Customer Service as a Competitive Advantage

With a highly competitive market and an ever-changing industry, having teams that are dedicated to customer service capable of supporting, helping, and addressing customer needs has become one of the most important competitive advantages and one of the main challenges that mark the growth of a company in the market.

Moreover, offering value-added solutions has become one of the pillars of the service industry. Understanding and guiding are key elements when developing the customer service area, an essential area for any business. It is the customer service team which many times is the first line of defense provoking the customer’s first impressions, whether positive or negative, providing a timely response and ensuring that any request or conflict is resolved in the best possible way. Proving that trust in your team is essential to success.

Ideas Arise from Solving a Problem

A bad score in a satisfaction survey, a disconnect between areas that should work together to achieve their joint objectives, or a simple lack of communication can trigger much frustration among collaborators, which, in turn, can have negative repercussions in how they perform their daily tasks and cause conflict. In the long run, if these internal issues are not addressed, they can negatively affect the customer-company relationship.

However, when a problem arises and it is dealt with in a timely manner, it can become an important opportunity for improvement. Such is the case of the customer service area I led years ago. At first, it came about as a conversation between the client and the company looking to resolve concrete conflicts. At that time, these conflicts revealed several opportunities for improvement in our customer service area and enabled the creation of new businesses. However, changes in the industry have proven the importance of incorporating soft skills emotional attributes such as trust, empathy, and assertive communication within a team beyond the technical knowledge of a service or product. The scope of these customer service collaborators was expanded to include such an important task as is delivering comprehensive solutions through a collaborative interface of areas and not merely momentary patches that would deliver only immediate fixes and not long-lasting overall improvements in the business.

Understanding the concepts in the graph below is key to succeeding in an area that is subject to constant changes:

As shown in the diagram, trust and empathy are the foundation that hold and gives life to three of the daily attributes that are most important to the area’s success: Transparency, Commitment, and Support.

Building, strengthening, and maintaining trust will open new paths in the customer-business relationship that are possible thanks to the transparency of the interactions among them. The commitment that the company has to the customer and, above everything else, the support the company gives to the customer service area so that it can make decisions and act in a proactive and timely manner to address the customer needs are fundamental for success.

On the other hand, empathy within the context of the business-client relationship, allows the service area to consider the customer’s needs and look for a solution before offering “no” as an answer. Practicing empathy with the intention of understanding the feelings and emotions of the customer to experience objectively and rationally what they are feeling creates a greater connection between the joint work teams which will leads to collaboration to find an optimal solution offering support and trust, free from judgment that could negatively affect the relationship in the long run.

The Challenge of the Area During a Pandemic

The commitment and support provided by the company to the customer service area is essential since it leads to prompt action and quick resolution of daily conflicts. Acting as a customer care network that concerns itself with addressing customer needs shows that, despite the distance we are keeping due to the pandemic, customer delight isn’t determined by the place where one works but by how one works. Giving importance to high quality service is what makes and keeps a customer happy.

Likewise, the main challenge for 2020 and 2021 has been maintaining a close relationship despite the physical distance. An area that usually needs a high degree of proximity has managed to go the extra mile and overcome the shift in work modality which seems to be here to stay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.