As you may know, a customer service strategy can make or break a business.
For starters, these strategies allow you to create a more customer-centric organization. By focusing on the people you’re doing business with, you’re giving them a reason to keep using your services.
In the long run, this approach will allow your business to survive and thrive. That said, developing a good customer service plan is not always an easy task.
Not sure where to start? Here are several customer service strategy tips that every business owner should consider.
1. Analyze Customer Needs
The first step toward building a solid strategy is understanding your audience’s needs.
Why is this important? Well, you don’t want to waste resources on services your customers don’t care about. Without understanding what they want, you won’t be able to meet their needs.
So, how do you get a pulse from your customers? By soliciting feedback, of course!
Focus groups, comment cards, and satisfaction surveys are all great ways to assess your customers’ needs.
For example, a powerful way to quickly understand what your customers want is to send post-contact surveys by email. Whenever your customers contact your business for customer service, you can send them a quick survey to complete. Ask them how things went, whether they have any feedback, and if their issues were resolved.
Even if you get negative feedback, these types of surveys will quickly allow you to find out where your customer service is effective and where you may be able to improve it.
2. Set Your Objectives
Once you’ve identified what your audience wants, you should figure out how to meet their needs. One of the easiest ways to do this is to set some measurable employee goals.
For example, let’s say your customers have expressed that they wait on hold too long when they call your business. In this case, you may want to set a goal for your employees to answer all calls within a set number of minutes. If your employees are struggling to meet these standards, find out why. Even great employees may not be able to reach your objectives if they don’t have what they need.
In the example above (not being able to answer a call within 1-2 minutes) your employees may simply be too busy and overworked to answer all calls this quickly, and may need additional support to provide better service. If it doesn’t make sense to hire more in-house customer service reps, consider outsourcing your call overflow to a 24/7 inbound call center or an answering service.
Make sure your team has everything they need to understand and meet your business objectives!
3. Keep Your Word
Always deliver on all your promises. This may seem like an obvious tip, but that doesn’t make it less meaningful.
This tip is essential for going “above and beyond” and impressing your customers. If you guarantee customer satisfaction, you need to mean it and follow through. When you keep your word to customers, they appreciate it. And, they often show their appreciation by showing loyalty to your brand.
Not only will you boost their loyalty (52% of customers make additional purchases after great customer service) but they’re more likely to share details about their experience with others.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful ways to bring in more customers and build your brand, so this is a huge benefit.
4. Strengthen Service Skills
Hiring the right employees is a good way to improve your customer service. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should neglect training. After all, everyone can benefit from some practical guidance.
Your organization’s customer service strategies may vary. That said, your employees should definitely know how to respond to customer complaints. You should also consider teaching your employees how to be more responsive to customers.
Knowing when to escalate a call to a supervisor or a higher-up is also very important. If a customer is very upset, or your customer service representative simply is not authorized to take a particular action that would resolve the issue, they need to know how to escalate the issue so that a manager or supervisor can determine the proper solution to the problem.
If you do not escalate in time, the customer may simply become frustrated, hang up, and never do business with your company again.
5. Reward Good Service
We all want to be appreciated, right? As you may imagine, your employees feel that way as well. In this case, some positive reinforcement can go a long way.
That’s why you should come up with a system that rewards your employees for good service. Proceeding with this strategy will contribute to building a strong customer service culture.
A positive business culture is absolutely essential for fantastic customer service. If your team members are happy, your customer service team will be more able to listen patiently to customers, deal with difficult situations, and maintain a high level of service.
In fact, 92% of customers believe that an employee’s happiness at work “affects their experience,” and they’re completely right! A study by Harvard Business Review found that happy, engaged employees were 31% more productive and 19% more accurate when performing certain tasks.
If you can reward good service, make employees feel appreciated, and boost engagement and morale at your office, both your employees and your customers benefit.
6. Introduce Brand Guidelines For Customer Service Representatives
One of the most powerful ways to build your brand and image in the mind of your customers is to introduce consistent brand guidelines. What does this mean?
Brand guidelines are essentially rules about how your brand (and your customer service representatives) interact with the public. Often, these are more focused on things like presenting a consistent image to customers, such as on your website, signage, product packaging, and more.
But customer service is a big part of your brand’s image, too. 73% of consumers will stay loyal to a brand that offers great customer service.
So you should introduce a set of brand guidelines that help govern how you interact with customers. Outline things like:
- How customers will be greeted when they call or contact your brand.
- How employee interactions with customers can reflect the brand’s values
- How customer service representatives can emphasize positivity in your brand
The goal here is to create a consistent (and consistently great) customer experience.
Need some more examples or inspiration? How about Zappos? The company is known for its emphasis on three things – great shoe prices, fast 1 or 2-day shipping, and excellent customer service.
In fact, its customer service has received multiple write-ups in Forbes and other publications. The ability of Zappos to maintain brand consistency, provide fast service, and exceed customer expectations is a great example that just about every brand can follow.
7. Empower Your Employees With The Right Tools
An employee can only be as good as the tools they’ve been given – so if you’re not using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software or another dedicated customer service tool, it’s time to make a change.
Tools like a CRM can help your employees track every interaction that a particular customer has made with your brand – giving them more insights into their past buying activity and other information that can be very helpful when assisting them with an issue.
Not only that, but customer service focused CRM tools allow you to integrate multiple customer support tools into a single database – including email, online chat, online forms requests, phone calls, and even social media support requests, in some cases.
This makes it easier for your brand to create a consistent experience for customers. Your employees will be able to make better decisions, defuse situations, and provide proper support more effectively with the right tools and technology on their side.
Implementing a Customer Service Strategy
Though these tips should help you with developing a customer service strategy, they aren’t an all-in-one guide. These strategies are always evolving, so there’s no shortage of new things to try.
Do you need some help with your own customer service plan? We may be able to help you out! Simply contact us right here, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Updated September 10, 2020