Insights

What is Good Customer Service? 7 Tips for Providing Excellent Service

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Defining Good Customer Service

Good customer service is essential for any business that wants to retain customers and grow. But what exactly does "good customer service" mean?

At its core, good customer service means providing assistance and advice to customers in a friendly, speedy, and thorough way. Good customer service builds relationships with customers that promote long-term satisfaction and loyalty.

When customers receive good service, they are more likely to return to the business and recommend it to others. On the other hand, poor customer service drives customers away and damages a company's reputation.

So what does good customer service mean to customers? Here are some of the key factors:

  • Quick response times - Customers expect businesses to respond to inquiries promptly, whether on social media, email, phone calls, or in person. Slow response times lead to frustration.
  • Knowledgeable support - Customers want to interact with representatives who are friendly yet knowledgeable about products, services, and policies. They don't want to be transferred between departments.
  • Personalized service - Customers appreciate when companies remember them and provide tailored recommendations and solutions based on purchase history and preferences.
  • Empathy - Customers want to feel that their concerns are heard and understood. Customer service agents need to be good listeners.
  • Problem-solving - At its core, good service means solving customer problems efficiently and effectively. Customers want quick resolutions.
  • Omnichannel support - Customers expect to be able to reach customer service through their channel of choice, whether phone, email, chat, social media, or in person.
  • Self-service options - Many customers prefer to find answers on their own through FAQs, help centers, forums, and chatbots. Good customer service provides robust self-help resources.

7 Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service

Here are 7 tips to help you take your customer service from good to great:

1. Offer Omnichannel Support

Allow customers to reach you through their preferred channel, whether that's phone, email, live chat, social media, or messaging apps. Integrate channels through CRM software so conversations can be picked back up seamlessly.

2. Personalize Interactions

Use CRM data and analytics to understand each customer's unique needs and preferences. Then provide tailored content, product recommendations, and solutions.

3. Empower Employees

Invest in thorough customer service training. Give employees access to knowledge bases. And allow them flexibility to truly help customers. Empowered employees provide better service.

4. Set Realistic Expectations

Be transparent about product delivery times, service response times, and policies. Underpromise and overdeliver.

5. Listen to Customers

Actively seek out customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and social media monitoring. Listen to both complaints and compliments. Then use insights to improve.

6. Fix Problems Quickly

When issues arise, take ownership and resolve them as swiftly as possible. Customers resent being bounced around departments.

7. Offer Self-Service Options

Create FAQs, help centers, forums, and chatbots to allow customer to help themselves. This reduces burden on support staff.

What Makes Good Customer Service?

Now that we’ve covered the key characteristics of good customer service, let’s look at some examples of companies providing excellent experiences:

Zappos

The shoe etailer is famous for its over-the-top service, including free shipping and free return shipping. Zappos doesn’t outsource or offshore its call centers. Instead, call center employees are trained to have friendly, personal conversations with customers without time limits. Zappos empowers employees to go above and beyond to make customers happy.

Chewy

This pet supplies retailer solidified its reputation for excellent service when it sent a customer flowers after her cat died. Employees had gotten to know the grieving customer while helping her return unused cat food. This level of empathy and personalization is rare. Chewy executives say they aim to make every interaction feel like "talking to a neighbor."

Dutch Bros Coffee

This drive-through coffee chain grew from a single kiosk in Oregon to hundreds of locations through word-of-mouth about its upbeat, personalized service. Dutch Bros baristas are famous for dancing, singing, and decorating drinks with fun drawings. They also remember regular customers' orders and names.

Amazon

The ecommerce giant offers customers a huge selection, rapid shipping, hassle-free returns, and excellent post-sales support. Features like live chat with customer service reps makes it easy to get questions answered quickly without having to call or email. Amazon's customer obsession has fueled its growth.

These companies recognize that good customer service drives growth. Their focus on optimizing every customer interaction has allowed them to disrupt their industries.

How to Measure Customer Service Performance

To know if you're providing excellent service, you need to actively monitor key customer service metrics. Some top metrics to track include:

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score - This measures overall satisfaction with support experiences on a scale from 1-5. Goal is 4.5+.
  • First contact resolution rate - % of customer inquiries resolved on first interaction. Goal is 80%+.
  • Average first response time - The time from when an inquiry is received to when an agent first responds. Goal is under 1 hour.
  • Chat abandonment rate - % of customers who leave a live chat before an agent responds. Goal is less than 20%.
  • Negative social media mentions - Tally brand mentions on social media marked as negative. Goal is minimal.
  • Survey feedback scores - Average ratings on key questions like "How satisfied were you with the service you received?" Goal is 9/10.
  • Customer effort score - One question survey asking "How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?" Goal is very low effort.
  • Customer retention/repeat purchase rate - % of customers who purchase again within 3-6 months. Goal is 60%+ repeat rate.

Track these metrics over time to catch dips. Then drill in to understand what's causing changes and how processes can be improved.

Support Your Customers the Right Way

Delivering excellent customer service takes work. But the investment pays off through improved customer loyalty, word-of-mouth, and revenue growth. Use these tips and best practices to optimize your support operations.

Focus on understanding each customer's needs, resolving issues quickly, and providing personalized, omnichannel experiences. When you make customers feel valued, they reward your business with enduring loyalty and repeat purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions About Good Customer Service

What does good customer service mean to you?

To me, good customer service means being treated with kindness, respect, and empathy. It's when an employee truly listens and takes action to resolve my problem quickly. Good service feels personalized and thoughtful.

What are some key skills for good customer service?

Some top skills for delivering excellent customer service include active listening, problem-solving, product/service knowledge, patience, empathy, communication, and ability to personalize interactions.

How can you improve customer service in a company?

Ways to improve customer service in a company include listening to customer feedback, monitoring key metrics, empowering employees, offering comprehensive training, integrating channels, and using CRM to personalize interactions.

Why is good customer service so important?

Good customer service is important because it leads to improved customer retention, loyalty, word-of-mouth, brand reputation, and sales revenue. Poor service drives customers away.

What companies are known for excellent customer service?

Some companies renowned for their excellent customer service include Zappos, Nordstrom, Ritz-Carlton, Southwest Airlines, Amazon, Chewy, Dutch Bros, Chick-fil-A, and USAA. They make service a priority.

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