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It’s day three of Customer Service Week, where each day of this week is devoted to highlighting different ways to transform the traditional customer service model into a more enhanced, dynamic approach to foster better  relationships between clients and service providers. Why is this important? According to the International Customer Service Association, 68% of customers will stop doing business with a company because of bad service.

It is important to note that customer service doesn’t just exist behind a designated counter at your local shopping center, or on the phone when reporting a faulty delivery—customer service underlines the entire supplier-buyer relationship. It is present even before a official relationship begins and (should) remain in sight during the entire exchange. When understanding this, we start to see customer service not as a process, but as the adaptation of certain virtues in day-to day work. Hence, this week’s customer service series can really be defined as the Tao of Customer Service.

Like Taoism, customer service describes a practice—not a reaction nor a process—but a practice that should be integrated into daily work life. By identifying certain virtues to follow, your customer service model can be transformed into something that is beneficial to all.

In parts one and two of Customer Service Week, we highlighted the value in sharpening your focus and identifying your client’s angle of perception. These two virtues emphasize approach and behavior. Today’s post will concentrate on how to respond in various customer service situations.

The Third Virtue: Adopt a responsive attitude – the virtue of responsiveness

Everyone hates a slow response. As people, we’re not bred to be patient, especially in the business world where deadlines are always looming behind us like an angry boss. To make sure that this aspect of your customer’s requirements (whether tacit or not) is always met, responsiveness is a must. If you receive a question or request, respond right away. Better yet: based on a little foresight and understanding of your client’s needs, reach out to them before they feel the need to ask. This will help your clients save time and better meet their deadlines. But a responsive service attitude doesn’t stop with timeliness.

An indispensable facet of responsiveness is the acknowledgment of mistakes and proactive provision of solutions. When issues occur between a client and service provider—and they will—it’s an unfortunate truth that any reason or explanation proffered will sound like an excuse. But a truly responsive service person offers a specific solution alongside their reason (or excuse). And in the instance that a suitable solution is not readily available, expressing your personal resolve to fix a problem can make the difference between “my dog ate my homework,” and “my dog ate my homework, but I will rewrite it this instant and give it to you before class is over. Is that okay?”

responsivness

If you can embrace the virtue of responsiveness and all that it entails, it will shine through in your attitude and bring you one step closer to harmony with the Tao of Customer Service.

Thanks for joining us in so far! Stop by tomorrow to read about how innovation plays a role in customer service.

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