Any good business wants to take good care of it’s customers. And that’s great. But if you’re starting out in business, it’s easy to become confused about the two main areas of customer contact, customer service and customer care.
Why is it important to know the difference?
There are a couple of reasons really. But the main issue is the difference itself. Once you know the distinction between customer service and customer care, you can improve your delivery in both areas, strengthening your connection to customers, and helping your company grow.
So what is customer service?
This is perhaps best explained as being the advice and assistance you give to a customer. It most often comes into play after a sale. For example, when someone buys a laptop, and there are issues with the laptop, they contact customer service for technical support and overall product support.
The infographic above perfectly illustrates the value of good customer service. Picking out just a few key points from it shows just how fundamental it is to good business.
For example, the finding that 91% of unhappy customers will not do business with your company again is both shocking and educational. It helps us understand the value of what happens after a sale, when customer service kicks in. While it is true that customer service is happening before a sale, it is most often post-sale, when questions are answered and problems are dealt with.
The infographic also discusses the top three drivers for good customer service, the three most compelling reasons for getting that service right. They are:
- Improve customer retention. If you serve them in a positive and effective way, they are more likely to stick with you
- Improve customer satisfaction. Ever had great service and told a friend about it? Exactly
- Increase cross-selling and up-selling. Post the sale, if a customer is happy with the support and service she receives, she is more likely to buy more
And customer care?
Customer care is what happens while interaction and engagement with the brand is taking place.
If a sales rep or consultant is truly attentive, listening carefully and fully focused on the conversation he is having with a prospect, this will be ‘felt’ by that prospective customer. It’s the opposite of the old concept of a pushy salesman. People, now more than ever, want to feel like they can trust a person who is in a position to sell to them.
And in the best examples of true customer care, an emotional connection is established. This may be a simple feeling that the needs of the customer are being met in a genuine way. It literally means that a customer feels they are being cared for and cared about.
“Instead of focusing on the competition, focus on the customer.”Scott Cook
By thinking about what the customer wants, rather than what we want or the pressures we face for a sale, we are showing we care. This simply strengthens the relationship.
Two different concepts, then
They are two distinct concepts, but knowing the difference means that you can have two distinct approaches to what happens before and after a sale. Make both approaches strong, and you have a pleasant and rewarding customer journey for both you and the client, putting the customer first, always.