5 Steps to Building a Strong Customer Service Strategy
And Why You Absolutely Need One
Customer service….*Big sigh* We all love it or hate it.
It’s the thing that every (good) company wants to excel in, but not a lot want to put in the time and financial investment it takes to truly master it. In fact, we can almost bet that right now you’re thinking about a horrible customer service experience or having flashbacks of being on hold for what seems like hours.
Improved customer experience leads to happy customers… and happy customers just don’t walk away… They just don’t!
Okay, Legally Blonde quotes aside… It’s proven that good customer service leads to customer retention. But where do you even start? In this blog, we’ll walk through 5 things to keep in mind when building an excellent customer service strategy:
1. Create a Customer Service Vision
The first step in solidifying a great customer service strategy is to create a vision and then clearly communicate that vision to your employees. What role do they play in your customer service vision? What are your organizational goals for customer service? More often than not, when a clear expectation is set and understood, your employees will rise to the challenge!
2. Identify All Customer Touchpoints
It’s important to know every single customer touchpoint your company has. Touchpoints are simply the avenues your customers use to contact you when they have questions or complaints. Whether it’s through a website contact form, Instagram or Facebook DMs, customer support phone number, or email—these are important pieces of information because they will allow you to:
1. Improve the internal processes of communication to cut down on reply time.
2. Fix any product or service that has repeated customer issues.
3. Project customer needs and be able to match or even exceed their expectations.
3. Create a Clear Path & Timeline for Communication
Does anyone remember the great Cinnamon Toast Crunch debacle of 2021? Yeah…. We wrote a blog on it. If you need a refresher, just click that link.
This incident is a prime example of why it’s so important to have a communication plan in place. Do your employees know what to do when a complaint comes in and who to contact if the situation escalates? Do they know exactly what types of situations to handle on their own and which need to be handled by a higher-level employee? Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This could not be more true when it comes to customer service. One bad response can cause your company’s hard-earned credibility to implode. If you feel like you can’t afford to hire good customer service employees, we’d argue that you can’t afford NOT to. 😅
4. Provide Service Skills Training
This one is for the CEOs and managers in the back. Employees need to know what you want them to do. We can not stress this enough! When it comes to employee expectations, and we say this all the time, “clarity is kindness.” It sets your employees up to fail when you don’t set clear expectations for them and communicate those clearly to them.
Employees can’t magically know how to address needs if you don’t train them. Kind of like husbands… but we digress.
What kind of things should they be prepared for? We’re glad you asked! Your customer service staff should know: how to answer the phone, how often to check messages, how to respond to customer complaints, how to meet customer needs in a prompt and professional manner, and your company’s standards for customer service. You can solidify this training by consistently reminding your employees of the importance of quality customer care and the value it brings to your business! And hey, job security for them. 😉
5. Follow Through With Accountability
With great power comes great responsibility and accountability. Once you’ve trained and empowered your employees, they should have an understanding of how their interactions with your customers affect your company’s overall performance—and they need to be held accountable for reaching customer satisfaction goals, or for missing them.
Do you have an employee who is not quite hitting the mark (a mark that was clearly communicated)? Remind them of your company’s vision and standards for customer service— and provide a consequence or refresher training when necessary. Holding your employees accountable will ultimately set your customer service team up for success!
Excellent customer support should never be an afterthought. Happy customers will be your company’s biggest advocates, and customer retention is ultimate #goals, so why not make sure they are taken care of? Need help with developing or updating your customer service strategy? We would love to give you a consultation or customer service training.