Giving great customer service online and offline

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Everyone appreciates great customer service when they are on the receiving end of it. The difficulty in providing excellent customer services arises from the fact that it is a moving target that changes constantly and at an ever increasing pace.

A survey that was recently conducted by the International Customer Service Professionals (ISCP) serves to illustrate this point. The survey covered no less than 15 criteria that make up customer service and looked to identify some common factors that carry over from traditional retail to the current state of affairs as it stands today.

Almost all retail businesses now have an online presence as well as a physical location, so the survey concluded that customer service begins before the customer ever walks into a store, so providing a pleasurable experience online is likely to set the stage for a similar encounter in person. Many customers, especially when they are dealing with a new product or concept, appreciate the ability to gather objective information before proceeding to an actual hands-on-in-store experience.

The conclusion is that customers are already developing expectations of the treatment they will receive in the store, and that the online and in-store customer service they receive will be comparable.

The ICSP survey also stressed the importance of simply welcoming a customer when they enter the store. Training employees to engage and offer assistance in an unobtrusive manner was considered critical to making a customer feel that they were going to receive accurate clarification of any questions that arose during the online encounter.

When the merchandise involved is of a technical nature, customers who participated in the survey expressed a desire to receive in-depth product details combined with comparisons to similar models or competing products and recommendations without being buried under an avalanche of technical jargon.

Customers also gave high ratings for customer service to companies that did not try to lure them with a great deal on an item, and then aggressively try to sell additional accessories of dubious value.

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