Fleet News

Customer service: Understanding the meaning of service

Chris Harris national sales manager Multifleet

By Chris Harris national sales manager Multifleet 

This was the scenario – I was sitting in a final tender evaluation meeting alongside my then sales director when the potential client’s procurement director posed the final question: “What is the one USP that makes you stand out from the competitors?” 

I knew the answer, and I sat back waiting for my sales director to deliver it. However, when it came, it hit me like a bolt of lightning.

“Service, but that is probably the same answer that 10 other companies have given you. However, we truly deliver it,” he said. 

It hit me for six, and really got me thinking that the word service is so overused.

The company I worked for then was recognised by its customers, its peers and the industry for delivering the best service. So how could 10 other companies use the word service as if it were a rite of passage?

There are teams of sales people out there delivering the same message, irrespective whether they, or their company, can actually deliver.

Service is a small word but it means so much. It can cause anxiety, frustrate and break relationships, on the other hand it can also build trust and deliver long-lasting relationships.

According to The Institute of Customer Service this is what service means: “A world where customer experience makes a positive and sustained impact on individuals, organisations and the economic wellbeing of the UK.” 

For too long, customer service had been seen as an after-thought, part of aftersales activity.

Instead, it is integral to the success and failure of organisations, and we are dedicated to increasing recognition of its importance. 

Service means to listen, have empathy, understand what your customer needs, what they do.

Take ownership of their requirements, offer a viable solution and see it through. Don’t pass problems on, go the extra mile and do the right thing, put them first and help grow their business and yours.

So, the next time you are sitting with a supplier and the word service is about to be delivered, ask yourself can they really deliver – and meet – the expectations of what service truly means?

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