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What Constitutes Good Customer Service?

By Bethany Keene
Updated: Feb 26, 2024

The things that constitute good customer service can vary depending on the business type, and the type of goods or services offered. In general, however, good customer service is defined by attentiveness to the customer's needs, quick resolution of problems, and the willingness to listen to complaints or criticism from customers. Many businesses spend a lot of time and energy training their employees to provide excellent customer service, because it is often one of the best ways to ensure that customers will return.

In a store, for example, good customer service is important so that customers will return for additional purchases. When working in a store, one should greet customers when they enter. The employee might then ask if the customers need assistance in finding an item, but at the same time should not be intrusive if they want to browse on their own. Later, the employee may ask again if the customer is finding everything that he or she needs. When the customer comes to the register to check out and to pay for the purchases, the employee could ask if the customer found everything that he or she was looking for that day.

The checkout process should be fast, and as smooth as possible, with the employee being certain to give correct change and to thank the customer for shopping at the store. In all of these customer interactions, the employee should be smiling, polite, and respectful, making eye contact and listening to any problems the customer may have. This is just one example of providing good customer service in a retail environment. Another environment where customer service is important is in a call center.

Call centers exist for nearly every business; customers might with a question on a utility bill, to make a hotel reservation at a hotel, or to place an order from a catalog, just to name a few. Customers also often place calls to call centers to make complaints. Because all interactions take place over the phone in a call center, it is important for all employees to seem engaged with the customer, listen carefully to the problem, and try to get things resolved as soon as possible.

Businesses use many ways to gauge the customer service their employees are providing. Some use mystery shoppers, while others use phone, email, or paper surveys sent to customers to elicit their experiences. Each customer's perception of the business is integral to its success, and providing good customer service to every customer is one of the best ways to ensure a positive experience and good perceptions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ZsaZsa56 — On May 02, 2012

Customer service is one of the priorities of my business. We may not have the lowest prices or the largest selection, but I guarantee that we have the best customer service. And our customers tell us so. They keep coming back because they like doing business with us, all of us.

When I am hiring new employees I take a close look at their customer service background. Even if they have a lot of experience, all new hires receive customer service training from our hiring director. He trains them how to treat every customer in every situation. It is this standard of excellence and consistency that has made us a success.

By jonrss — On May 01, 2012

I wish that I could teach a class on how to have good customer service becausesof many companies do it so poorly. It is almost like they don't even know what good customer service is.

The thing that frustrates me the most these days is the fake customer service that you often get from telemarketers and telephone help people. You call with a problem and they make the same scripted apologies over and over. When you are mad they just come off as patronizing and there is nothing genuine about them at all.

By tigers88 — On Apr 30, 2012

Everyone has their own definition of good customer service. Some people like for sales people to engage them and take a very hands on approach to the buying process. Other customers want to be left alone until they actually hand over their money. Two customers, two completely different definitions of customer service.

I think the most important skill for anyone trying to provide good customer service is to try and read the customer and respond to the customer. Figure out the level and type of service that they want and then give it too them.

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