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Customer Service – How do you RATE?

Customer service can mean a lot of things

All of us have “customers” of one sort or another. Whether we are working on a B2B or B2C basis, with internal or external customers, our customer service skills will make or break us.  But what does good customer service look like?  And how can we raise it?

Understanding customers

Understanding what customers expect is a must.  That individual expectations differ is a customer satisfaction fact. However, all customer expectations fall within the same five dimensions. Topping the list are a positive customer experience and a resolution to a problem or query. I’m sure we all believe we give our customers the former but realistically it may not always be possible to resolve problems exactly the way your customer desires.  This makes your interaction with them even more crucial.

The RATER model

Customer service training commonly uses the RATER model, developed by Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry (1990 – Delivering Quality Service; Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations).  Based on the SERVQUAL model, RATER defines five dimensions that customers value when assessing service quality.

Ask yourself 3 key questions:

  1. Do my customers want this?
  2. Am I doing this?
  3. How do I know I’m doing it well enough?

The essences of good customer service

  • Reliability –  Do you do what you say you will do? Do you perform consistently and in a timely and accurate fashion?
  • Assurance –  Do you inspire trust and confidence, making your customers feel safe in their hands?
  • Tangibility – Do you display knowledge? Are you able to explain internal processes, or how you will deal with your customer’s needs?
  • Empathy – Do you show your customer that you understand their needs and situation? Do you treat the customer like an individual?
  • Responsiveness – Do you provide timely customer service? Do you convey a willingness to help?

By integrating an established model such as RATER, you can enhance the value of the service you delivered in all customer interactions, whether in English or other languages.  So how do you rate? Let us know in the comments area below. Also, click here for further help on improving your company’s customer service.