For the vast majority of people, the notion of “client service” is typically associated with someone whose job is to serve others, like shop assistants, waiters, and clerks. However, the concept of client service is much wider than that, and there are many more professions related to servicing others.
Client service implies the presence of two people: an employee who is providing service and a customer. In business, when one person does something for another, this can be called “service.” The interaction of an employee of a company and a client creates client service.
Any buying experience influences the image of the brand directly or indirectly, so, please, bear this in mind and be very careful with every client at every stage of your communication. Setting high standards of client service in your company is very important. Misunderstandings can lead to conflict, loss of face for your company, and a negative experience for your client.
There is one big mistake many companies make – they divide their employees into two groups: the ones working with clients and the ones not working with clients. However, this division is wrong since every employee should be ready to be involved in client service and respond to the needs of a customer. Why? Because the customer doesn't care about the employee’s position or which of the two groups he or she belongs to. Customers want their problems to be solved. That's it. Thus, any employee who represents your company has to be ready to provide client service.
What are the standards of client service?
Standards of client service are those norms and rules that a company sets to ensure a high level of quality. Standards are developed according to the specifics of the company's activities and the main features of its policy in the field of working with clients.
Implementing high client service standards means exceeding the expectations of your customers. When you do more than has been promised, the customer is more likely to become loyal. It is important for your employees to be able to act creatively and be good risk managers. Sometimes it is better to break the rules rather than stick to them.
High standards of client service require you not to be afraid to recognize your mistakes. Please remember that an unhappy customer can cost you a lot if they decide to share their negative experience (which they are very likely to do). Besides, their feedback will help you to improve your work. The positioning of your company should be clear, and you have to know your target audience. The preferences of customers may not always correspond to what your company can offer.
Standards of client service also depend on the team you are working with. If you are just beginning and there are few people working for you, people are already motivated and ready to act. But as soon as the period of stable growth starts, employees often lose that fire and begin to simply function on autopilot.
That is why, to ensure high standards of quality service, you need to find ways to motivate your team, train them and develop their skills. Note that it is equally important to work on keeping existing customers and to think of ways to attract new ones. A systematic approach is essential here. Any client service system should be aimed at making your company more competitive and improving the quality of your work; therefore, you have to constantly work on expanding your client database and turning your customers into loyal ones.
Practical advice on client service standards implementation
Here is the list of steps, the implementation of which guarantees high-quality client service standards:
Develop unified standards of client service.
The process of creating standards is not so simple and straightforward. To create and implement a standard, it is necessary to understand the concept of your business and your target audience. It is also necessary to involve experts who are professional marketers and company managers. This will ensure the involvement of the whole team.
Implementation of unified standards.
At this stage, several important tasks have to be completed:
- Employees have to know how to act according to the adopted standards;
- Managers need to comply with the approved regulations.
The best way to achieve these goals is corporate training. Managers must know how to apply the newly designed methods. It is also necessary to overcome possible resistance from the staff and show that the implementation of the standards is beneficial and effective.
Monitor the implementation of standards.
The core task of this stage is to make the adopted standards obligatory for everyone.
The main tasks of a set of client service standards include:
- establishing the loyalty of existing customers and attracting new ones;
- developing a common vision of the goals and tasks related to client service among all members of the team.
Please note that while maintaining a certain level of service can be challenging, it is vital to be consistent in implementation in order to be successful.
Why does your company need client service?
So, why is client service so important? The task of a client-oriented business is to gain recognition, because recognition means loyal customers. Keeping an existing customer is about five times cheaper than getting a new one. The main income of the company is earned with the help of loyal customers. That is why maintaining and increasing the number of loyal customers ought to be a key priority for any company.
What are some strategies for keeping loyal customers? First of all, it is necessary to form a good product range, design a well-planned bonus system, and be very thorough when choosing new employees for your company. Client service implies properly organized interactions between the employee and the buyer at every stage of communication.
However, this issue is much more complicated, and there are many different tasks involved in keeping loyal customers. It is not enough to provide discounts. Customers want more – they want to be respected, taken care of and treated well. Statistically, increasing the professionalism of employees can increase sales by 7-20%.
Being a client-oriented business is much more than simply selling goods and services to customers; it involves creating a pleasant experience for those customers. Care, attention, understanding and several other aspects of interaction are necessary ingredients for successful communication at every stage. This will result in gaining clients' trust and loyalty, and that means profit for your company.