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What Is Good Customer Service?

"What is good customer service?" I find it interesting when businesses fail to keep customers happy if they simply can't answer the question. In all reality, it shouldn't be that difficult to answer the question, should it?  After all, even as business owners we are still customers of someone. So what is good customer service? What makes us happy as customers? Here are a few insights that, in my experience, keep customers happy and coming back for more. Be sure to add your insights in the comments.

Start by targeting the right customer.

Surprisingly, this is a step that many anxious entrepreneurs miss; if you want to keep customers happy, it helps to know your customers like the back of your hand. In other words, you need to specifically target a certain market and then understand what makes that target market tick. If you don't, you're in for a tough road ahead.

I recently outlined a very simple process to conduct market research and narrow in on a target market for my friends over at Under30CEO. Not only will this set the foundation for good customer service but this will also improve the chances of generating explosive demand for your business.

Here's a quick overview.

  1. Identify the demand - The first step is to actually see what type of demand there is for your product or service. Ask yourself this: If your product or service meets a very small demand, what does that say about your target market? In other words, what makes your customers so unique and how can you use this to provide exceptional customer service?
  2. Understand the trends - Similarly, are there any trends associated with your customer's demands? If so, why? Better yet,  if there isn't, why is there a constant demand? How can you use this insight to improve your relationships with your customers?
  3. Develop customer personae - And finally, you need to have at least a basic understanding of what your target customer within the market looks like. Even if it's not completely accurate, write down a rough sketch of who you think your customers are.

If you want to know what good customer service is, you've got to know how to make your target customer happy.

Give your customer only what they want.

As your business grows, you may find it tempting to sell your current customers some new product idea that you came up with.

It's important to remember, though, that your customers may not want what you are trying to sell. And, guess what? If you try to sell something to someone who doesn't want it, it will ultimately just make them mad.

So before you try to sell something new to your customers, ask  yourself the following questions:

  1. What value does this add to my customer's life?
  2. Does this add a significant amount of value to my customer's life or just a little?
  3. How do I know that this is something my customers want?

In my experience, when it comes to business, the last thing you want to do is guess what your customers want. In other words, you need a way to systematically improve your understanding of your customers.

So how can you do this? ...Through your metrics.

Create business processes that continually improve.

If you want to keep customers happy and coming back for more, you need your business to run as smoothly as possible.

In order for that to happen, you need to create business processes that are repeatable and continually improve in performance.

If you don't have any processes currently in place, I would suggest that you start with your customer service process and then move on to your marketing and sales process.

Either way, before creating a business process, make sure that you consider the following:

  1. What is the purpose of this process?
  2. How exactly will it look?
  3. How will I incorporate customer feedback?
  4. How will I know that this process is working?
  5. What are the appropriate metrics to measure in this situation?
  6. Who will be responsible for measuring and improving this process?

Make communication easy for your customer.

This makes sense, right? If you want to keep customers happy and coming back for more, you're going to need to make it incredibly easy for them to communicate with you. The great thing about tools like is that they make great communication with customers a reality for small businesses. Of course, simply having an application won't keep customers happy; you have to put the effort in to make it work.

Here are a few things to keep your eyes on when you consider customer communication:

  1. Response and Resolution Time - The obvious goal here is to respond and resolve cases as quickly as possible. Make sure you address any issues that are causing delays. Likewise, if customers continually present the same cases, consider how you can eliminate the problem all together.
  2. Preferred Communication Channels - It doesn't make sense to put money into certain communication channels if your customers don't use them. Find which channels your customers use the most and analyze why they are popular. See if you can pull any insight from this data that will improve how you communicate with your customers.
  3. Top Performing Agents - There is likely a good bit of insight that you can gather from your agents. For example, why do some agents out-perform other agents? Start by simply going to them and asking them if they have any insight into your customers' problems. Once they give you their thoughts, ask them to find data to back up their claims. If there isn't any, try to find some way to conduct a small scale experiment.

So what is good customer service?

At the end of the day, if you want to know how to keep customers happy you're going to have to put some effort into understanding their needs and point of view. It's an ongoing process and one that should continually make things better for your customers as well as your business.

For those of you who have happy customers, what are some things that have worked for you? What is good customer service in your business?

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