Customer Service / Customer Relationship Management

Customer Service and Customer Relationship Management are the same in some respects and different in others.

Customer Service. The focus of this group is two-fold. They are the interface between the customer and the production team, but they also represent the customer on-site to the rest of the production team. This is one of the ways that Customer Service operates like Customer Relationship Management, i.e., they are both working on building a more positive relationship.

Customer Relationship Management. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy employed by companies to engage clients and increase the quality of the relationship. This is accomplished by organizing and optimizing activities related to the sales cycle thus adding more value.

Customer Service Rules

There are some basic rules for customer service operations, many of them just being common sense. Here are several that should be a part of any customer service operation.

Courtesy and respect. People respond in kind, so when treated with courtesy and respect, the customer typically responds in that manner.

Listen to the Customer. Many times, requests are straightforward, and sometimes the question is buried in dialogue. Always make sure you understand exactly what the customer needs.

Identify Specific Problems and Provide Specific Solutions. Customers are typically calling to fill a need, or solve a problem. Make sure you identify the problem properly and provide the customer with an applicable solution.

Deliver What You Promise. I’ve heard many people say, ‘under promise and over deliver,’ and I get the idea. However, it is always more prudent to tell the customer up front what it is you can do and what you cannot do instead of trying to ‘look good.’

Recap and Confirm the Issues. Always make sure that both parties completely understand the problem, the solution, and the timeline for accomplishing the task(s).

The Bottom Line

Companies must ensure that they manage the communication and interface between customers and the manufacturing or servicing facility. Likewise, it is important to add value to the sales cycle when and wherever possible, and that is what Customer Service and Customer Relationship Management makes this possible. There are fundamental customer service rules that should always be followed that help make the customer experience a good one!

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