Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Have you ever heard the phrase "the customer is always right"? The way organizations treat their customers is a vital part of running the business. Keeping customers happy helps the business to grow, so it is important to carefully consider your customer service strategy.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
A customer service strategy is a plan that covers how the company will interact with its customers. A comprehensive strategy includes elements such as hiring the right customer service representatives, providing customer-facing employees with proper training, implementing loyalty plans and using conflict resolution tactics.
Customer Service Strategy Definition
In order to be successful, a customer service strategy needs to be implemented in every area of the organization. It cannot just be a part of the customer-facing teams. Instead, customer service strategy needs to come from the top down and align with the overall vision, mission and values of an organization.
The customer service strategy definition also includes having concrete goals. When creating your customer service strategy, think about what you want to achieve. For example, do you want to create a customer service strategy that increases revenue by upselling products, or do you want to reduce expenses by making customer service processes more efficient? Once you have an understanding of the goals of your strategy, you can put tactical plans and programs into effect.
Elements of a Strong Customer Service Strategy
A successful customer service strategy focuses on the needs of the consumer. Instead of guessing what the customers want, organizations need to conduct need-focused assessments through market research, focus groups, satisfaction surveys and customer comment cards. This way, organizations can have a data-centric idea of what their customers need from them.
A customer service strategy should include metrics that help the company to define success. This way, the team can measure progress during the course of the year to see how well they are meeting the goals of their customer service strategy. Metrics can include ratings on online review platforms, comments on customer cards or results for specific surveys completed. These metrics should be available to the whole organization so they can see where they are excelling and which areas need improvement.
It is important to reward customers for their dedication to your organization. Successful companies create programs to build loyalty among their customers by offering incentives in exchange for return visits. Loyalty points cards and tiered discounts, for example, encourage customers to keep coming back to your organization because they receive exclusive perks that they do not get elsewhere. If there are not any rewards for returning to your business, the customers may consider trying a competitor instead.
The Employee’s Role in Customer Service
The front-line employee plays a key role in implementing the customer service strategy, so it is important to ensure your organization hires the right people for the job. Successful customer service representatives have excellent negotiation, communication and conflict resolution skills. They are empathetic toward the customers’ needs and work to try to improve customer sentiment by any means possible.
Organizations need to provide their front-line employees with the right training in order to implement the customer service strategy. Customer service strategy in operations management includes making sure employees are well-versed in product knowledge and company processes. In addition, it is important to train employees on an emotional level so they have the internal tools to understand and express complex emotions that they may encounter at work.
Rewarding Your Employees
Customers are not the only ones who need rewards and recognition. Employees also need to be rewarded for a job well done, especially when dealing with customers. Through positive reinforcement and incentive plans, organizations can show employees how much they value the work they are doing.
For customer-facing employees, it is not enough to just complete all the tasks. In order to be truly effective, employees need to be engaged in the organization and have the drive to help their customers succeed. As a result, organizations need to offer employees rewards for good customer service.
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.