Text only Print this page | E-mail this page| Add to favourites
British Council arnEnglish Professionals British Council LearnEnglish Professionals
LearnEnglish Professionals - Work Skills
Customer service orientation
Read: Customer service orientation
Listen: Customer service orientation
Customer service orientation

In this article we shall be looking at Customer Service Orientation and the importance of having this skill. With more competition in our globalised market, an increasing number of organisations are becoming aware of the importance of customer service orientation and more workers are being sent on customer service training courses. Read on to find out more about what it is and what you can do to improve this skill.

What is Customer Service Orientation?
Having good customer service orientation is the ability to keep customers happy, by doing some of the following things effectively:

  • Being responsive to the customer
  • Treating them with respect
  • Keeping customers informed, and responding to their requests promptly and efficiently.
  • Being able to deal with requests in an appropriate manner.
  • Asking lots of questions so you can understand customer needs in order to deliver the best service.
  • Remaining committed to helping
  • Taking into account the customers needs rather than your own

Why is customer service orientation important?
How many times have you been disappointed in the way you have been treated by an organisation? Maybe you had to wait to be served for a long time, or the person serving you didn’t smile at all. Perhaps you received an unapologetic response to something which went wrong. You were probably so disappointed that you have not used their services since. Unless you have no choice in the matter it is unlikely that you would want to use their services again. But in the majority of cases now we do have a wider choice, and with business becoming more globalised, as well as communications being a lot easier, we can have better access to products and services.
Even if the customer is not wholly satisfied with a product or service, if excellent, efficient customer service is offered, they will be more likely to return to you, which is good for business. Remember no customers means no business.
If you understand your customers, you can better determine which of your products or services are more suitable for them and you can even develop and deliver a more tailored product or service.

How can you show you have this competency?
Think of a situation you have been in where the customer has gained satisfaction. What did the customer want and how did you respond? What was the positive thing you did which made them content? If you can answer these questions with different examples then you can demonstrate a good customer service orientation. If you have difficulty in remembering a situation where a customer has gone away gratified, take a look at the following tips on how to improve your skills.

How to improve your customer service skills

  • Make sure you believe in the product or service you are selling. After all, would you buy a product when the salesperson doesn’t sound convincing?
  • Develop a positive rapport with the customer.
  • Exceed customer expectations. If someone asks you the direction to another office for example, don’t just give them directions, if you have the time, take them there.
  • If you cannot answer a customer question, find somebody who can.
  • Just because you are an expert at something it doesn’t mean the customer is, so bear this in mind. Be prepared to explain your offer in detail.
  • If you have a customer query, reply as promptly as possible, don’t leave them waiting: the longer you leave them waiting, the more frustrated they will get.
  • Smile, and treat your customers as you would like to be treated. If they don’t get any respect from you, how can they respect your organisation?
  • Don’t just assume what a customer needs; make sure you ask lots of questions to ensure you are delivering the exact service they require. Use your knowledge to think through what would be best for the customer.
  • Ask for customer feedback. Without this you won’t know if you are delivering an effective service or not.

Follow these tips and you can increase the chances that your customers will soon become loyal customers.

Comprehension activity: are these sentences true or false?
Click here to do this activity

Comprehension activity: good or bad customer service?
Click here to do this activity

Grammar activity: focus on using gerunds
Click here to do this activity

The United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
A registered charity: 209131 (England and Wales) SC037733 (Scotland)
Our privacy and copyright statements.
Our commitment to freedom of information. Double-click for pop-up dictionary.

 Positive About Disabled People