Customer service as a competitive tool: What is good customer service?

Customer service has changed in the 2010s from an expense item to a strategic competitive tool for companies. Why? Because as customer journeys have become more complex and personalized, the role of the customer experience has become even more important.  

The quality and value of products or services is simply no longer enough, but companies need to also deliver excellent customer experiences. This is a good thing, because the quality of customer service and customer experience is directly linked to customer commitment and the growth of customer revenue. In this article, we answer the following questions: 

  1. What is good customer service? 

  2. What does customer experience mean? 

  3. What does the quality of customer service mean?

  4. What is the quality assurance of customer service? 

1. What is good customer service?

No doubt everyone has an opinion on this, but it is safe to say that good customer service contains at least some of the following elements: 

  • Service is friendly.  

  • You are heard and understood, you know what will happen next. 

  • Your matter is handled in one contact (you are not bounced from person to person). 

  • Listening to hold music is kept to a minimum.

  • Something in the interaction exceeds your expectations.  

As this example shows, good customer service is chiefly looked at from a customer’s point of view. “What is good customer service in my opinion?” When we look at a customer’s experiences, we talk about the customer experience.

2. What does customer experience mean?

As the term implies, customer experience refers to the customer’s own experience. Customer experience comprises practically all interaction between the customer and the company during the customer journey. In terms of quality assurance, we can talk about external quality assurance; to what extent the customer feels the service experience has been successful from their point of view. The fact is that the customer cannot know what a high-quality customer interaction is from the organization’s viewpoint.  

They can only describe how it felt to them. Service that is perceived by customers as good does not always match the organization’s definition of good service. This is because, for the organization, high-quality customer interactions are based on the internal quality standards of the organization. It is therefore important to have clear internal quality objectives so that these can be revised together in order to not only achieve the organization’s goals, but also deliver excellent customer experiences in customer interactions. 

Asiakaskokemusta mittaamalla selvitetään, miten asiakkaat ovat kokeneet palvelun onnistuneen.
As the term implies, customer experience refers to the customer’s own experience. Service that is perceived by customers as good does not always match the company’s definition of high-quality customer interactions.

3. What does the quality of customer service mean?

What is meant by the quality of customer service depends on who you ask. For the customer, it all comes down to the customer experience, whereas for the company, it is about a customer interaction that meets the quality standards of the company.  

Whereas a customer interprets the situation based on how they feel, the internal quality standards of an organization are governed by soft vales (such as a greeting, tone of voice and introduction according to brand guidelines), in addition to various performance metrics and average values. Before we can even talk about the quality of customer service, we need to ensure the everyone working in the company’s customer service is clear on the quality standards of the service, or the quality objectives! Everyone needs to understand why things are measured and what can be achieved by reaching the objectives.  

4. What is the quality assurance of customer service?

The quality assurance of customer service ultimately means answering the question: What should be done in our customer interactions if we want to reach our objectives? 

Common objectives in customer service include the target handling time, the answer rate, the number of contacts, customer satisfaction, additional sales and FCR (first call resolution). Once the quality objectives are clear, quality assurance can begin.  

In practice, the quality assurance of customer service is conducted by monitoring customer interactions. Monitoring helps to discover what takes place in customer interactions and whether the right things are done in these interactions to reach the objectives. Quality assurance has traditionally been done using entirely the wrong tools. Excels, notes and emails do not serve their user in any way in terms of developing the quality of customer service, because they do not give you any insight on the quality of the activities, let alone help you develop the results. This is precisely the reason why QualityDesk was created: to eliminate this problem. 😊

One of the companies using QualityDesk to evaluate the quality of customer interactions is LähiTapiola. Watch the video to find out what LähiTapiola has to say about the benefits of the software!

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Johanna Kotaniemi

Johanna Kotaniemi

Marketing specialist

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