Your business’ customers are integral to your success. That’s why it’s critical to create a strategy for how you'll navigate customer service at your organization. Customer service theory can help you understand the principles of good customer service so you can implement them to give your customers what they're looking for.
Identify the Goals of Customer Service for Your Organization
There are many models of customer service, but what they all have in common is their main goal: keep customers happy. When your customers are satisfied with the experience they had at your business, they're more likely to come back. This is how businesses can build loyalty and trust with their customers.
When creating a strategy for customer service in your business, decide what you hope to achieve. Your customer service goals may include:
- Building a loyal customer base.
- Reducing returns and warranty claims.
- Increasing customer satisfaction.
- Improving sales processes for customers.
- Decreasing negative user experiences.
When you have specific goals in mind, it’s easier to develop policies and processes for your employees to achieve those goals. For example, if you want to increase customer satisfaction, your business can conduct surveys with customers to understand what their sentiment is and then work to improve on any issues that commonly arise.
Put Customer Service Theory Into Practice
The principles of good customer service can be applied to your business regardless of what goals you want to achieve. These principles include:
- Speed: Customers want everything fast. This includes response time from employees or the time it takes to resolve a customer issue.
- Transparency: Customers don’t want to be kept in the dark. Be sure to offer explanations to your customers, especially when something goes wrong.
- Availability and accessibility: Ensure you have several contact channels for your customers to reach you, such as phone, email, web chat and social media.
- Friendliness: This one is hard to train in employees, but it’s a vital part of good customer service. Ensure your employees are always polite, fair and nice to your customers.
- Simplicity: Don’t make things complicated for your customers. Your communication and processes need to be clear and succinct for your customers to understand.
- Empowerment: Your customers want to feel like they have a say in their service. Give them self-service options and the ability to provide feedback.
- Accuracy: It’s critical to ensure that you’re doing things right for your customers. Your employees require the training, tools and processes to provide accurate service to customers.
- Details: Pay attention to the small stuff because that's what can snowball into larger issues. Be sure your representatives are careful and detail-oriented.
Depending on the goals you want to achieve, you can re-prioritize these principles for your business. For example, if you’re trying to improve customer satisfaction, and you’ve been repeatedly told by customers that your service is too slow, focusing on speed will help to improve customer satisfaction. If your customers have complained that your employees are rude, then it’s friendliness you need to work on.
Measure Your Customer Service Success
In addition to applying the principles of good customer service, it’s vital to measure how successful your customer service policies are. As part of the customer service concept, be sure to track key performance indicators that tell you whether you’re meeting your goals or not. Implement a feedback or experience survey as part of your regular customer service process so you're consistently giving customers a chance to offer their insight.
One of the most common customer service KPIs is the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). This helps your team to understand their strengths and weaknesses. You can also learn which areas you can improve upon to increase your CSAT score.
Another common measurable indicator for your success is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This tells your company how likely your customers are to recommend your business, products or services to others. A low score tells your organization that your customers aren't satisfied and don’t feel a sense of loyalty to your brand.
- Ledgeview Partners: 6 Important Customer Service Goals and Metrics You Should be Tracking
- UserLike: The 8 Core Principles of Good Customer Service
- Forbes: The Broken Windows Theory Of Customer Service And Customer Experience Improvement
- Customer Thermometer: 7 Customer Service KPIs You Need to Track
- FreshBooks: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) You Should Track for Your Small Business
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.