once again match your experience with the list below................................................................................................................................................................... ........................................................... ........................ . ............................................................................................................... ................................................................................. Made the customer feel unwelcome Was rude and curt with the customer Ignored the customer Imposed personal preferences on the customer Was unresponsive and did not clarify the customer’s doubts Wasted the customer’s time 8 ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. ........ ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

but we will need it at least for drinking. but commuting by car and not by bus is a want. to avoid stopping at every public stop and perhaps to avoid walking. The person may not really be in need of a new bag since there is already an existing one or need a new phone as the current phone is in good working condition. for example. These are items that are necessary to sustain life.3 NEED VERSUS WANT A need is something we should have. but other means of transport like buses and cycles can help us in getting to our destination. we won't survive for long. 9 . The top level is termed growth needs and is associated with psychological needs or needs which relate to personal growth. if we don’t drink water. It is a basic necessity.1 Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs A want is something we would like to have but not necessarily need. however. A good example is when one may want to buy a new bag or the latest mobile phone that one sees in the store window on display. shelter. he/she may still have an urge to buy it. something we can't do without. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often shown as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as being associated with needs that are basic for existence and need to be met. Commuting could be a need. Similarly. a car is a want. We might want to travel by car to save time. A good example is water. Have you heard or read about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – a theory he proposed in his paper –A Theory of Human Motivation (1943). The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. water and air.1. Figure 1. food. clothing. We don't really need a car to survive. to avoid the crowd. We may not want to spend on water all the time.

.............………………………............. 10 .............................. .............................................................. happiness or appreciation...................... compassion and support To be listened to with empathy Satisfaction Trust and trustworthiness A friendly smiling face Understanding To be made to feel important A quality or product or service at a fair price Customer expectations are constantly evolving and changing.... Every customer has certain basic expectations in terms of service from the service provider........... 1........ and yet critical........................... Wants are desired objects that the customer would like to have...................... ......... concept of customer service ........................... wants and needs allows the service provider to structure his or her offer better............. which though may not be absolutely necessary.... the customer who already has a bag of phone and still wants a new one has a demand if he also has the money to pay for the new bag or phone.. Your standards of customer service must always be pitched on these evolving needs.. Aim to not just meet expectations but exceed them.................................... may bring the individual personal satisfaction...................................... What would your needs or expectation be in this situation? ………………………........... It will also vary from one customer to the other.... Usually companies find out what their customers want through polls..... You are hungry and upset as well.................................................................... Demand is a customer’s want coupled with his/her buying power................ Needs are therefore things that a customer feels or believes are necessary............. Check your progress 2 You have booked a table at the restaurant and when you reach there you are told that you would need to wait for at least fifteen minutes..................... • • • • • • • • • • Listed below are some of the basic expectations: Respect and recognition Help Comfort.. .......... ............ we also need to understand the third........................................................... A customer is always happy to define his needs and wants.........................Apart from these two.......................................... Knowing what the customer expects..... .................. .................. surveys and questionnaires.................................................................... but decide against walking out as there is no other restaurant close by...............4 CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS Customer interaction can be mutually beneficial if both the service provider and the customer participate in understanding each other.Demand................................... So if we were to look at the earlier example.........................................………………………....................................................................................................

.......... ..................... It makes the difference between your success and failure...... and if they are within five feet of the guests they are to acknowledge them verbally? Small instances like this add up to the overall expectation of the customer’s satisfaction.. She knows that she has to get them a house with a reasonable rent as they would need to budget their money for their purchases in their new house.......... There are several moments of truth right through the chain of customer service..... The telephone company told him to file a police report and then come down to their office to buy a new phone.................. Meeting a customer for the first time is also a moment of truth. They go a long way in long term customer loyalty. the counter staff member was helpful and understanding. They are full of enthusiasm and want to quickly settle in. 1........... A moment of truth adds to the total experience of the customer....... 11 .. He was pleased and grateful............ Remember a moment of truth is an opportunity to prove the worth of your organization.. comes up to you..... She gave him a discount on his new phone purchase and a free replacement SIM card holding all his personal account details...... Let us understand this through an example.. She could lose their loyalty and in a service organisation this is crucial...... Harshika knows that her moment of truth is in the first meeting that she has with them and in the way she is able to get an affordable rental for them.. For instance.......... has arrived in Bangalore from Delhi after the husband got a new job...... They will tell 17 to 20 people about their delightful experience...... A delighted customer will stay loyal to your business for life......... They contact a real estate agent.....positive or negative! “A Moment of Truth is any opportunity to create a lasting perception in our customer’s mind... a young couple..6 CUSTOMER SERVICE OR CUSTOMER DELIGHT Prem lost his mobile phone..... In this case study what did the customer Prem experience? Was this Service or Delight? ...”(Jan Carlzon1986) Service organizations especially have to face the moment of truth over and over again.......... They are eager to find a nice house close to their place of work. Or take the example of a restaurant where the waiter on seeing you coming in with a five year old .. It is important to manage your moments of truth..... She will need to manage the couple’s expectations......... Did you know that at Disneyland the employees are to acknowledge the customers or the guests when they are within 10 feet distance................. When he arrived at the office....................... Up to 90% become even more loyal after recovery than before the problem..................1.......... recently married............5 MOMENT OF TRUTH What is a moment of truth? A moment of truth is the interaction between the customer and the customer service provider which leaves a lasting impression on the customer................ smiles and offers the child a coloring book and crayons. Harshika........................

as well as a pre-addressed courier delivery slip. and then explained that Kshitij could courier the old unit back in the very same box. How does one do that? Informal questioning in a conversational way is one such way of getting an insight into the customer’s needs. focus groups. This is truly delightful service. We discussed earlier that effective customer service requires the service provider to meet the customer’s expectation aptly. as promised. He called Nexton to purchase a replacement cover.” The representative promised to courier a brand new phone to him immediately. Your current phone is still under warranty. “The new phone won’t cost you a penny. put the old phone with the chipped cover into the box. Offspring Limited.NOT MEETING EXPECTATIONS = DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS MEETING EXPECTATIONS = SATISFIED CUSTOMERS EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS = DELIGHTED CUSTOMERS Let us look at another example Kshitij. The technique of questioning is however very important. Inside was a brand new phone – with complete instructions on how to transfer data from the old phone into the new one. a) b) c) d) What benefits will the customer receive from my business? What is the customer’s need level for my products or services? Does my product or service satisfy the wants and need of the particular customer? What are the perceived risks and costs the customer has in doing business with me? 12 . dropped his Nexton mobile onto the stone floor of his office lobby. She apologized that the deadline had passed for the next day’s delivery. polls or telephone surveys. but the software and the system still worked. Two days later. “Nothing doing. “No way!” Kshitij retorted. something that brings joy to the customer. “Why should I buy a new mobile phone and pay all over again when all I need is to replace a plastic part worth fifty rupees at the most?” “Oh no. a small package arrived for Kshitij at the office. Listed below are five sample questions. apply the pre-printed label and then call the toll-free number to arrange an immediate courier pickup. It can be done in a more formal manner through interviews. All Kshitij had to do was transfer his data. So you see we can define delightful as something completely beyond the expected. so the new phone would arrive in two days instead. Kshitij was overwhelmed. Put yourself in the place of the service provider and answer them. The outer case of the phone was chipped in one corner. CEO. They insisted that he needed a completely new piece.” replied the Nexton customer service representative.” the representative assured him.

e) What do I need to do to keep the customer’s loyalty to my business? a) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ b) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ c) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ d) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ e) ____________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Now switch roles. put yourself in the shoes of the customer and answer the following questions. a) b) c) d) e) How were you greeted? How prompt was the service? Did the product meet your expectations? How did you feel about the way you were treated? Would you like to recommend this provider to anyone else? a) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ b) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ c) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ d) ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ e) ____________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ Once these questions have been answered by both the customer and you. create the WOW factor. 13 . Today to be successful and stay ahead you have to go the extra mile – exceed customer expectation. remembering a customer’s favourite author and giving him a call to tell him that the latest book by the author is now at the store is a fine example of going the extra mile. As a sales person at a bookstore. Creating the WOW factor requires paying attention to small details. Customer satisfaction alone cannot be the differentiating factor that gives your company the edge over competitors. you will have a good idea as to how to meet or satisfy your customers’ needs.

............. What do customers want? They expect respect and recognition..... …………………………………………………………………………. He has needs..the staff......INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL A customer is the lifeblood of any business.. As part of any business organization you work for the customer...... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. sometimes fears and complaints too. An organization comprises several departments and these departments depend on each other for various services............... participative... Customers can be external and internal.. support and trust... 4.. memorable....... Has it ever occurred to you that customer service occurs within an organization as well? Internal customers are those that interact within the organisation.... this means that every one of us.... Were you greeted warmly and pleasantly? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..... which will only result in a lost sale for your organisation.... Did the service exceed your expectation? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….......... Internal Customer External Customer The best way to satisfy customers is to know as much about them as possible. Were you attended to as soon as you entered the store? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. understanding and a feeling of importance......... 1..... …………………………………………………………………………......................7 CUSTOMERS .Check your progress 3 Think of an occasion in the last six months when you have received excellent customer service and answer the following questions to review your experience.. These customers are the company’s clients and the most important people to your organisation.... 1. comfort and compassion...... regardless of what we 14 . The customer is a person with feelings and emotions just like you. 2......... In the workplace.... ………………………………………………………………………….... External customers are individuals or organizations that receive products or services from the company.......... Everybody is accountable to somebody..... How would you qualify your interaction with the person serving you? Enjoyable. Companies focus their efforts on creating a dynamic relationship with external customers with exciting offers and solutions and often forget about their service to internal benefactors within the company. Without these people coming into your shop and buying your products your business would not succeed..... If a customer feels like she is interrupting your staff she will shop elsewhere in the future...... wants and expectations....... 3... …………………………………………………………………………....

. Maybe it is getting your timesheets into the payroll department.... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….do... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Company’s Electricity MIS Dept.identify where you are the customer and where the service provider. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15 . is responsible for delivering something to somebody. Various things such as information... Similarly if an administrative executive approaches the accounts in charge for details of employee salaries. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. the former is a customer and the latter the service provider. Using this chart list the names of the people in your internal customer network.. It is helpful to think of your customer service network as consisting of a series of inputs and outputs. Purchase Order Note: ME here could be a co-ordinator for any of the departments mentioned above. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. For example.... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..... or sharing your productivity information with management.. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. queries and tasks are passed on to you and you in turn pass the communication or work to others in the chain.... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………....... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. Requisition for work WHO GETS MY OUTPUTS Human Resources Manpower Vacancy Administrative ME Transport Allocation Finance Department Release of payment Finance Dept... WHO INPUTS TO ME Operations Manager Manpower request Training Co-ordinator Trainee Transport Requirement Administrative Dept..... ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. a human resources executive becomes a customer for the administrative department when he approaches them for logistic support..

1. fax. All customer service representatives interact with customers to provide information in response to enquiries about products or services or to handle and resolve complaints. The bottom line is that as a Customer Service Representative you represent the organisation and are responsible for helping the customer satisfy his wants or needs efficiently and in a timely manner. A positive attitude and a commitment to help can take a customer service representative very far. accessibility.8 ROLE OF A CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE As a Customer Service Representative. Most customer service representatives use computers and telephones extensively in their work. by e-mail. We will look at the role of Customer Service Representative in BPO and related industries in the following unit. 16 . Listed below are some of the responsibilities that a Customer Service Representative takes on: Confers with customers to provide information about products and services Takes orders or cancels orders Obtains details of complaints Keeps records of customer interactions and transactions Records details of enquiries and action taken Resolves customers' complaints Contacts customers to respond to inquiries Refers unresolved customer grievances to designated departments for further investigation Prepares change of address records Solicits sale of new or additional services or products Assists a customer to solve technical problems related to the products/services To be an effective Customer Service Representative you would need to be a good communicator with good interpersonal skills. or in person. Efficient and memorable customer care requires credibility. They communicate with customers through a variety of means—by telephone. you are the brand ambassador of the company and a direct point of contact for the company’s customers. reliability and excellence (CARE) in service. A thorough knowledge of the product and systems in your organisation helps you address the concerns and queries of the customers.

A person who represents the face of the company and is in the frontline 17 . The provision of service to customers before.easy to talk to and get along with Brand ambassador.10 KEY WORDS Credibility-The quality of being trustworthy so that your customer can believe what you say Reliability. before . during and after a purchase. 1. The brand ambassador of the company and a direct point of contact for the company’s customers.Capable of being relied or depended upon Accessibility. An individual or organization that receives products or services from the company.Check your progress 4 Fill in a word that best defines the corresponding statement.9 LET US SUM UP In this unit we have learnt: i) Customer Service means the provision of service . during and after purchase of a product ii) To differentiate between needs and wants iii) To recognize customer expectations iv) What it means to delight a customer v) Ways to delight a customer vi) Who is an internal customer vii) Your role and responsibilities as a Customer Service Representative 1.Easily approachable . Going the extra mile and exceeding the customer’s expectation An opportunity to create a lasting perception in our customer’s mind.

2nd edition by Tony Newby & Sean Mc Manus • Beyond Customer Service by Richard F Gerson 1. Moment of Truth 5.1. External Customers 2. Customer Delight 4. Customer Service Representative 3.12 ANSWERS Check your Progress 4 1. Customer Service 18 .11 REFERENCE AND SUGGESTED READING • Customer Service Omnibus – Customer Service Pocketbook .

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