Freshdesk Spotlight Part 1 – What is Customer Service?

This post is the first part of a blog series from Freshdesk, in which we will try to answer that ever elusive question – ‘How to deliver the best customer service possible.’ Covering all the aspects of customer service that a business should know, understand and care about, this is an attempt at brand journalism, and an insight into how Freshdesk, as a company, looks at Customer Service.

Let’s begin then, shall we?

The Question

So, what is Service?

Well, it’s about beaming a smile to your customers. Or just putting up a bunch of “Customer is Right” posters right next to your billing counter. Right? Well, definitely not wrong… If Schrodinger were in customer support, he would have said, “The meaning of service is at once subjective and generic, both elusive and in your face”. Unfortunately, he would still be waiting for someone to take his call off ‘hold’, and record his wise words for the world to read…

But that’s why the meaning of “service” itself is so important. Because of the fact that it can be defined in a million ways by a million different people. And they are all right.

The Premise

When you stay at Ritz Carlton, you are not just paying for the room to spend a night in. Or when you walk into your favorite mom and pop retailer a couple of miles down, you are not just looking to do your groceries. And when you grab your daily paper from the corner newsstand, there’s something more to it than subjective media BS.

These are three different customer service “touchpoints”, when we interact directly with the people who are selling us stuff or providing us a service. Clearly, at each touchpoint, we are looking for something that doesn’t exist in the store shelf. So what are we looking for?

As a traveller, you would be delighted to see a taxi waiting to take you to the hotel. The mom and pop wins over the local WalMart because the guy at the checkout counter knows your brand of cereal. And most often, the news in the papers seem less interesting than the juice in the small talk that the guy at the counter makes. And these are kind of what makes customer service take a step beyond and give customers more of the “intangibles”.

So, the Answer is…

Customers just do not want to be sold a product or a service. They want to be treated well, they want to be assured that they’ve taken the right decision and they have to believe that they are important. If you’ve done that, you’ve just provided your customers some ‘great service’.

There really isn’t a lot more rocket science to it. Service is that simple.

But then, why do businesses struggle when it comes to this aspect of their operations, when it has been repeatedly been proven to be the most important, sometimes even more significant than the product or service itself?

But if we know what to do, why do we falter?

It’s easy to shrug bad service off as something hardwired into the way we think about business. It is even easier to sideline customer service as a growth problem, organization-wide culture, lack of top-down initiative and bottom-up motivation. But really, promising and delivering a refreshing experience at every customer touchpoint is not all that hard.

So how do we provide refreshing customer service? How can we align our business processes to actually make sure customers are happy with us?
We will be looking into these questions and more, in Part 2 of the series.
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