A successful business usually has an outstanding customer service department. Nothing can make or break a company faster than customer service. Your ability and response time to resolve an issue can mean keeping your customer happy and a client for many years or losing them to your competitors. Customers want to feel like their business is appreciated.
So, what is a response time? By definition, from the Cambridge Dictionary, it is the amount of time that a person takes to react to or deal with an issue. In simpler terms, response time is the measure between the receipt of a customer inquiry and when it is acted upon. Response time is one of the apparent issues of customer service. The quicker you can respond to a customer's inquiry, the happier a customer will be. Customer loyalty can diminish if an issue is not resolved in a timely manner.
In today's world, customers are looking for an immediate response. So, how do we measure these metrics? First, what is a response? A reply is a phone call, an email, and/or an in-person contact. A lot of the dealers and manufacturers are offering one or two-hour response times. For some reason, people like to talk loosely about a response time. A quick response does not necessarily mean that your problem was resolved.
Here is where it gets tricky with the customer. We have a measurable time to respond to a customer inquiry, but this may not equal what a customer perceives as a response time. Perceived response time is ultimately how our performance is judged. A customer does not care if you called them in fifteen minutes if it takes two days to solve their problem or issue.
Whether it involves billing, network, software, copier, printer, or even a simple question, customers want and sometimes need an immediate response. With the tools, software, and services available today, many issues can be resolved remotely by a trained customer service manager or helpdesk. When you can offer this type of help and response, this keeps everyone happy. If we must send a representative or a technician to the customer's office, you want a person who has the knowledge and can solve your issue on the first trip. In the case of a technician, you want someone who has is trained and has parts available to solve your problem.
The most important thing when it comes to service is communication:
- Communication with the customer entirely throughout the issue
- Advising them of the status and steps needed to resolve the issue.
Letting them know if you have delays or when you are on your way to their office will go a long way.
As much as we strive to be perfect, we are not. It is how we approach and solve these issues that bring value to the customer. I have been in this area for over 30 years and have had several customers during this entire time. Many of my relationships have changed over the years, from vendor/customer relations to friendships. We had a saying where I worked, "WHERE CUSTOMERS BECOME FRIENDS."