8 traits of good customer service! What traits does a good customer service department have?

We talk about it often: Good customer service. That, of course, is an elastic, vague and hollow concept. So when is customer service good? We asked around. We looked at customer satisfaction surveys, we asked our employees and came up with a list of characteristics of good customer service. There are 8 of them!

1. Availability!

Do you know companies whose customer service is not open at the times you want to contact them? 1 of the characteristics of good customer service is that it is available when your (potential) customers need you. Most people still work during the day and yet there are plenty of companies that are available from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 16:00. No joke! A good customer service company looks at its customers and tailors its opening hours to their lives. So you need to be available at the times your customer wants to call you. Even in the evenings and weekends! Ideally, you tailor your availability to your customer's needs. So you should ask them. A little logical thinking is also possible, of course. I would like to be able to call the dentist at lunchtime, for example. If I'm filling my basket at an online shop, I like it if they can be reached at that time in case the payment goes wrong. Not that I'm necessarily going to call right away, it gives me a sense of confidence if they're available. So availability, very important. Not even so much because customers want to contact you any time. Even more so because being available conveys that you understand your customer. A webshop in garden plants that is not available on Saturday morning or a bed supplier that closes its customer service at 16:30 do not quite get it, of course. A doctor who is available from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or a clothing shop that you can call until 9:30 p.m. do...

Read a separate blog on this topic here

2. Accessibility!

This is a little different from availability. An available customer service need not always be available while an unavailable customer service is never available. Thoughtful but true. Availability is 2-fold:

  1. Reachable through channels relevant to your customer. Offering a contact form on the website is different from making a phone number, chat, email and a contact form available. Reachability in that case is about actually being able to reach customer service through a channel that is convenient, convenient or possible for you.
  2. Reachable in the sense of long queues is the second form of reachability. You can be available (1), reachable (2.a.) but still be unreachable (2.b). For example, if a customer has to wait 90 minutes. Or if the connection is very bad. Then you are not reachable, your customers can contact you, but you are not reachable.

Reachability is 1 of the important features of good customer service!

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3. Persistence

A customer service department must have a certain level of thoroughness. Decisiveness to make sure you understand things quickly and can translate quickly into solutions. Again, there are actually 2 different forms for this:

  1. External incisiveness. This is understanding the customer question quickly. An incisive customer service representative quickly figures out customer questions, making conversations fluid and easy. By asking the right questions, customers are understood and helped faster, as well as more completely.
  2. Internal incisiveness. As a customer service representative, you will interact with other internal departments. Internal incisiveness is that you understand these departments and that you understand their practices, interests and processes. With that, you can more easily answer internal questions and put the information you get from these departments to good use in customer service. For example, answering questions about invoices is a lot easier if you understand the invoicing process.

4. Responsibility

Sometimes characteristics of good customer service look like very basic success factors. As we have often described, customer service gets a lot of problems that they don't cause themselves. Things go wrong somewhere else in the organization, which is why customers contact customer service. Good customer service takes responsibility for that. In practice, we often see that problems are placed somewhere else in the organization. That does not help the customer. Just like processes that run across all kinds of departments, the customer is not interested. Logical. You contact customer service and expect them to take responsibility for your problem.

5. Communication skills.

Characteristics of good customer service, then communication skills cannot be left out. Of course, this is a meaningless platitude, so let's make it concrete. We often consider the good use of language and the ability to express oneself to be communicative skills. Someone who has a nice story and can put everything into words well, we classify as communicative. ERROR! Communication starts with listening, otherwise it's just called sending. If you are communicative as a customer service representative, you first listen to your customers. You have to understand who they are and what they are up against. You can only start looking for a solution when the problem is clear. Assume that your customer wants to ask you something and wants something from you. Listen and ask to get the problem completely clear. If the question is completely clear and you can articulate the answer well and even anticipate possible follow-up questions, then yes, you are communicatively proficient. 

6. Part of the organization.

Customer service is still often seen as a necessary evil. A department that is not taken too seriously and is cut back on if possible. Good customer service ensures that they are internally engaged. That they are part of the organization and that other departments value customer service. By demonstrating the added value you ensure that you get internal appreciation and you are not seen as that nagging department where nothing ever goes right. The problem is that in general it is mainly the costs of customer service that are transparent, much less what it brings in. So make sure you can. Think of revenues as things like

  1. Customer satisfaction, good customer service ensures higher customer satisfaction.
  2. Sales, good customer service creates more sales. Both directly and indirectly.
  3. Differentiation, better customer service as the competition is just a competitive advantage
  4. Knowledge, customer service knows what is going wrong elsewhere in the organization. That's gold for any organization that wants to optimize and constantly improve the customer experience

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7. Customer focus

....Gaap.... Logical anyway. Yes to a certain extent yes. The height that we shout that without actually being customer focused. One of the characteristics of good customer service is that it is truly customer-oriented and not just customer-friendly. We still sometimes confuse that. Customer-oriented is about designing processes so that they are tailored to customer needs. On the customer need and not on the internal (im)possibilities. We have written a white paper on customer focus, read it here.

8. Extreme flexibility

It is a hectic environment, customer service. Many factors over which customer service has limited control determine the nature, quantity and intensity of work. This requires tremendous flexibility from the customer service department. In terms of organization as well as people and systems. Good customer service is able to respond quickly to changing circumstances that affect customer service. So characteristics of good customer service are sometimes extreme :). 

Characteristics of good customer service in brief:

good customer service is available, accessible, decisive, responsible, communicative, part of the organization, customer-oriented and flexible! Hopefully you got something out of our blog on the 8 characteristics of good customer service!

About SpangenbergGroup

We can help you make sure your customer service is good customer service. Just good customer service where the basics are in order. Where customer contacts add value to the customer experience. We relieve you in the area we are good at (customer service) so you can concentrate worry-free on what you do best. Sound good? Get in touch. You can use the form below.

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