What is Customer Service?

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April 8, 2015
Tom Petitt
Vice President
Commonwealth Real Estate Services

Customer service can be defined as a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction. It’s the feeling that a product or service has met the customer’s expectation.

 

The importance of customer service can vary depending on the product or service, customer or industry. The manufactured housing industry can provide a customer with many areas of satisfaction. We have the opportunity to provide a nice, safe community to live in. We provide housing for first time home buyers, the family that needs more home choices for a better price, or just simply, an empty nester that wants to down size. Let’s face it, we can provide all the features and products, but it’s the level of service that helps influence the customer. Here are some customer services skills to remember when you’re working with a customer. 

  • You should have patience. Take the time to truly figure out what they want. They’d rather get competent service rather than be rushed out the door. 

  • Be Attentive. Listen to your customers, and pay attention to their body language or terms used to describe their problems or concerns. Consider this,”what it is that your customers are telling you without saying it”. 

  • Have Clear Communication. It’s okay to find out about your customer, but make sure you’re getting to the 

    problem at hand. When it comes to important points that you need to relay clearly to customers, keep it 

    simple and leave nothing to doubt. 

  • Use positive language. It’s an important part of persuasion; customers create perceptions about you and 

    your company based off the language that you use. Here is an example without positive language: “Our home site is not available at this time, so we have no vacancies.’’ Here is an example with positive language: “We have a resident that is removing their home next month, and we will have a vacant home site. We can submit your application for the community, and once we have the approval we can reserve the site for you.” Small changes that utilize “positive language” can greatly affect how the customer hears your response. The first response was abrupt and impersonal and can be taken wrong by customers. The second example is stating the same thing, but focuses on when and how the customer will get to their resolution rather than focusing on the negative. 

  • Acting Skills. Every great community manager or sales representative will need the acting skills necessary to maintain their usual cheery persona in spite of dealing with some people who may be just plain “grumpy”. 

  • Have the ability to Read Customers. You won’t always be able to meet your customers face-to-face, and in today’s world, you may not hear a customer’s voice. However, you still need to understand the basic principles of behavior, the psychology to reading your customer’s current mind set. This part is known as the personalization process, it takes knowing your customers to create a personal experience for them. This skill is essential, if you miss-read them, you might end up confusing them, and then you could lose them. Look, read and listen to subtle clues about their current mood, patience level and personality, your customer interactions will be more positive. 

  • Be a Calming Presence. Do not let a heated customer force you to lose your cool; your job is to do your best to be the “rock” for customers who think the world is falling down around them. 

  • Have Tenacity. Put in the extra effort. Your driving motivator should be, never “cheat” your customers with lazy service. 

  • Willingness to learn. Those who don’t seek to improve what they do, whether it be property management or marketing a product, will get left behind by the people willing to invest in improving their skills. 

These are just some of the skills of providing good customer service. They take practice, but once you have mastered them, you will find that your customers will appreciate the experience they had with you.

Tom Petitt is Vice President of Commonwealth Real Estate Services.  He can be reached at:

18150 SW Boones Ferry Road



            Portland, OR  97224



  503-244-2300  Fax 503-768-4660



             

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