Customer service matters no matter what products or services you are providing to your customers.
In a world where customers can have multiple contact points with your organisation, through social media, review sites and your own website, having consistent levels of customer service is increasingly important. One bad review could lead to a decrease in sales and an erosion of your brand.
Taking a strategic approach can assist you in aligning what you do, with the levels of service that you should provide.
Not every business or organisation needs to provide exceptional levels of service. For example if you are a discount retailer that relies on price as a primary marketing tool, then excellent levels of customer service may not be what your customers expect. The furniture store Ikea, is an example of a retailer that relies on affordability and therefore provides customer service levels that match these expectations. At Ikea, staff are friendly and attentive if you ask them a question, however, the level of proactive service is low. For Ikea this works, as expectations and customer service are aligned.
Determining the levels of service, requires a strategy that looks holistically at your organisation and the needs of your target market. For example, a fine dining restaurant that relies on exceptional levels of customer service, will require strategies that ensure staff receive the right training and knowledge to assist them in delivering a level of service that complements the dining experience.
On the other hand, a low value, frequently purchased, disposable product would rely on strategies that consider advertising and point of sale purchases, rather than proactive staff engagement. While it is important for staff to be courteous, the level of engagement does not have to be as high as a luxury product.
If you are wondering how you can improve your customers’ experiences, then taking a strategic approach and ensuring it is consistent with your marketing mix, will enable you to set expectations.