There are many metrics that can help a business understand how well it’s doing in providing its customers with great service. Customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score tend to be two of the more popular ones. These metrics are invaluable for determining a company’s customer service health, but they don’t always provide subjective context for an individual’s thoughts on excellent customer service.

For that, we turned to some experts in the field to help answer a good question that every company should—from time to time—ask on behalf of its customers: what does excellent customer service mean to you?

Below are examples of excellent customer service, straight from the experts:

David Apple, VP of customer success at Typeform
David Apple

Delivering excellent customer support starts by hiring the right people and having a great team culture. People say you can hear someone’s smile over the phone, I think it is also true via email, social media, and chat support.

So the most important thing to get right is hiring the right people and keeping the team happy.

Part of keeping the team happy and focused is to have a clear mission and values. Our team’s mission is to “proactively empower our users to succeed”. Our values are:

  1. To be honest even if it makes us vulnerable.
  2. Show empathy; we were all once new Typeform users.
  3. Focus our passion on empowering our users.
  4. Have fun and be ourselves in the office and with our customers.
  5. Ensure teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.

Josh Greenwald, community support team lead for SwiftKey at Microsoft
Josh Greenwald

Quality customer service is always rooted in how we position our language. Our customer interactions should always be concise and clear. This is a key area that I’m always watching out for.

Products at SwiftKey are touchscreen keyboards for the phone, which make them a bit more complex by nature. A strong focus on communicating a feature or explanation in crisp detail is always a constant throughout support, whether this is direct support, help center articles, or forum posts.

Outside of the quantitative measures, building relationships and developing trust is key. This may mean letting a customer know you understand their issue even when the support agent cannot solve the problem on their own. A timely follow up or going the extra distance and acknowledging a customer’s frustration can also speak volumes. Additionally, following up when a bug has been addressed in a new app version also speaks toward developing trust as well. While high quality service is not limited to these areas, communication and relationship-building are massive when thinking about customer experience.

Alex Mozes, senior director of customer experience at Udemy
Alex Mozes

My favorite analogy for good customer service is the river guide. If I’m about to traverse the Grand Canyon, going whitewater rafting for the first time, I want the ultimate river guide with me. The river guide is an expert. They answer any question, but also tell me what I need to know (“you should sit in the back of the raft”) and remind me when I forget something (“looks like you didn’t buckle your life vest”). The river guide has my back. I trust they will warn me against the dangerous route and save me if I fall overboard, but they also give me the freedom to go for a swim or take the more challenging route if I want. And, the river guide is friendly. They show me things I never would have noticed without them, and surprise me with candid photos at the end of the trip.

In short, I enjoy my whitewater trip because I trust my river guide, who is good (cares about me and my interests) and competent (knows what they’re doing and can intervene skillfully), and help me enjoy my adventure.

Read the report: Forrester TEI Report examines potential ROI of Zendesk

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