What Does the Best Customer Service Possible Look Like?
What is good customer service and what does this mean to you?
First of all, I think it makes better sense to call this customer support instead of service. Why? It’s most important to help customers solve problems. The old homely “the customer is always right” is a distraction. It is actually worse than that; overuse has turned it into a cliché. What really matters is helping people solve problems.
At its core, useful and customer friendly support is innovative, positive, precise and timely. Providing good customer service also requires setting realistic customer expectations. These make it easier to recognize a committed supplier that does not offer empty promises.
How important is customer satisfaction?
Customer satisfaction is a good start but it is not enough on its own. After all, a supplier who is also a good business partner has already pledged to perform an important business role. Great vendors must
- be responsive
- prioritize customer success
- provide vital information quickly
- supply useful products and services
- meet or exceed customer expectations
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Customer satisfaction is not enough without trust
Trust in a supplier means they can be depended upon for
- answering questions
- steady and unchanging quality
- consistently good performance
- providing accurate and reliable information
- meeting customer expectations over the long haul
Steady and reliable assistance is critical
Every point of contact between supplier and customer is an opportunity for customer service. With each interaction, the right business partner can make all the difference. They
- help get a job done
- move projects forward
- contribute useful information
- remove roadblocks with troubleshooting tips
- provide resources that make development easier
Vendor loyalty means durable commitment
The best customer service is built on the perspective that it is the long haul that matters. It is a commitment to provide exceptional service that is worthy of repeat business. A loyal vendor provides
- post-purchase support
- transparent prices and product details
- determined efforts to improve efficiencies
- continuous improvements in product quality
- investment in services and new product development that benefit customers
Support means preventing and fixing problems
It requires consistent, constant and generous support to prevent problems. Providing it also means customers can count on their supplier if there is ever a problem. Support from an industrial supplier includes
- technical data
- testing samples
- material assistance
- clear and timely communications
- solutions that ferret out and eliminate problem root causes
What good are great products without communication?
Good communication is always a component of great customer service. It means exchanging information and news as well as sharing options. It also requires a continual effort to be clear, concise, correct, complete, courteous and concrete. Good communicators
- share ideas
- pass on news and updates
- generously share timely information
- actively listen to build trust and maintain rapport
- engage with and recognize every customer as a partner
Effective feedback is positive and a regular part of communications
A great vendor cares enough to provide input about a product that can be used as a basis for design improvements. Informative feedback makes better business decisions possible. It is also a tool for ending recurring problems. Actionable feedback combines
- product data
- performance information
- responsive observations
- preventing or stopping recurring problems
- soliciting and listening to feedback about products and services
Service builds upon existing add-on services and resources
Great service means advice and assistance given both during and after the sale of goods. Providing and developing extra services makes it easier for customers to finish their projects. Service is
- customer friendly support
- useful services and resources
- versatile and adaptable support services
- solutions that make it easier to do business
- enthusiasm, courtesy and going the extra mile
Bringing it all together provides exceptional customer service
Good, great, excellent and exceptional…these are only words until everyday actions give them concrete meaning. Customer service that matters is customer service that makes the job easier and brings you back. It is also an attitude and institutional commitment to understanding problems as well as owning emerging problems and their solutions.
For flow control components in industrial applications, providing customer solutions requires flexibility, creativity and a technically grounded, realistic expertise. This provides the best outcomes.
The ISM Difference means so much to us because every touch point is a chance to exceed a customer’s expectations. Our goal is to develop true partnership experiences with every interaction. Satisfaction, trust, assistance, loyalty, support, communication, feedback and service are more than just words; they are at the core of how we do business.
About the author
Steven C. Williams, BS, is the technical writer and an inbound marketing specialist at Industrial Specialties Manufacturing (ISM), an ISO 9001-2015 supplier of miniature pneumatic, vacuum and fluid circuitry components to OEM's and distributors all over the world. He writes on technical topics related to miniature pneumatic and fluidic components as well as topics of general interest at ISM.