What is Good Customer Service?

Think about the last time you had a great customer service experience. What made it so? Was it a smile? Did the sales associate go out of her way to help you find what you needed? Did the waiter keep your glass filled without you needing to ask for it?The truth is, we all have a different idea of what exactly qualifies as good customer service. That’s because our personal version of “good” is based on our background, how we treat others, and other experiences to which we can compare. For instance, if your first boss trained you that customer service means never showing frustration with a customer, you might expect every sales associate to show the same restraint.
You may have seen the ongoing customer service survey offered on the home page of STRATEGY. I checked in on the results recently and was a bit surprised by some of the responses, and then not at all surprised by others. Here are the current results:

Eye contact


A friendly tone


Has Answers to all your questions


Consideration of all your needs


Going above and beyond






What surprises you the most? Is it the lack of correlation between price and customer service? I think some managers might be caught off guard by that one…focusing a bit too much on how to beat the competition with a price war when what customers really want is a friendly tone. Who knew?!
Of those who chose “other,” 90% wrote in their answer as, “May not know the answer, but will do what they can to find out.” So, when I take this and the other most popular answers together, I can easily see that people have different ideas of what constitutes good customer service. However, I also see a theme—consideration. While we may have different ideas of how it’s delivered, we all just want to feel as though they care.
The key to repeat customers?
Employees who look them straight in the eye, use a friendly tone, show genuine concern for their needs, and do what is necessary to help them get the most from the visit.
Tall order? It used to be the standard…

About Author

Amy Day

Amy Day is the Associate Publisher and a contributing writer for Strategy Magazine. She has an MBA in Marketing Communications and Strategic Leadership from Southern Methodist University and has been on staff with Strategy for nearly a decade. She is an award-winning business executive with customer service credentials from the Disney Institute. In addition to editorial oversight, her regular beat includes business, customer service, publishing, and family/child wellness.

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