Customer service and relationship management fall under the supply chain management process that represents the firm’s face to the customer and the procedures adopted by a business or other organization in administering its interactions with customers. It is also the crucial point of contact for dispensing product and service bargains developed by customer teams as part of the customer relationship management process.
Customer service and relationship management describes how a company runs its customer service operations and enable consistently great service experiences that drive customer loyalty. It includes everything from training new service representatives, to optimizing support processes, to measuring service success. It is the point of interaction between the customers and the company to transact business together.
- Who is a customer?
A customer is a person(s) or firm(s) that purchases other firm’s products or services. Customers major concerns are related to the satisfaction they derive from products and services rendered to them, and the major attribute of a customer is buying products and receiving services paid for. Customers are important because they determine incomes, profits, popularity and awareness of products and services as well as improving the visibility of the entities that are the purveyors of such products and services. Without the ‘customer’, businesses and enterprises would cease to exist as we know them.
Customers can be classified into three groups:
- Customers that are optimistic in buying products and services only at the lowest possible price not minding the quality and value of the product or service derived from the product.
- Customers who trust and have dependable relationships with provider organization and expects the organization to take good care of them i.e., patients in hospitals.
- Customers who understand value and want the provider organization or company to be able to deliver the most valued and quality service in their relations i.e., clients in law firms.
3. Communicating and relating with Customers
It is extremely important that organisations develop the best rapport possible with their customers. Some of the communication skills required include speaking clearly, effectively, efficiently, and politely either by physical contact or over the telephone.
Good communication helps businesses develop trust with clients and clearly articulate needs, expectations and challenges. Communicating more effectively can improve the client relationship and potentially add more leads to the business.
- Welcoming Customers
The first impression is what a person/company thinks of the customer service (Receptionist/Front Desk Officer) and the firm they represent. When a client first meets with the customer service representative, their first impression and the initial evaluation that the client comes away with matters a lot. This initial evaluation is often carried out abruptly with a mere glance, via a brief conversation or even from a distance when the prospect attempts to assess the body language of the customer service manager/representative.
The first impression the customer service representative makes physically or verbally sets the tone for a future business relationship with a client by inspiring confidence in a prospective patron. It may also determine whether a customer will come back another day or decide to go to the competition.
The image that one projects about themselves is usually attributable to appearance and reputation.
A positive image can be conveyed as professional by the appearance and demeanor of the receptionist/customer service manager, the way and manner he/she speaks and responds to the clients, and the way clients speak about you in private with third-parties.
5. Functions of Customer Service and Relationship Management
- Providing fast and friendly customer support over the phone to customers daily.
- Building and maintaining rapport with customers and becoming a trusted advisor and partner in purchasing or rendering service decisions.
- Providing expert insight and advice on how customers can make technology a part of their everyday operations.
- Marketing special offers and services to customers over the phone.
- Handling and responding to customer inquiries in all forms (email, phone, in person, fax) daily.
- Serving as point of communication for ground services personnel and assisting with the completion of afterhours requests.
- Efficiently assessing customer needs and proactively providing business solutions to those needs.
- Providing superior customer service while handling inbound order placement calls and service inquiries.
- Driving business through providing excellent customer service and products and service knowledge as well as superior customer relationship building skills.
- Maintaining transparent lines of communication for customers about status of services rendered in the firm.
6. The Qualities of a Customer Service Manager
- Fast response times
- Reliable, informative solutions
- Friendly and personable interactions
- Arrive early to work, meetings, etc.
- Dress professionally.
- Greet everyone in a friendly manner.
- Shake hands firmly, mind your posture and make eye contact.
- Show good attitude: be polite, inquisitive, and positive.
- Keep your surroundings scrupulously clean and organized.
- Offer a comfortable receiving area. Thoughtful details like tea, coffee, water, etc., are appreciated.
- Always have on a pleasant smile while interacting with clients, prospects, and vendors.
- Behavioral Aspects of Customer Service and Relationship Management
An attitude is a person’s reaction towards an event. A good attitude is an asset in one’s personal and professional life. A good customer service manager needs a good balance of knowledge, skill, and attitude to become a complete professional. However, a good attitude is sometimes more important than skills and qualifications.
Positive attitudes don’t just happen, you must work very deliberately to cultivate them, coupled with a high dose of emotional intelligence and a good understanding of your business environment.
Having a good attitude can help you to retain your job and possibly secure a promotion, develop friendly relationship easily with clients, obtain repeat patronage and create room for customers to call back and colleagues to work better with you.
Customer service and relationship management are very sensitive tasks in an organization. They build brand loyalty and help improve a company’s reputation by presenting a positive image of the company to clients/customers at first contact. Good customer service is critical to business success, ensuring brand loyalty one customer at a time.
For further information on this article and area of law, please contact
Justina Olayinka at: S. P. A. Ajibade & Co., Lagos
By Telephone (+234.1.472.9890), Fax (+234.1.460.5092)
Mobile (+234.809.488.6972) or (+234.815.979.4218)
 See Kirsi Tarvainen, “What is Customer Service Management: Definition, examples, benefits”, available at https://www.the-future-of-commerce.com/2021/10/06/what-is-customer-service-management-definition-examples-benefits/ accessed on 5th July 2022.
 See Oliwia Wolkowickz (2022), “Customer Service Job Description for a Resume: Examples”, available at
https://zety.com/blog/customer-service-job-description-for-resume?utm_source=google&utm_medium= &utm_ campaign=16701418216&utm_term=&network=x&device=c&adposition=&adgroupid=&placement=&utm_source=google&utm_medium=&utm_campaign=16701418216&utm_term=&network=x&device=c&adposition=&adgroupid=&placement=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI25G-sdiY-AIV5pBoCR2YaAEDEAAYASAAEgKlyfD_BwE accessed on 5th July 2022.