Definition: The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

Customer service is often at the heart of a business which aims to provide an exceptional service that leaves the customer feeling valued and respected. Although providing an excellent service can involve extra resource, time and money, when you get it right it will enable you to stand out from your competition, maintain a positive reputation among future customers and encourage existing customers to purchase from your business again. Remember, it is six times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer!

Customer service is important because it can help you to:

  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Increase the amount of money each customer spends with your business
  • Increase how often a customer buys from you
  • Generate positive word-of-mouth about your business

There are many more reasons why customer service is important and many ways you can ensure you are delivering the service which creates the perfect experience for your customers.

Strategies can include:

  • Understanding your customers' needs and wants
  • Treating your customers respectfully
  • Acting on promises made to your customer
  • Handling complaints and returns gracefully
  • Exceeding customer expectations
  • Going out of your way to help your customer.

All of the above approaches will contribute towards the customer feeling valued which over time can maximise their customer lifetime value with your business.

Let’s take the example of a sandwich shop chain whose average transaction value is £5.70. If a customer visits the shop 3 times a week, 48 weeks of a year; in 20 years they have spent the equivalent cost of a brand new car! If that customer walks out, never to return again because of a poor customer service experience, it is naive to think they have lost just £5.70 when in reality that loss can be many thousands of pounds.

Performance in People (PiP) works with a wide variety of world-class organisations to measure and improve customer service through the use of various mystery shopping techniques, customer surveys and training

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