FAQ: What Are Customer Service Relations?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Improving your customer relations can be a key strategy for maintaining your customers and growing your revenue. In order to have good customer service relations, it's important to understand how your company can enhance its public image. You can improve your relationships with your customers in several ways, such as having exceptional customer service, creating an online community or giving customers surveys about their experiences. In this article, we discuss customer service relations, examine the differences between customer relations and customer service and discover how to build positive customer relations.

What are customer service relations?

Customer service relations are the efforts that a company makes to nurture its relationships with customers. These efforts can involve the entire company, but especially customer service, public relations, marketing and sales departments. These departments most frequently interact with customers and may affect the way customers view a brand.

Here are some roles in the customer relations field:

  • Customer relations coordinator: A customer relations coordinator gathers information from customers and organizes customer incentive programs to monitor and improve the public's perception of a brand.

  • Community manager: A community manager works as the liaison between a company and its customers by providing content like informational blog posts or social media content, answering questions and creating spaces where customers can engage with a brand.

  • Call center support: This is one of the primary ways that customers interact with a brand. Some companies have call centers, and almost all companies have a system for answering customer calls.

  • User experience professionals: User experience professionals design how a website, app or software works to make it easy to use for nonexpert users.

  • Customer support specialist: A customer support specialist stays in contact with a client after they've purchased something. These specialists monitor customer satisfaction and ensure that customers have the information they need to use the service or product successfully.

A company usually decides on a customer relations plan that's mutually beneficial for the customer and company because customers' needs may influence their buying potential. Companies have customer relations that are focused on interpreting and serving the needs of customers to improve their sales.

Related: Creating a Customer-Centric Culture

What is the difference between customer service relations and customer service?

Customer service and customer service relations are strategies that focus on customer satisfaction, but they serve different purposes. Consider the following comparisons:

Customer relations

Customer relations focus on improving the public image of your brand and provide your audience with content and services to encourage them to support your brand. Companies use customer relations to find out how they can serve potential customers. Customer relations require the company to contact the customer and engage with them to build a relationship, create brand loyalty and increase their sales. An example of a customer relations initiative would be to create a customer satisfaction survey to determine what attracts your current customers to your brand so you can improve your strategy and gain new customers.

Customer service

Companies provide customer service to address concerns that a customer may have with their product or service. The purpose of customer service is to keep current customers satisfied and to preserve customer relationships. An example of a customer service task would be for an employee to help a client return a product or decide between two products.

Read more: The Differences Between Customer Relations vs. Customer Service

What functions do customer relations include?

Customer relations include two functions:

Reactive functions

Reactive functions are the actions a company performs to react to customers' concerns or issues. It can include helping customers with their questions and preserving customer relationships. Reactive functions can also include providing customer service and working on initiatives to correct issues with your products or services. For example, if customers find your return policy on your website unclear, a reactive function would be to rewrite the website copy to make the return policy clearer. This can also work for larger customer issues, like public relations issues or quality issues.

Proactive functions

Proactive functions are the functions that a company performs to find new customers and build relationships with them. Community management departments and marketing departments are typically engaged in these functions. Proactive functions attempt to foster a long-term relationship with the customer that may convince customers to continue to buy that product.

Many marketing initiatives serve this purpose, such as email campaigns and online communities where companies can talk to potential customers and learn how to meet their needs. Sales departments can also be a part of this function because they facilitate sales, plan promotions and maintain strong communication with customers.

What are the benefits of positive customer relations?

Here are some benefits of focusing on customer relations:

Customer retention

Customer retention is a strategy that focuses on the repeat business of customers who've already purchased from you. If you're investing in your current customers by maintaining communication with them and giving them positive experiences, they may want to continue to support your company. Long-term customer retention is one of the best ways for companies to increase sales.

Read more: Understanding Customer Retention With Strategies

Customer loyalty

You can create customer loyalty for your brand through positive customer relations. If you understand the demands of your target market, create a brand image that attracts your target customer, provide customer service and have a product that meets your customers' needs, your customers may be loyal to your brand. Brand loyalty can be a cost-effective sales strategy that may allow you to build on the relationship and trust you already have with customers.

Customer acquisition

Keeping the customers you have is an important business strategy, but gaining new customers in your target market may also help you grow your business. Many brands rely on their loyal customers to spread information about their brands and share their own positive customer experiences. Through customer outreach and relationship building, you may also find other markets that are receptive to your product.

Related: How To Grow Your Customer Base

Customer satisfaction

Focusing on your customer relations may help you monitor and achieve a higher rate of customer satisfaction so that you can continue to improve your brand. When your customers are engaged and communicating their needs, you may identify areas where you can improve your brand so you can keep as many customers as possible.

Read more: What Is Customer Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?

How can you build positive customer relations?

Here are some steps you can follow to build positive customer relations with your audience:

Train employees

Your employees contribute to your company culture, so if you train them to value customers and put their needs first, they may reflect these values in your customer relations. Give your employees the information and tools they need, such as brand policy and technical knowledge, to provide first-rate customer service and communicate with customers in engaging ways.

Understand your customers' needs

Understanding the needs of your customers can be the first step in creating a product or service they can use and building a brand they can connect with. Consider doing some research to find out what aspects of your product are most important to your customers. You may improve your customer relations by further developing those aspects to provide better products or services for your customers.

Be consistent

Your customers may interact with your company through multiple channels, so it's important to have consistent policies and messaging across all of them. Try to give customers a positive experience with each branch of your company they may speak with. You can clarify procedures for your customers by establishing common policies and expectations throughout your departments. You can also build trust in your brand by providing consistent experiences so your customers know what to expect when they do business with you.

Resolve issues quickly

Companies can track their ability to provide customer satisfaction by monitoring first call resolution, or FCR, which is how long it takes customer service representatives to resolve issues. The purpose is to resolve issues quickly for the convenience of the customer. This can help you provide a great customer service experience and show customers that your company takes their satisfaction seriously. Quicker resolutions may also allow customer service representatives to address more issues.

Use software

There are software and web services you can use to improve or monitor your customer relations. Your customer service relations team may be more productive if they implement automated emails and surveys or use customer service platforms that help your team stay organized. There are software and technology that can help you organize and track your community engagement, so consider taking advantage of them and customizing software that best suits your and your customer's needs.

Be accessible

Building customer relations means having open communication with your customers. Make it easy for customers to get in contact with people at your company who can assist them to show that you value your customers. You can be engaged with their questions and concerns to create a relationship between you and your customers. This may make your customers more likely to engage with your surveys and promotions.

Measure and improve your customers' satisfaction

You can use metrics to improve your customer satisfaction when you receive feedback from your customers via surveys or public outreach. Find a metric that shows you what your customer satisfaction is, like good reviews or fewer returns. Set a quantifiable goal and implement a plan to reach that goal using feedback from your customers.

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