What is Customer Service?

Simple Question RIGHT?

Wikipedia defines customer service as:
“Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation.”

In the marketplace today it seems that more and more companies are abandoning the idea of good old fashioned customer service. I will try and related a couple of personal stories that will contrast the two ways I see service.

Bad Customer Services: (true story)

Recently a co-worker and I went to a major fast food chain with a local advert that was sent to me in the mail. Upon arriving we placed our order and things went horribly wrong. To keep the story short, it took over 10 minutes to PLACE the order. During this time the manager berated her employees in front of us, and made zero attempts to make the situation right for me the customer that had been standing here for over 10 minutes trying to order food, and pay them. We left quite upset over the lack of any customer service.

I then went the extra mile to help the company and reported the incident to the head office. This proved to only show the reason that their was no customer service in the local stores. I was bounced around on the corporate phone system, and when I got a person who said they would help, they took my story and said she will tell someone. Never once did she offer to make the problem whole with me the client. Furthermore she never even asked for my contact details so she could try and followup.

Good Customer Service: (true story)

Just this past sunday, my wife and I were at our local mega pet store picking up some more cat supplies (food, litter, catnip etc). Now, I am a pet person, and so I would love to have a dog, but the apartment we live in only allows 2 pets and our two cats.  Well I was explaining to my wife my love of my previous fish tanks, and so now we are shopping for tanks.

While at the local store, I was looking at my options, and started talking to the local sales guy about the options etc they offered. He turned out to be a big fish guy, and even suggested that a sale at his store might not be the best option. He explained that there are a couple of local shops that would be able to offer me more of a selection and maybe a better price.

When we went to checkout, he was also there helping out on the registers as the lines got backed up, and it was a pleasure to see him going the extra mile for clients. He stopped the lines to go and get a client checking out a product that she forgot to pick up.

So we come back around to the question of the day “What is Customer Service”. If we go purely off the definition, then our first company did not perform any actions to enhance the level of customer satisfaction, where as the second went above and beyond and clearly met my expectations.

Here at eDirectory (ArcaSolutions), we strive to be the second and work hard to avoid the first of our examples. This is seen in our sales process with live chat, phone and email sales assistance. To our support team providing on/off hour support via email, phone, ticketing system. To our custom dev teams, where we assign a personal project manager to your project so you do not have to explain your customization to the next guy each time you call. We clearly are focused on the area of “enhancing the level of customer satisfaction” for each and every customer as part of our DNA.

Now the question comes back around to you as a business owner or even shopper (online/offline). What is customer service to you? Do you really care when you are shopping for your ipod warmer that you may never talk to the store, and their website is kind of sparse with information, or do you need more. What is your customer service experience level needs, and what do you do when you feel your expectations are not met. I welcome you all to head over to our forums, and share your experiences either with your eDirectory product, or with some other company positive or negative. I am very interested about your stories.