In our last post, we took a look at customer service and the important role it plays in the overall customer service strategy of a business. We also considered five benefits of good customer service. We concluded that in general, customer service is good for business. But how do you create a profitable customer service strategy for your company? We believe there are strategies businesses can engage to stand out from their competitors and make customers happy. In today’s post, we discuss seven steps to creating a profitable customer service strategy for your business.
Before we proceed, we’d like to provide you with a list of related posts we believe you will find helpful:
- Five Benefits of Good Customer Service
- How to create an Effective Strategic Marketing Plan for your Business
- Marketing Tactics for Small Business Owners
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Now that we’ve covered that, let’s take a look at what a Customer Service Strategy is.
What is a Customer Service Strategy?
A Customer Service Strategy is a plan that details how a company interacts with its customers. More specifically, it focuses on the service needs of customers and how an organization can meet those needs. This plan usually consists of company standards for good customer service. It also includes elements needed to achieve those goals such as hiring customer service representatives and training for customer-facing employees. A good Customer Service Strategy focuses on both the pre-sale and post sale needs of customers. As a result, it helps retain customers and increases repeat business.
To be effective, a company’s Customer Service vision must be communicated to the entire organization and should align with the overall vision, mission and values of an organization.
Seven Steps to Creating a Profitable Customer Service Strategy
- Identify the needs of your Customers: Organizations often fail or waste valuable resources creating products and services that they thought customers wanted. Instead, organizations should find out what customers need through research and targeted focus groups. This is because organizations cannot meet the needs of their customers without understanding what they want. Therefore, the first step in creating a Customer Service Strategy is to talk to customers, find out if current products or services are sufficient and determine what their additional needs and expectations are.
- Set Goals for Customer Service: Once customer needs and expectations are identified, customer satisfaction goals should be created. Additionally, these goals should be communicated to employees and customer service representatives so they understand what is to be achieved.
- Engage in Employee Training: After the needs of customers have been identified and customer service goals have been set, companies must invest in employee training programs. Customer-facing employees such as customer service representatives should be trained in communication and conflict resolution skills. They should also be trained to know what customers expect and what benefits and discounts are available to long time customers or loyal repeat customers.
- Build an Incentive Program into your Customer Service Strategy: Good employees are motivated to perform better when companies have incentive programs in place. Exceptional employees should be recognized and rewarded when they display strong customer service skills. Company incentive programs such as discounted rates should also be extended to loyal customers who have remained with the company for years.
- Create Metrics that measure Customer Service Successes: Such metrics are necessary to measure customer service progress made during the course of the year and determine what works and what doesn’t. Such metrics can include ratings on online review platforms, comments on customer cards or customer service surveys. These metrics should also be made available so customer service representatives can tell where they are excelling and what areas need improvement.
- Hold People Accountable: Customer-facing employees should be made to understand the importance of their role in the company. They should understand that they are the face of the company and have the power to keep a customer or push them over to a competitor. Due to the sensitive nature of their jobs, they should also be held accountable when customers are not satisfied with their service.
- Make use of a Technology Strategy and People Strategy: Companies should find ways to leverage the use of technology to provide convenience to customers. An example of this would be setting up a Frequently Asked Questions page on your website so customers can find solutions to common questions. Such a technique would increase customers’ convenience by helping them resolve such issues. Alternatively, companies can also include online chat systems so customers can chat with a customer service specialist online.
While it does take some effort to setup a Customer Service Strategy, its benefits are worth the effort. Using these strategies, Companies have the potential to increase sales by as much as 140% and remain loyal for up to 6 years longer.
As we conclude this post, we would like to leave you with these customer service facts shown by research. This data was collected from superoffice.com:
- 86% of consumers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer experience;
- 40% of customers say improved interaction with service employees is their key driver to spending more with the company;
- 78% of online customers recommend a brand to friends and other contacts after a great customer experience;
- 73% of customers cited rude and incompetent staff as the primary reason why they give up on a brand.
It is definitely a good idea to setup a Customer Service Strategy for your company and follow through with it.
How have you setup a customer strategy for your company? What elements make up your strategy? What challenges did you run into while implementing them? Feel free to leave us your comments below. We would love to hear from you.
Today’s Funny Quote
Today’s funny quote is by Bill Murray, the American Actor, Comedian and Filmmaker,
The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30 percent of their ice cream.
Have a great weekend.
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