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6 Characteristics of Great Customer Service

Here are six characteristics that are key ingredients in establishing excellent customer service for your small business.

In order to be successful at any endeavor, one has to identify and excel at the fundamentals. This principe applies to everything in business, including customer service. What fundamentals are required to create great customer experiences and maximum customer retention?

In this article, I’ll share six characteristics that are key ingredients in establishing excellent customer service for your small business.


1. Reliability

Customers expect product and service providers to be dependable and accurate during interactions. Take your home electricity as an example. As long as you pay the bill, you expect the lights to come on when you flip that switch.

Do customers consider your organization to be reliable? Are you rated high for dependability? Can your customers trust that you will do what you say you will do? These are key factors in providing a great customer experience.


2. Competence 

This characteristic measures knowledge and skill level in regards to one’s product/services. If you surveyed your customer, what would they say about the level of competency exhibited by those within your organization?

Internet access allows today’s customer to gain knowledge about your small business along with those of your competitors. Once the interaction begins, will your customer know more about your products and services than front line personnel and others within your organization? Make every employee an expert in order to receive a high rating for competency.


3. Responsiveness

When customers enter your brick and mortar location, call on the phone, email or initiate a web chat, how long does it take for someone to acknowledge their presence? One of the most dreaded customer experiences is waiting to be serviced or acknowledged!

How long are your customers waiting for service? When issues arise, how long before the situation is addressed and a resolution is provided to the customer? The responsiveness clock is ticking in your customer’s head while waiting to be serviced or to receive a reply to an inquiry.


4. Courtesy

In my opinion, this one is the easiest characteristic to exhibit. If there is one thing that we can all control, it is our ability to be kind and polite. All customers deserve common courtesy.

Courtesy goes a long way with customers, especially when they’re unhappy with your product and service. Body language and facial expressions also contribute to the courtesy factor. If your employees are not polite, it’s time to get rid of them.


5. Credibility

Can your customer deem your organization as credible? This characteristic is an image builder. We’re taking about trustworthiness here! Does your performance match what you advertise? Does your organization deliver on its promises?

Choosing to take the steps necessary to ensure credibility helps to create a reputation for believability. One act by one person which puts your organization’s credibility into question can be an image killer. Protect your organization’s future by insisting that everyone performs their duties in a manner that passes the credibility test.


6. Consistency

This is the glue that holds it all together. Consistency creates long term customers and entices new customers to your small business. Consider this: If your organization is consistently reliable, competent, responsive, courteous and credible, you’re probably providing many great customer experiences.

Consistency means establishing a pattern of behavior. Does your customer’s rating of your organization indicate a pattern of great behavior in regards to the customer experience? Can your customer depend upon your organization to provide a high level of service every time they choose to utilize your products or services?

The ability to intermittently exercise the five aforementioned characteristics will not help in your quest to provide great customer service. When consistency is added, long term retention is usually the result.

I’ll say it again. Be consistently reliable, competent, responsive, courteous and credible. Exercising these characteristics will assist your organization in its quest to provide great customer experiences!


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Speaker, author and consultant Errol Allen is the founder and CEO of Errol Allen Consulting, a Houston, Texas based company that provides customer service training, customer service strategy development and supervisor/management training. He utilizes his 25 years of hands-on experience in assisting his clients in creating customer focused organizations.


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