Many people think of customer service as a department. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know my belief is that customer service is a philosophy, not a department. It should be embraced by every employee, regardless of their job and how long they’ve been there. With that said, the focus on this topic is on what many consider to be the customer service and support department – the people who have contact and interaction with the customer.

Direct interaction can come in many forms. It can be the traditional customer service team who fields questions and complaints. It can come through a customer simply calling, for any reason, to connect with someone inside the company. The customer may reach out to the company via social channels, a website, a text message – really any interaction with the company.

So here is the big question to ponder: Does your company just answer questions and manage complaints, or do they validate the customer’s decision to do business with you?

In other words, when the interaction with the customer is over, does the customer think, “I love doing business with this company”?

Now, that makes common sense, but here is where some companies get it wrong. They focus on metrics – or should I say, the wrong metrics. Metrics are important, as they can tell a big part of the story. If one of your key metrics is about getting the customer off the phone as quickly as possible, however, you could be shortsighted.

The best customer support does several things. First, it answers the customer’s question. Second, it gives an opportunity for the service provider to make suggestions, answer future questions the customer may have (but, doesn’t know it yet), and more. This doesn’t happen if you’re trying to rush a customer off the call.

Customers will call for help and support – and even to complain. And, this is when the company gets to prove itself. Through an employee’s knowledge, communication skills, patience, willingness to help, and ability to build rapport, he or she can ensure the customer is not only happy but has also made the right choice. In other words, validate the reason a customer chose to do business with the company in the first place. But, that can’t happen if efficiency is how you measure success. Instead, the focus should be on the customer’s level of delight and willingness to want to do business with you the next time they need whatever it is that you sell.

Validation needs to be a part of the customer experience. It creates confidence, and that can lead to loyalty!