The occasional angry customer or bad review isn’t necessarily an indication that customer service is dead at your place of business – but a few key indicators can help make managers aware of customer service concerns and provide a starting point to create a customer-centric culture at work. Let’s look at some of the disconnects in the customer service arena and how to improve customer service for the long run.
First, who is your customer?
The immediate answer is often defined by a manager or marketing team member as the end user of a product or service. And while this is essentially true, a brand’s customers are also its employees. By understanding that the customer and the employee must be treated like gold, the brand can more effectively create a culture that emphasizes a positive and inviting client experience – both internally and externally.
What does great customer service look like?
Wouldn’t everyone love to know the answer to this? Here are some of the key components to a great customer service approach for brands:
Brands must be honest in their dealings, efficient in terms of each step of the shopping process (including shipping, payment, and returns), and authentic when it comes to the overall mission of the organization.
Product availability and human or AI support tools must be customer-centric, while consistency in message, value proposition, and policies helps solidify the true nature of the brand. Customer service is rated higher among organizations that have a consistent, repeatable, and predictable business model.
Where should you look to gauge your brand’s customer service?
With the majority of brands selling online these days (or at least bolstering their physical locations with a robust online presence), gauge customer service largely on the reviews and pieces of online feedback received each day.
Brands should scour their social media pages and look for indicators that point to a client experience opportunity for the brand – both negative, positive or neutral reviews, and then react to those reviews in an authentic and responsive manner.
Brands can also proactively audit their branded customer service results by creating and distributing service-related surveys via numerous channels. The customer is the biggest source of information when gauging the brand’s service levels, but don’t forget that internal satisfaction metrics among employees is also an indication the business is working well from the inside out.
How do you change the brand’s service levels?
Step one – Listen! Listen to employees, customers, online review sites, industry leaders. Just. Listen. Then, listen some more.
Step two – Establish a minimum expectation around service. Create a framework that clearly outlines the service expectations for various units in the business . Then, inspect these service guarantees via surveys, internal observations, and other methods that collect information that indicates how to improve customer service.
Step three – Eliminate service barriers. By empowering employees to make important decisions without undue levels of bureaucracy, you’ll create a more engaged workforce and greater autonomy among staff members.
Step four – Do everything you can to retain existing customers. Studies show it takes 15-20 times as much effort to find a new customer as it does to retain a satisfied existing client. Find ways to say “yes” to customers, create value for them and make it personal.
Improving your brand’s customer service isn’t always an easy process, but it is a vital one.