5 Key Pillars of Customer Service

November 11, 2022
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Pillars of Customer Service
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We live in a world that is constantly changing; yesterday’s methods may no longer be working in the business of tomorrow. Rapid technological advancements, evolving infrastructures, and generational shifts are reshaping the business landscape. In this ever-changing world, where choices abound, the true cornerstone of any thriving business lies beyond its products or services. At the heart of enduring success is customer service, which is now being transformed by innovations and technologies. Imagine customer service as a timeless majestic temple standing resilient against the tests of time and the forces of competition. This temple’s strength rests on five fundamental pillars – each distinct, yet all harmoniously combined to forge a welcoming experience that transforms first-time visitors into loyal customers. Unlock the magic of top-notch customer service with our five key pillars. 

To begin, here’s a glimpse of what this post has in store for you:

  • What is customer service? Why is it important?
  • How does customer service affect the customer?
  • 5 pillars of customer service

What is Customer Service? Why is It Important? 

You run into customer service in so many parts of your day-to-day. Yet, the question “What is customer service?” pops up a lot. Maybe that’s because customer service covers a wide range of stuff, making it a bit of a tough cookie to define. 

So, what is customer service?

Imagine walking into a store, unsure of what you’re looking for. A friendly and knowledgeable staff member approaches you, helps you find what you need, and ensures you have a great shopping experience. That helpful and pleasant interaction is a perfect example of great customer service.  

Customer service is the assistance provided to clients to enable a seamless and enjoyable interaction with your brand, both before and after purchasing and using your products or services. 

This direct one-on-one interaction between the consumer and your team is essential for ensuring customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat purchases. It’s the friendly face or voice that helps solve a problem, answer a question, or just make a process smoother. Whether it’s helping to find the right product in a store, fixing an issue with an order, or answering questions about a product or service, good customer service is all about making the customer’s experience as easy and pleasant as possible. Customer service is a crucial aspect of business operations that build trust, and loyalty and ensures the ongoing success of a company. No matter what kind of business you run, small or big, you need to deliver excellent customer service. You need to go above and beyond to make your customer feel valued as customer service offers help, direction, and solutions at every stage of the customer experience, which affects how your customers feel about your company and how they interact with you. Developing bonds with customers through the course of excellent customer service should hopefully result in long-term partnerships. It’s equally beneficial for both businesses and customers alike. Customer benefit because the business is providing a service that meets their needs. The business benefits because satisfied customers are likely to be repeat customers. So, whenever your customers are happy, your business is prosperous. Customer service can occur through various channels like face-to-face interactions, over the phone, via email, or on social media platforms.

How Does Customer Service Affect the Customer? 

Customer service can make or break customer’s day. 

When it’s good, it can leave your customers feeling valued, understood, and willing to come back. They may even tell others how wonderful their experience was. It’s like receiving a warm greeting when you walk into a coffee shop, where the friendly and attractive barista welcomes you and asks about your day. It just feels great! When customers have positive interactions with your brand, they feel valued and appreciated. Their satisfaction increases, which makes them more likely to stay with you. What’s more, providing timely and effective solutions to problems can significantly enhance customer satisfaction. Customers love quick solutions to their problems. Good customer service helps build trust, too.

Turkish Airline Customer Service

There was an instance where Turkish Airlines' cabin crew assisted in the delivery of a premature baby mid-flight after the plane took off from Guinea. As reported by The Independent, this incident showcases the cabin crew's ability to handle emergencies efficiently and compassionately. 

The baby seemed to be swaddled in an in-flight blanket.

Source

The airline announced the arrival on Twitter, stating, "It's a girl." The message warmly welcomed the newborn with, "Welcome on board, Princess!"

However, poor customer service can have the opposite effect. Customers may become dissatisfied or feel unimportant as a result, leaving them with a negative impression. They might leave a bad review online, and probably tell their friends and family about the bad time they had. It’s like getting a cold shoulder when you ask for help – nobody likes that. 

Moreover, customer service can often solve problems quickly and efficiently, keeping customers happy and loyal. Bad customer service, however, can lead to complaints, returns, stress, and a lot of wasted time and energy for everyone involved. 

This age-old saying perfectly aligns with customer service principles. It’s the golden rule of customer service, too. The way you treat your customers can affect how they feel about the company, and whether or not they decide to stick around. 

5 Key Pillars of Customer Service

Now that you've gained insights into the significance and impact of customer service, let's delve into the exciting realm of discovering the key pillars that uphold exceptional customer service. 

1. Building Trust with your Customers

Treat others the way you want to be treated. How can you not love this saying? It means more than just showing kindness to others. Think about your customers the way you want to be thought of. When you provide exceptional customer service and are dedicated to your customer’s needs, it shows that you treat your customers with respect. It shows that you are willing to help them with any problems they might be experiencing with your products and services. Going the extra mile for your clients you get an opportunity to know your clients on a more personal level. That way, you can exceed their expectations. Your customers will treat you the way you treat them and they will continue to do business with you because they know they can trust you. It’s a long-term investment.  

Building trust with your customers is extremely important and it takes time. You need to be consistent and attentive at all times. Whenever you communicate with your consumer you need to make sure that the information you provide is consistent, accurate, and trustworthy. Using consistent brand terms throughout your customer’s journey is crucial. The terminology you use to describe your products or services should correspond to the language on your website. Make sure you use the same brand-related terms on your mobile app and social media channels. Educate your employees. They should be aware of your brand’s vocabulary for quicker, more effective service during every customer interaction.

It’s also important to be truthful about the products and services you offer. Being honest with your customers is crucial. Otherwise, they won’t stay with you and will navigate away from your business website. You should establish precise expectations from the very beginning. You don’t want to mislead your consumers about the value you provide, about the price and quality of your products and services. Your customer should know what to expect before making a purchase.

2. Showing your Competence to Customers

In any business, the ability to demonstrate competence is crucial for attracting new customers and maintaining loyalty among existing ones, which in turn reflects your professionalism. When your customer service team is well-versed in their roles, you can forge enduring customer relationships. They should be equipped to address all basic inquiries related to your products or services, underlining the importance of good product knowledge. This expertise is particularly beneficial for your online business—it aids in meeting customer needs with precision. Your trained employees can effectively highlight your product's advantages, leading to increased sales and reinforced customer trust. The assurance that your product information is accurate fosters a stronger bond with your clientele, who are more inclined to remain with the trustworthy provider.

Communication with customers is an opportunity for your customer service staff to engage deeply by taking diligent notes, signaling that you value their concerns and are actively listening - a nuanced aspect of customer care often overlooked. This approach not only conveys professionalism but also helps customize services to the interests of the customer, which may reveal insights into market trends and customer behavior.

Furthermore, when your staff members are well-versed in your products, they can quickly identify and even predict the demands of your clients, setting up your company to not just meet but exceed expectations. This proactive strategy can result in customer-resonant personalized service experiences that build a sense of value and loyalty that can differentiate your company in a crowded online marketplace.

3. Variety in Customer Service Channels

Customer service channels are crucial in today’s dynamic digital world because they give businesses a variety of ways to interact with customers. These channels, which range from email and phone assistance to social media and online chat, cater to various preferences, ensuring effective communication and meeting customer needs in the rapidly changing landscape of technology and communication. By offering various customer service channels, you gain an advantage over your competitors.

What are the most common channels for customer service? 

  • Social media. Given that a majority of your customers are online, it makes sense to establish a presence on popular social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly known as Twitter). Social media is a perfect channel for customer service. It allows you to engage with your customers in real-time, providing quick responses and solutions and we’ve already mentioned how important they are. Because of the platform’s widespread reach, you can also openly address problems, showcasing transparency and proving your dedication to customer satisfaction. 
  • Phone calls. They still matter. Due to the direct and personal communication they provide, phone calls continue to be an efficient customer service channel. People appreciate them for the immediacy and the human touch they provide. This way you can solve problems fast through real-time conversation. Phone calls remain relevant due to their convenience, especially for less tech-savvy individuals who prefer this mode of communication. 
  • Email. It is another effective channel for customer service. People love it for its convenience, allowing them to communicate at their own pace and time. It provides a written record for reference and proof. This type of communication suits those who prefer less immediate and more thoughtful communication. Another reason why people prefer email because of its cost-effectiveness. 
  • Live chat. It increases customer service and increases productivity by allowing agents to multitask and answer many requests at once. It offers faster response times and instant support, which improves customer service. Chatbot automation enables round-the-clock customer support by answering common questions and referring more complicated ones to agents.
  • Self-service. It gives users instant access to information and answers so they can handle problems on their schedule without waiting for live support. Self-service can greatly improve customer service. By including a knowledge base, your customers can rapidly solve common issues. A knowledge base serves as a central information source, offering comprehensive responses to frequently asked questions. This not only improves the customer experience by empowering users with self-help tools but also reduces the workload on customer service representatives, allowing them to focus on more complex inquiries.

4. Service with Empathy

Empathy and customer service are the two things that work harmoniously. They have a huge impact on the overall customer experience. Serving your customers with empathy is something they consistently expect, especially in today’s ever-evolving business environment. Showing empathy in customer service is crucial because it helps customers feel understood and valued.

Given the fact that customer service is an important aspect of any business and it affects your customer's buying decisions, being empathetic is vital. When your customer contacts you to solve his or her problem the best thing you can do is to acknowledge that there is a problem. You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to understand the issue and then you will be able to respond to your customers’ complaints in the best way possible. Negative experiences can have a lasting impact but empathetic customer service can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Your customers must feel that you truly want to help them because customer service is all about people.  Empathy can lead to higher customer retention and satisfied customers are most likely to share their positive experiences with others. That’s why you need to be empathetic, polite, and friendly. But it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything they say. You just need to understand where they are coming from.

Besides, empathy in customer service is mutually beneficial. It’s both great for your clients and your company. Showing empathy in customer service is good for your business for several reasons:

  • Your customer service staff can do their job more efficiently
  • It helps you build trust with your consumers
  • It can help you resolve conflicts peacefully
  • You can predict action and reaction
  • You can build strong customer relationships

In practical terms, integrating empathy into customer service involves:

Active Listening: Truly listening, not just hearing, to understand the full scope of the customer's issues.

Acknowledging Feelings: Recognizing and validating your customers’ emotions and opinions.

Personalizing Interactions: Personalizing the service, addressing your customers by name, and avoiding jargon.

Focusing on Help, Not Sales: Prioritizing the customer's needs over making a sale.

Clarity and Conciseness: Communicating effectively and efficiently.

Expressive Language: making sympathetic remarks to demonstrate compassion and understanding.

Customer service representatives who demonstrate empathy do more than just speak; they also act and show understanding. It's essential to develop an organizational culture that cherishes client experiences and encourages long-term brand loyalty.

5. Ensuring Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a central pillar in customer service for several compelling reasons:

Customer Retention over Acquisition: Retaining current consumers is typically more economical than acquiring new ones. Customers who are happy with their purchase are more likely to be repeat buyers, and to make additional purchases. This customer loyalty can become a significant competitive advantage. If you know a customer is a gardening enthusiast, you could start a conversation with, “Mrs. Jackson, it's a pleasure to have you back. How is your rose garden flourishing this season?” Additionally, you could send personalized tips on gardening or special offers on gardening supplies around the start of the planting season. This not only shows attentiveness to their interests but also demonstrates that you value them as individuals beyond just the business they bring.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Since personal recommendations have greater weight than brand advertising, word-of-mouth marketing is a very reliable and effective kind of advertising. Social media extends the reach of these referrals, giving them impactful and focused exposure. This organic marketing approach is cost-effective, frequently resulting in long-term company growth and resistance despite bad press. Content consumers who spread the word about their great experiences can act as brand ambassadors, fostering a cycle of customer loyalty and customer acquisition.

Feedback and Continuous Improvement: Customer satisfaction feedback is essential for improving goods and services, directing innovation, and improving the whole customer experience. Enhancing service quality, identifying and resolving pain spots, and making strategic decisions grounded in the demands of real customers are all aided by it for businesses. A company's ability to continuously improve and respond to feedback keeps it competitive and customer-focused, which boosts market share and loyalty.

Focusing on customer satisfaction goes beyond closing individual deals or handling small problems; rather, it involves developing a profitable and long-lasting relationship with the clientele, which in turn ensures the long-term viability of the company.

Conclusion

In summary, the five key pillars of customer service are essential to building strong customer relationships. Building trust, showing competence, offering varied service channels, providing empathetic service, and ensuring satisfaction are not just strategies but the core values that define superior customer service. By integrating these elements, businesses can enhance customer loyalty, bolster their brand reputation, and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. Prioritizing these pillars is an investment in the company's future and a commitment to its customers' experiences.

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