Customer Service: A Practical Approach

How is technology enhancing the requirement of excellent customer service? Provide an example of CRM and technology that you have personally experienced

Customer service is the backbone of every business and, therefore, it should be taken into consideration by organizations. Customer relationship management, or CRM, refers to the means that firms employ to manage customer relationships in an organized manner. Technology, in the form of the internet and programming capabilities, has brought efficiency and effectiveness to the CRM. In addition, it has greatly enhanced interactions between organizations and their customers. The cooperation has been facilitated through telephones and emails, contributing to greater customers’ support. Databases are the most common means applied in organizations for managing customers’ data.

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Technical support is indispensable to customer relationship management because it promotes contact with home-based and remote customers. Distance barriers can be easily eliminated with the appearance of online technologies. For instance, the presence of online shops and services has deprived customers of the necessity to go out to buy a particular good. As a result, they do not need to spend additional costs on transport because delivery is included in the price of the product.

Many customer service providers feel it is primarily important to maintain a positive relationship with internal customers. Please explain the theory behind this approach and how it relates to external customers

People working in an organization are considered internal customers. For example, if IT developers decide to test software, they refer to the testing department. In this case, IT developers can be regarded as customers of a testing department. The point is that the success of an organization largely depends on fruitful cooperation between departments where the internal customers should be satisfied with the obtained results. If departments within an organization cannot come to an agreement, they can have serious problems while interacting with external customers. Internal customers consider it a priority to enhance high customer satisfaction outside an organization.

Organizations should be able to meet the needs of internal customers to enhance the high productivity and success of business operations. In addition, the main purpose of an organization is to meet the demands of both external and internal customers, which is the key to high productivity and results. Specifically, effective cooperation with internal customers can contribute greatly to meeting external customers’ demands. It can also help an organization improve communication strategies, reduce costs, and promote organizational culture to a higher level.

Explain the six techniques for exceeding customers’ expectations. Next, select two that you feel are most important in creating customer service excellence and explain why you feel they are important

There are several important techniques aimed at exceeding custom expectations. First, employers should define the major preferences and dislikes that customers have. The target market should be strictly identified to know what and why an organization should do to meet those customers’ demands. Second, an organization should provide a survey among its potential customers concerning what they wish to buy and why this or that product is appropriate for them.

In other words, it is necessary to understand the reasons and benefits customers have for cooperating with you. Third, an organization should be able to convey its commitment to customers’ goals. In this respect, it should provide an accurate overview of the products that customers could expect to buy with an organization. Fourth, once an organization has established the product specification, it should carefully follow these specifications because customers rely on the initial descriptions.

They should be sure that an organization will keep all promises made initially. Fifth, an organization should strictly follow the established goals and maintain consistency while delivering a particular product or service. Deviation from the requirement and inability to deliver a specific product can discourage customers from cooperating with an organization in the future. Finally, a company should be aware of the fact that customers’ expectations are constantly changing and, therefore, it should be ready to face those changes effectively.

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The above-presented strategies are mutually interconnected, and an organization will benefit if it follows all those instructions. However, the strategies of setting precise goals and accomplishing customers’ changing expectations are among the most important ones because they define the actual scope of reaching customers’ satisfaction and excellence. In particular, an organization’s ability to predict the expectations and set perspectives for future demands is highly appraised because it is the core of business success.

A positive way to view problems is to think of them as opportunities. What does this mean in terms of problem-solving, and how is that idea associated with the concept of brand loyalty?

It is more beneficial and rational to consider problems through the prism of the opportunities that they can offer for improvement. Hence, the problem should be evaluated as a productive contribution to creating an effective problem-solving strategy. More importantly, looking at the problem as a link to providing effective solutions can involve more ideas and concepts on the part of customers. Customers can have an opportunity to take an active part in a problem-solving process and, as a result, an organization can establish tighter contact with customers.

The most important aspect is the perspective of the individual or the organization facing the problem. Problems can be considered motivating factors of entrepreneurship. Failure to meet customers’ expectations can lead to the loss of brand loyalty. In order to eliminate this problem, an organization should engage more customers in solving the problem and providing possible perspectives for further development. In other words, the process of searching for solutions can serve as the basis for creating new conceptual frameworks enhancing brand loyalty.

Explain the problem-solving model (process) and the seven steps to determining and implementing a solution. Provide a sample problem as you navigate the process

There are seven steps to solving a problem which is, recognizing the problem, gathering data relative to the problem, defining the requirements of an identified solution, identifying potential solutions, choosing the best solution, implementing the selected solution, and evaluating the influence that a solution will have. The proposed steps will be implemented in the case of management changeover and empowerment.

With regard to the above-identified principle, it is purposeful to consider the problem of changeover management when the allocation of different duties and responsibilities takes place. There are situations when employees have to undertake enormous psychological and social pressure creating significant difficulties in accommodating to a new environment and management strategies. In order to solve this problem, the following steps should be introduced. First, it is necessary to identify the origin of the problem and its reason. In this case, changeover management creates a communication problem and the inability of employees to face challenges.

Employees are not able to adjust to new conditions due to the absence of motivation and reluctance to suggest creative ideas and concepts. Second, in order to solve the problem, it is purposeful to conduct a survey within an organization to define employees’ expectations and concerns. Such an approach will help managers comprehend the nature of the problem. The survey can be carried out in the form of interviews or quizzes that can be later used for creating statistics. Third, it is necessary to make a list of target questions that should be asked to employees. The questions should be related to work conditions, employees’ satisfaction, the overall atmosphere, and the ability of workers to make decisions and cope with critical situations. It would be advisable to imitate the situation where the employers would participate in a decision-making process. Forth, as soon as the answers are given, the analysts should decide what approaches will be effective in solving the problem. For instance, they can suggest different communication techniques motivating people to take an active part in the organization’s activities.

It is also possible to motivate employees by means of financial encouragement and reward. Fifth, the best solution for this situation will be the implementation of a psychological approach in complex with material reward.

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The evaluation of possible outcomes of the provided solution can be carried out through the prediction or analysis of related cases. In addition, it is possible to provide a number of possible outcomes this solution will have. For instance, the change in management strategies will make people take minor decisions and raise their awareness of being an important part of an organization. They should realize that they should be able to face critical situations and increase organizational competitiveness. In addition, greater business success ensures improved working conditions and opportunities for all employees.

In general, the presented problem-solving scheme should be accurately followed. Otherwise, inconsistency and failure to follow the guidelines can lead to serious errors and lapses in management. Each organization should apply this model in order to eliminate problems in the future and improve its productivity.

Explain the difference between high-touch and low-touch environments. Explain whether you think this type of customer differentiation is market segmentation?

High-touch customers are the ones who demand a high level of expectations. Relying on their high-touch experience, they can often be dissatisfied with the services because they expect to receive the maximum at the minimum price. In the majority of cases, this type of customer requires to include service into the price of a product. A company puts in place mechanisms that are intended to reduce the costs incurred in relation to this group of customers while maintaining a high level of customer service. Some companies have embraced this type of customer differentiation. In contrast, low-touch customers have relatively low expectations.

It is also likely that this differentiation is also a market segment based on the income status of the organization’s clientele. With regard to these demands, low-touch customer service is basically automated and delivered by ATMs, self-service devices, etc. Low-touch customers require little attention, and, therefore, a company would rather wait until a customer asks for a product or service than search for customers to sell products.

Explain how a lack of empowerment can affect a customer service provider’s ability to provide the service that customers expect?

Empowerment refers to the involvement of employees in administering business; it implies encouragement of innovation and creativity on the part of all members of the organization’s staff. In addition, the idea of empowerment is closely associated with enhancing the authority of customer service provides in terms of making decisions and promoting their successful cooperation with customers. The process of empowerment entails taking responsibilities for minor activities held at an organization. In other words, each member of an organization should make his/her contribution to the company’s development.

It also means that employees should feel that they are also responsible for decision-making and problem-solving processes at all levels of management. Such a strategy can significantly increase a competitive advantage over other organizations that rely only on vertical management.

Employee empowerment can take many forms, including job design approaches where a job description involves decision-making responsibilities for carrying out tasks effectively. In addition, it may take the form of special activities such as quality of work-life (QWL) programs. Empowerment strategy has a number of advantages directed at increasing the success of cooperation between providers and their customers. Specifically, customer service providers communicating directly with their customers can solve problems more effectively on the spot if they do not need their decisions to be approved by supervisors of higher levels.

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Additionally, they should be able to identify the seriousness of the problem to decide whether it can be resolved without interruption of higher authorities. Another benefit is the development of more effective management in terms of the increased ability of employees to face challenges and difficult situations. Hence, they can develop their decision-making skills and abilities to act effectively in difficult cases. Finally, effective empowerment eliminates the necessity to introduce intermediaries between customers and supervisors because providers can take full responsibility for their actions. In this respect, the strategy encourages the development of more efficient approaches to communication in terms of time management.

It should be stressed that empowerment is an effective approach to solving problems and searching for new opportunities. Because customer service providers will have to deal with a great number of customers, they will gain much experience in providing solutions and, as a result, they can become much more competent in the sphere.

List 3 examples of co-production and how each of those would motivate customers to take part in the customer service process

Coproduction refers to a specific form of empowerment. The process involves the participation of customers in delivering a part of a service. In the majority of cases, customers have a great interest in taking part in providing customer services. One of the brightest examples refers to coffee machines when customers can make their own king of coffee filled with different ingredients. In this situation, coproduction allows customers to make their own choices, which does not limit their preferences to choosing a specific coffee. The services also define the target demands and the most popular beverages among the customers. Finally, coproduction can meet customers’ preferences in a more effective way.

The second example of co-production is maintenance activities and housekeeping. This kind of service promotes people’s awareness of their public responsibilities within the community. Customers become more engaged in a mutual partnership where both customer service providers and customers are involved in an interdependent relationship acknowledging that each party makes a valuable contribution to producing effective outcomes.

The third example is the different kinds of self-service shops. The new approach to providing services has a number of benefits for the community in general. First of all, the customer feels engaged with controlling public processes and maintaining order and discipline. Second, they feel more responsible for the outcomes of their activities. Finally, self-service provides more opportunities for introducing positive changes to customer services.

Judging from the above, coproduction is aimed at harmonizing a decision-making process and enhancing customers’ experience, especially at the early stages of the organization. The approach also creates more opportunities for employees because it serves as a motivating factor for internal and external customers.

Explain the importance of implementing a customer service system that is both effective and efficient

A customer service system involves a number of processes contributing to the competition among different customer services. In order to sustain a competitive advantage, customer service systems should carry out all operations efficiently and effectively. It means that all questions, orders, and problems should be quickly tackled. While regarding effectiveness, customer service providers should strictly establish the paradigms and objectives within which they should perform their daily operations. This management technique ensures the effective accomplishment of all strategies, goals, and mechanisms.

In contract, efficiency implies that an organization must work out strategies working beyond the established paradigm for the purpose of meeting the changing demands of customers. The complex of effective and efficient strategies can significantly enhance organizational performance and productivity and contribute to promoting a company to a highly competitive level.

In general, the concepts of efficiency and effectiveness are confined to the idea of leadership and management within an organization. In this respect, there should be an effective management hierarchy reporting to a leader. All managers of a customer service organization should demonstrate their leadership skills. Similar to managers, leaders should also apply management theories to introduce effective approaches.

Listening is certainly a critical method of communication when dealing with customers. Identify what factors cause people to have poor listening skills and discuss why good listening is vital to effective customer service

Effective communication is impossible without listening and comprehension aspects. Listening is hardly ever trained; a good number of people presuppose listening to be automatic. Nevertheless, effectual listening is a skill that can be attained through study and practice. There are several factors that influence listening. They include the intelligence of a listener, the vocabulary used in the conversation, and the informational environment. In addition, language skills and the ability to accurately and routinely analyze speech are of great importance for the process of listening. There are three levels of listening.

Effective communication advances understanding of customers’ needs and preferences. Great listening skills can eliminate communication problems. In this regard, it is important for a service provider representative to be a great listener to understand all customers’ concerns and find better solutions to the problem. Greater care of customers’ problems can help providers establish more accurate goals while providing services to customers.

This is why the inability to listen and observe can prevent communication from being successful. Good listening skills can contribute to the realization of customers’ actual values and beliefs, the main component that providers should consider while offering a specific service. Finally, a good listener will able to hear a complete message and make necessary conclusions concerning a specific problem or situation.

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