22 Keys to Customer Service That Improve Satisfaction

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 26, 2022 | Published March 8, 2021

Updated August 26, 2022

Published March 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.

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Happy customers ensure a business maintains a positive reputation and retains a loyal consumer base. Keys to customer service include clear communication, responsiveness and transparency. Optimizing an organization's service can streamline the workflow of representatives and ensure customers feel valued.

In this article, we list 22 keys to customer service that can help a business improve its interactions with these essential stakeholders.

Why is customer service important?

Customer service is important because it allows businesses to create positive shopping experiences for consumers. Customers feel valued when they get recommendations, receive answers to their questions and give feedback that the business actually incorporates into its practices.

Effective customer service can increase a company's revenue by providing support before purchases occur, as people who have positive experiences might be more likely to return to a business and bring their peers, expanding the company's customer base.

Related: 9 Customer Service Tips To Improve Your Skills

7 keys to customer service

Here are seven keys to providing excellent customer service:

1. Feedback

One of the most important areas of customer service is giving consumers an opportunity to provide feedback. Feedback can be especially useful for a company when it informs employees about which areas of their business are most valuable to consumers and which aspects might benefit from improvement.

You can collect feedback by offering surveys and feedback forms and using other platforms like social media, email or phone calls that allow customers to communicate with a company's employees directly.

Customers respect companies that solicit feedback, but it's just as essential to incorporate the feedback. Demonstrating a willingness to adapt to consumer preferences differentiates an organization from competitors. For instance, a local lawn care business might launch a website so clients can pay their bills online.

Related: Working in Customer Service: Everything You Need To Know

2. Responsiveness

A large part of customer service is responding to complaints or inquiries about challenges with a specific product. Because of this, having a team that's responsive can contribute to success by helping as many people as possible and finding solutions quickly.

Responsiveness can also be crucial during instances where customers provide positive feedback to a company, as showing gratitude can help make consumers feel heard and appreciated.

A team that's responsive can be very effective, as customers can be satisfied with their experience and might be more likely to return when they have questions. For instance, imagine a customer has a flight booked for tomorrow evening that gets delayed to the following day.

If the airline responds quickly, they can book a more convenient flight for the customer that is less disruptive to their original plans. If the airline were to take a few days to respond, the customer would be even more unhappy as they would've already taken the delayed flight.

Related: Guide to Customer Service

3. Empowerment

Empowerment can enhance a company's service efforts by ensuring all representatives feel confident in their abilities to fulfill their duties. Empowering employees and coworkers might involve offering peer recognition or publicly praising successful interactions.

Employees who receive assurance are often more likely to take initiative when helping customers. For example, if an employee begins working and seems unsure of themselves, you might encourage them by providing thorough training and welcoming questions.

Related: 115 Customer Service Facts (Including Trends and Statistics)

4. Publicity

A company with great customer service can benefit even further from publicizing its successful initiatives. As technology allows people to share information quickly with large audiences, there are many opportunities for a customer to alert others of their shopping experiences.

To publicize their excellent service, a business might encourage customers to post on social media or leave a public review about which engagements were especially helpful to them. These first-hand accounts reassure others of the company's competency and might even convince them to choose the company over competitors.

Related: 20 Customer Service Tips

5. Communication

Communication is at the center of all customer service interactions. Knowing how to communicate clearly regardless of the situation can ensure a representative remains calm during any interaction. Part of successful communication is being an effective listener, so ensure you correctly identify the customer's problem before offering a solution.

You can listen to a complaint without interruption and ask questions to clarify any confusion. This approach assures consumers that you respect their time and are eager to solve their concerns.

Related: 4 Levels of Customer Service: Definitions and Tips

6. Transparency

Transparency can enhance customer service interactions by ensuring employees remain honest. If a representative doesn't have the answers a customer is looking for, they can refer them to the appropriate sources.

It's also good practice to admit when the company makes a mistake, as remaining accountable builds trust with consumers, acknowledges the company is aware of the problem and allows the company to address underlying issues.

For instance, a company might send out an incorrect product. Instead of blaming the shipping provider, the company can apologize for the inconvenience and send the correct product.

Related: FAQ: What Are Customer Service Relations?

7. Exceeding expectations

Exceeding expectations is a key element because it can increase overall consumer satisfaction and help build credibility. Representatives who work hard and surpass customer expectations have the opportunity to build rapport and develop lasting, positive relationships that might encourage customers to return.

This can encourage satisfied consumers to return to a business and might prompt them to recommend a business to their peers, expanding the company's reach. For example, if a customer tries to return a product that failed to meet their expectations, the general course of action is to process the return.

However, a representative who tries to exceed expectations might also offer alternative products as a replacement for the one they're returning. This responsiveness makes the customer feel valued and encourages them to trust the company with their future purchases.

Related: 15 Customer Service Jobs That Pay Well

Additional keys to customer service

Additional key components of customer service include:

  1. Attentiveness

  2. Patience

  3. Problem-solving skills

  4. Writing skills

  5. Persuasion

  6. Emotional intelligence

  7. Empathy

  8. Creativity

  9. Resourcefulness

  10. Positivity

  11. Time management

  12. Composure

  13. Tenacity

  14. Willingness to learn

  15. Proactiveness


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