Customer Service

Providing excellent customer service is critical to the success of any business or organization. Customer service in the workplace involves interactions on two levels: i) between staff members and ii) with customers and clients. Service in the workplace includes both internal and external aspects and expect job seekers and employees deliver on both levels. If you are looking for a job or you are already employed, it is important to demonstrate to the employer that you have the attitude and skills to provide great customer service. Delivering quality service affects the bottom line of any business.

This module will help users to:

  • Define service
  • Become aware of the importance of delivering excellent service
  • Understand the employers’ perspective on service
  • Become aware of the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in service delivery
  • Understand the correlation between soft skills and service
  • Become aware of the importance of attitude in delivering service
  • Understand the impact of EQ, soft skills and attitude in the hiring process and in the workplace
  • Look at the difference between internal and external service
  • Build knowledge of idioms
  • Have an opportunity to apply knowledge to a case study
  • Learn the rules for business emails and to practice writing them

Defining Service

According to The Free Dictionary, service is defined as “Work that is done for others as an occupation or business”.

Delivering excellent service in business:


A Customer Service Approach

When people think of service, they think about ‘dealing with customers’. Consequently when we think of customer service, we think of front line workers who serve the customer. Service is provided internally and externally in the workplace and excellent quality of service is vital to the success and sustainability of any business. It impacts the bottom line – profit. Customer service can be the defining thing that separates one company from another.

The Employers’ Perspective

The employer is looking for someone who can deliver a high quality of internal and external service. For the employer, service is one of the key factors that determines success.

Imagine two companies that sell ‘widgets”. The product is equally reliable. One company promises immediate delivery but is always late; another company promises delivery within two days and the product always arrives on time. Which one is most likely to succeed? Employers want employees who can provide, deliver and maintain quality service both internally and externally.

The difference between Internal and External Customers

Chris Joseph from Demand Media in his article – What Is An Internal and External Customer (smallbusiness.chron.com) says:

Your customers don’t only include people who enter your establishment or place orders by telephone or the Internet. Customers also include those who work every day to make your operation a success: your employees. While external and internal customers may fulfill different roles, both are critical to the viability of your business.

Identification

“An external customer is someone who uses your company’s products or services but is not part of your organization. If you own a retail store, for example, an external customer is an individual who enters your store and buys merchandise. An internal customer is any member of your organization who relies on assistance from another to fulfill her job duties, such as a sales representative who needs assistance from a customer service representative to place an order.”

External Customer Significance

“External customers are essential to the success of any business, as they provide the revenue stream through their purchases that the enterprise needs to survive. Satisfied external customers often make repeat purchases as well as refer your business to other people they know. A customer who suffers through a negative experience with a business, such as being treated rudely by an employee, can also hinder a business by dissuading others from patronizing it.”

Internal Customer Significance

“While internal customers may not necessarily purchase the products or services offered by their employer, the internal customer relationship also plays a key role in the business’s success. In the sales example, the salesperson who does not work well with customer service may have greater difficulty placing orders or obtaining answers to his external clients’ questions, resulting in a poor level of service. Strained internal relationships can also adversely affect company morale.”

— Chris Joseph

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