How Good Is Your Customer Service?

Add Some Magic to the Customer Service Mix

How Good Is Your Customer Service? - Add Some Magic to the Customer Service Mix

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Make your customers comfortable with a reliable and warm welcome.

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.– Henry Ford

What makes a happy customer – and have you got it? Finding out the answers to these questions must be high on a customer service team's list of priorities.

After all, if your customers trust and like your organization, its sales will be stronger, its reputation will be greater, and it will retain good staff members more easily. So, what do they think right now?

It could be painfully clear that your service isn't great, but you might not be sure how to improve it. On the other hand, you may be streets ahead of your competitors when it comes to customer satisfaction, but you wonder how long that will last.

In this quiz, we'll help you look at five key factors for excellent service, so you can spot opportunities to delight your customers.

How Good Is Your Customer Service?

For each statement, click the button in the column that best describes your team. Please answer questions as you see them (rather than how you think you should), and don't worry if some questions seem to score in the "wrong" direction. When you are finished, please click the "Calculate My Total" button at the bottom of the test, then keep reading for advice and tips.

Your last quiz results are shown.

You last completed this quiz on , at .

17 Statements to Answer

Strongly Agree Agree Neither Agree Nor Disagree Disagree Strongly Disagree
1 We are happy once we've met our customer's expectations.
2 Customer opinion is closely monitored across all platforms, including face-to-face, surveys, email, and social media.
3 We look out for, and deal with, issues before they become a problem.
4 Team members feel empowered to deliver exceptional customer service.
5 My people rely on detailed scripts in their conversations with customers.
6 Customer feedback is shared with other departments and acted on.
7 Our relationship with customers plays only a small part in how they view the organization.
8 The team lacks the people and systems it needs to cope with demand and solve problems.
9 We're known and valued across the organization for our contribution to the business.
10 My team members prefer to deal with pressure in their own way.
11 We're not scared to ask our customers what they think about our service.
12 I often have arguments with other teams because they've let our customers down.
13 I ensure that our customer service meets minimum expected standards before we think about adding extra features.
14 Team members genuinely understand and care about each customer's experience with us.
15 Experts from other departments help develop my team members so they can give customers a better service.
16 We keep our focus firmly on selling.
17 My team and I are proud to represent the organization to our customers.
Total = 0

Score Interpretation

Score Comment
17-39

You are probably spending more time dealing with the fallout from customer complaints than being innovative with your service or systems. It is essential that you make fundamental changes to the way you do business, for the long-term survival of your organization. Read our assessment below to start on the road to recovery.

40-62

Not bad. You are clearly doing some things right but there is definitely room for improvement. Read on to examine five areas of your operation; you might need to make small changes in each area, or tackle just one aspect of your team's work in depth. In either case, there is plenty of guidance to help you!

63-85

Well done! Your team regularly goes the extra mile. It is likely you have a strong rapport with your customers and that you foresee problems before they arise. You probably provide a service that customers cherish and that competitors envy. However, you'd be wise to keep looking for ways to improve, so read on for some great tips.

We based our quiz questions on five areas that are critical to good customer service, summarized in the RATER model: Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness. Work through each area with your team and see your customer satisfaction levels soar!

Reliability

(Questions 6, 7, 12, 13, 14)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Your team's purpose is to help your organization deliver on its promise to customers. So if you don't "come up with the goods," you'll be letting them down at the most basic level. They won't be able to trust your team or the business, and they certainly won't be happy.

Unfortunately, the underlying problem might be out of your control. Perhaps the logistics department is struggling to keep up with orders, or a supplier has delivered poor-quality parts. But don't give up: identify where your team does have influence and act there.

For example, your team members will likely be responsible for data handling, so encourage them to be accurate and quick. Post frequently asked questions online and organize briefings for them so they can give customers consistent and up-to-date information. And share customer feedback with other departments, so they can improve their own reliability too.

Whatever your particular business and processes, you'll always be more reliable if you instill a customer-focused mindset within your team. In his book, "Win the Customer: 70 Simple Rules for Sensational Service," Flavio Martins says, "Service should be part of the behavior, thoughts and actions of everyone in the organization. It should inspire people, encourage their development, and transform their work, as well as the customer's experience."

Assurance

(Questions 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

How clear is it to your customers that your service is reliable? At one extreme, they need to know that their credit card details are safe, so your systems must be up to the job and your people scrupulously honest. Equally, they want to be sure that they're buying the right product for their needs, so they might want to contact your team to find out more - but will they be disappointed when they do?

Georges and Guenzi's Customer Trust Model highlights the importance to customers of dealing with well-informed representatives. So you'd be wise to harness the expert knowledge and enthusiasm of your organization's operational or product development teams, to help develop your own people's knowledge. Also, carry out a training needs assessment to address any other gaps in their technical or soft skills. Then they can deliver their customer service knowledgeably, confidently and appropriately, building credibility as they do so.

Throughout, be sure to support your people practically and emotionally, and encourage them to do the same for one another as team players. This will help them build resilience despite the emotional labor of dealing with problems or complaints. The more valued and engaged they feel, the more loyal they will be to the organization, the more impressive their service will be, and the more confident your customers will feel.

Tangibles

(Questions 4, 7, 8, 9, 17)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Does all your communication with your customers deliver the same reliable and expert message, appropriate to your brand and to their needs? If you want to build a strong relationship with them, your social media and website should align with your brochures and packaging as much as with your customer service team's skill and attitude. Such consistency will create a recognizable and trustworthy identity.

Similarly, your systems and physical infrastructure need to be robust enough to support your people effectively. You may not be able to make such resourcing decisions yourself, so develop your powers of persuasion and negotiation to help ensure your team has what it needs to do the best job possible.

How rapid is your staff turnover? If your people find their jobs too tough, they'll be tempted to leave for fear of burnout. But if they feel able to solve problems, they'll be proud and happy to stay - a tangible asset of your business.

Empathy

(Questions 2, 3, 11, 14, 16)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

It's essential that your team members can see things from the customer's point of view. If they do, they'll understand his or her thoughts, actions and needs better, care about his experience, and communicate with him accordingly.

They can gain this perspective by developing their empathy and listening skills, and building rapport with callers. And you can support them by surveying customers, monitoring social media traffic, and mapping customer experience.

If you manage complaints and feedback continuously, rather than just responding in a crisis, you'll be able to preempt problems. And, when things do go wrong, you can draw on the positivity you've previously built up with the customer and prevent issues getting out of control. If she knows that you'll do everything you can to make amends, she'll be less likely to "jump ship" to a competitor or share damaging comments online.

Aspire to the highest level of Miller and Heiman's buy-sell hierarchy. At level one, you are simply providing a product or service but, at level five, you're helping your customers to solve their own issues - you become indispensable!

Responsiveness

(Questions 1, 4, 5, 7, 13)

Your score is 0 out of 0  

Your team is the organization's most direct route to its customers. Every interaction it has with those customers is a chance to build a relationship, increase goodwill, and learn. And, if your people are listening carefully and feel empowered to take the action they think is best, they can be drivers of change and innovation.

For example, online clothes retailer Zappos® sets no time limits on its employees' calls with customers, has no targets for the number of calls they should complete in a shift, and doesn't script conversations. Instead, the priority is to be personal and thorough, and to build customer loyalty.

Zappos is a world leader in adding what it calls "wow." Customers get to speak to the same co-worker each time they call, and receive personalized cards, gifts and services in response to complaints.

Key Points

Good customer service is essential to the success of any organization. You can develop your customer service by using the RATER model to assess your team's Reliability, Assurance, Tangibles, Empathy, and Responsiveness.

When your team adopts a customer service mindset, it will also gain an attitude of creativity, positivity and learning. Instead of being in constant battles with your colleagues and customers, and firefighting crises, you'll be on a journey of continuous improvement. You'll win competitive advantage for your organization, and your reputation and retention rates will improve.

This self-test is just one of many that help you evaluate your abilities in a wide range of important career skills. Click here for other self-tests.

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter, or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career!

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Comments (6)
  • Over a month ago BillT wrote
    Hi eggzos,

    I hope that you are able to manage the changes needed with your team. There are lots of great tools available to you in the club. Thank you for the positive feedback. Don't forget to rate this resource if you haven't already, by clicking on the stars above this space.
  • Over a month ago eggzos wrote
    Great tool to reflect on what's going on with my team and our skills in customer service. Thanks
  • Over a month ago Midgie wrote
    Hi GovernmentWorker,
    Thanks for sharing your experiences of working in the public sector. I have worked in both public and private sectors and although you would think they should operate the same way, they do not. I hope you can benefit from our many influencing, and negotiation articles to help you persuade others to improve services.

    Midgie
    Mind Tools Team
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