Companies win with timely customer service

More retailers are making customer service a top priority in 2012, according to a study by STELLAservice

More retailers are making customer service a top priority in 2012, according to a study by STELLAservice. It surveyed nearly 250 companies and found that 67 percent rate customer service as their primary strategy for success this year, while 82 percent say it will be in the coming year.

Consumers are increasingly looking for more from companies than just a good deal, according to J.D. Power and Associates. To inspire customer satisfaction and loyalty, retailers and restaurant owners will have to provide patrons with enhanced service.

Some companies have experienced success by exceeding consumers' expectations for timely service. Online shoe retailer Zappos.com and optometrist/glasses provider Lens Crafters have found ways to provide consumers with products and services faster than expected.

Zappos.com ships shoe orders almost immediately after receiving orders so consumers can receive them the next day (if they are being delivered within the contiguous United States and ordered before 1 p.m. on a business day). Lens Crafters has taken the wait out of custom-crafted glasses with their promise to provide clients with a complete pair in about an hour.

Businesses can develop better relationships with customers by meeting promised deadlines and communicating about service to provide realistic expectations, according to Retail Customer Experience.