In my view customer service is a series of planned and systemised activities in your business that ensures that your product or service delivers high levels of satisfaction and exceeds the expectations of your customer.
It is far too easy to get this wrong by not listening to your customers and doing what you think they want.
Your activities should be before, during and after a purchase.
It is just as important to consider your service delivery whether you sell a product or if you offer a service.
I would suggest that you need to consider every time a customer touches your business and then consider what you have to do to ensure that the customer experience is exceptional every single time. Every time a customer interacts with your business you have the opportunity to improve your reputation with them.
Not one service will fit all. A positive experience will be more important to some customers than others. Can you segment your customers and identify possible different expectations for different customer groups?
It may also be that the service experience is expected at different stages of their journey with you. For example on placing the order it may be a different expectation than when they receive the delivery?
Excellent service delivery can be more important in some businesses than others and will vary according to your industry.
For example, online businesses will not need the face to face positive contact, but will need order efficiency, after sales care, complaint handling, effective delivery channels. Or as a retailer you will have the face to face contact expectation, but how good is the telephone manner of your staff if a customer calls before visiting and what is the returns policy?
Customer service will be more important in some employees roles than others, however every role in the business should have a customer service focus. Receptionists, sales staff and any role meeting the customer is obvious to us that we should train these people in customer service. However what about the person who cleans the floors, arranges the distribution of goods on time, manages the web site or cooks the most fantastic meal? Without them your customer service and reputation will suffer,
Customers will pay more or return more often if they receive a level of service that meets or exceeds their expectations.