Good customer service means providing effective high quality care and service to customers. It can be specialist work, requiring complete understanding of the needs of a customer in a particular industry or situation.
Effective customer service is based entirely on helping the customer to achieve their goals, or solve problems, and do it efficiently and well. Customer service therefore requires a knowledge of products and services available to customers. Good customer service, to the customer, is when they get the information they need and the results they want.
To provide good customer service, you have to be a good communicator, who knows not only how to listen but to ask the right questions. In some cases customers aren't even sure what they need, or don't understand the information given to them.
You also need to be a problem solver, because you may have to solve problems the customers don't know they have. Most problems in customer service are caused by customers receiving poor quality information. They often don't have any idea of their situation.
Examples of good customer service
Retail customers want two complete sets of school clothes and shoes for each of four kids under ten. The sales assistant checks sizes, consults with the parents about allowing for the kids' growth, and how much they want to spend. The budget figure is $800, in this case.
The sales assistant arranges the four different sizes, which are half a size larger than current. She then bundles the whole purchase into one bill and sells it to the customers for $750. The parents buy 12 pairs of socks with the remaining $50.
A financial institution's call centre customer has a real problem. She's totally lost regarding her account, which she says she thinks has thousands of dollars in it. She'd gone overseas for a year or so, and lost all her identity and banking information. She didn't even think about this account until recently, after she returned.
The call centre operator can't find her name on the records. The only information she has which might relate to the account is an old bill from two years ago, which gives a few reference numbers.
It's an electricity bill. The operator does a 'reverse check', looking at the electricity company's records for payment from the financial institution. Sure enough, there's a record of payment from the customer, giving the account number.
The customer's account had been automatically suspended from the main records because of inactivity. The account has $21,000 in it. The customer is very happy.