Customer service is generally defined as the provision of service to customers before, during, and after a purchase. The “customer is always right” was born out of companies seeking to maximize the customer service aspect of their business, in hopes of maintaining a loyal base of customers, and a steady stream of business. Customer service has increased in importance as the saturation of products or services and the companies that provide them have increased across the economy so much that having the product in stock or being willing to ship it fast is no longer as special as it used to be. Companies use customer service to differentiate themselves from the competition. This article will look at the industries where customer service is the most important.
The hospitality industry is usually the first one that comes to mind when people mention customer service. So many of the metrics used to measure success in the hospitality industry are tied to the perception of guests and their experiences with the hotel, resort, etc where they stayed. It is not hard to see how customer service plays a huge role in the experience of those guests. Exceptional customer service typically leads to positive answers to questions like “did the guests enjoy themselves?” and “do they want to return?”. Critical elements of a good game plan for customer service in the hospitality industry include: apologizing when something goes wrong, fixing the problem as soon as possible, and making changes to prevent the same problem in the future. The last one is extra important because even if everything else is perfect, if the same problem happens to the same guest during a 2nd visit, it’s likely they will think that problem is pervasive, which will mean bad word of mouth.
The banking industry is not an industry that people typically think of when it comes to customer service, analysts say. One frequent theory is that people will deal with average customer service instead of having to go through the hassle of moving their accounts to a new bank. But the banking industry is much different than it was even just a decade or so ago. The variety of banks for customers to choose from is huge and advancements in technology have made switching accounts easier than ever. Plus, banks are under extra pressure from structural constraints of there only being so many products to offer and minimal room to adjust pricing. Great customer service is turning out to be one of the only ways to differentiate themselves.
Analysts have been predicting the doom of the retail industry for years with the rise of the Internet and online shopping; and they’ve been somewhat right. Those retail stores or chains that are left have found that customer service is more important than ever and is literally the difference between solvency and bankruptcy in an industry that is so rapidly changing and filled with so much competition.