Good customer experience creates loyal brand advocates. By knowing the important role customer service plays, you can create CX that exceeds expectations.

It takes more than just a great product or service for a business to be truly successful – to enjoy revenue gains as well as positive customer sentiment. Businesses that will thrive understand how good customer service can translate into a memorable customer experience. They don’t lose clients and accounts.

They’re the companies that navigate through the current service landscape of social media, always-connected consumers, and the ‘customer is always right’ mentality unscathed. And those that raise the bar when it comes to serving their customers and exceeding not just their expectations, but the industry's.

The outcome is customer loyalty, word of mouth and, of course, revenue growth.

Back to basics: what is good customer service?


We all know that good customer service is crucial, but once you get down to trying to define what goes into it, not everyone is on the same page. To some, good customer service is as simple as solving problems and offering solutions quickly, to others, solutions need to be immediate. For other people it means overall pleasantness and politeness from those at the frontlines of the company. Others define it as when a company adopts the ‘customer is always right’ approach and is willing to give their customers anything and everything they want, no matter how unreasonable (or pointless in terms of solving problems) some of those demands may be. For others, it’s the personal touch.

There isn't a right or a wrong, because the factors of what makes customer service ‘good’ also depend heavily upon what specific things a particular customer may hold valuable or their expectations from what industry competitors do.

Good customer service is partly defined by the industry, but a large part of how your company defines it will determine what good customer service means to you. However, there are definitely customer service basics that should be covered.

While these factors may seem simple, actually implementing them in your business may take more strategy, time and effort to achieve a truly satisfying customer experience.

1. Quick resolution is key


When it comes to interacting with customers, patience is not a virtue. Our recent research revealed that 64% of consumers and a whopping 80% of business buyers expect real-time responses.

The role connected devices now have in the purchasing process has created an on-demand consumer culture, so failure to respond promptly will lose customers.

They are no longer settling for extended phone conversations or multiple-day resolutions. The same research found that, for 71% of consumers, 24/7 customer service influences loyalty, and 69% say the same about personalised customer care.

To avoid damaging lulls in service, make sure that the employees who will be working most closely with your customers have the authority and resources to offer solutions when issues arise.

2. Provide the support customers expect


In the age of e-commerce, provide self-serve options, but don’t make the mistake of leaving online shoppers no choice but to fend for themselves. Although it’s true that today’s buyers are more independent, not everyone is equally tech-savvy, or always in the mood to put their self-sufficiency skills to work.

Sometimes your customers don't want to figure it out, and want to ask someone. Whether that’s speaking to an agent in person or online, most customers, at some point, prefer human interaction so they can get straight to the point or complete their transaction.

Ensure you are meeting your customers' needs with the support they expect. Live chat is best, as this allows for an immediate response, which 80% of consumers say influences their loyalty to a company when reaching out for help. If live chat isn't an option yet, be sure to at least provide an easy-access link for email questions and a 24/7 toll-free number posted prominently on every page of your site.

If your customer feels like they have nowhere to go to get a quick answer, then you risk alienating them. They may intend to come back later or they may have decided that it's not worth the effort; whatever the reason, not getting the support they needed, when and how they needed it, created an unsatisfactory customer experience.

3. Make transactions clear


A positive mobile experience can make or break a business’s success. In this digital age, being able to use mobile devices across every phase of the purchasing lifecycle is imperative to consumers, with 50 per cent advising they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t offer an easy-to-use mobile experience.

Offer guidance and direction along the way, make sure not to hide any information that the customer may find useful, and provide a clear frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.

In brick-and-mortar stores, things are handled slightly differently. In this case, good customer service hinges on signage and verbal communication. The last thing you want is for a customer to make incorrect assumptions while in your store. If you’ve adopted a no-return policy on certain items, for example, this should be made clear to customers before they purchase. Don’t expect customers to read fine print; any important information should be shared upfront – if there's transparency throughout the transaction, you'll minimise negative surprises.

Whether you’re an online business or a traditional store, make sure your customer service adds up, and that the transaction process is transparent, so your customer experience does not suffer as a result.

4. Close the gap between your company and the customer


The final piece of the puzzle, but the most important, is building much-needed trust. Your product or service will attract customers initially, maybe even bring them back a second time, but to ensure a good customer experience evolves into invaluable customer loyalty, you have to provide customers what they’re looking for, when they need and expect it, and then the trust is built between your company and the customer.

Simple ways to build trust are being available with support, being straightforward with all pertinent buying information and providing personalised experiences that show customers that you understand them.

Bad customer experience is instantly recognisable


Not everyone is going to agree on what it is exactly that makes up good customer service, but bad customer service isn’t quite as hard to recognise – while specific service standards vary based on your company, industry and expectations, you can bet that customers will know bad customer service when it happens to them.

Be sure to do everything in your power to keep your consumers informed, on the move, and, above all, happy. Recognise that good customer service encompassess any interaction, online or off, from initial contact to the finale sale and beyond. If your company is responsive and friendly, and provides timely, relevant information when the customer needs it, you’ll build a reputation for consistent good service, and can achieve a positive and efficient customer experience.

Today's customers are more connected than ever before, and customer service is on the front lines of delivering on customer expectations.