What does customer service mean to you? Ask anyone this question and you are likely to get a different answer almost every time. It is one of those things that everyone intuitively understands but cannot articulate so easily. Don’t be surprised if your agents’ interpretation of what constitutes great customer service too varies widely.
Top-performing agents may have a more nuanced view than the average rep. However, they will rarely have a common perception. If so, you need to evolve a customer service philosophy that agents can use during every customer interaction, day in and day out!
Done right, it can help you take your customer service performance to the next level with everyone pushing in the right direction!
What is Customer Service Philosophy?
First things first! A customer service philosophy is a common set of values that defines the what, why, and how of delivering great service to the customers. Think of it as a version of the employee handbook that you give new hires in order to bring them up to speed with your company and its culture.
The only difference, in this case, is that it is focused entirely on the customer. It lays out how you want the customer ‘to feel’ during each interaction and how you expect your agents to represent the company while talking to them.
A customer service philosophy is an extension of your company’s vision statement as it relates to customer experience.
A customer service philosophy is an extension of your company’s vision statement as it relates to customer experience. It needs to reflect an overall goal for customer service and describe the attitudes or values with which your brand will approach it. For example, you might say, “we will be proactive in giving our customers personalized service in the most positive and empowering way possible”.
Unsurprisingly, no two customer service philosophies are likely to be the same. Why? One, customer needs can vary widely from niche to niche, and brands may themselves have different perceptions about what their customers really want.
Here’s how to create a customer service philosophy:
Start with the ‘why’:
Great customer service starts with understanding “why it is important”. Asking this question will help your team think deeply about why customer service is not an obligation or ‘cost center’ but an opportunity to create connection and loyalty. Over a period of time, this translates into higher customer lifetime value and referrals that can help lower the overall cost of customer acquisition for business.
Once you have listed down a few responses, shortlist a few of the most important ones while ensuring that they align with the overall business objectives of the company.
Frame a customer service vision statement:
Now that you know the reason for creating a great customer experience, it is time to put it into writing. Much like your company vision statement, create a short but impactful vision statement that codifies your vision for customer service. A good practice is to highlight the values that resonate the most with your customer support team. After your team has come up with a statement, check whether it really conveys a universal message that everyone agrees with. If not, brainstorm a few more ways to describe customer service excellence until you hit upon one that is acceptable to all.
Think about how to put the vision into practice:
Next, it is time to visualize how your customer service vision statement will work in practical terms. This is often the hardest part as an altruistic or high-level idea may look good on paper until it comes time to use it in the real world. Asking a few clarifying questions here can help you discover the behaviors that will bring your customer support vision to life. These are the actions that your customer support team will need to follow every time.
For example, putting customer needs first, timely follow-ups, commitment to give accurate answers to customer questions, handling customer information with integrity, or always being positive when interacting with them.
Sometimes, you may find that some of your values are at odds with your key business KPIs. For example, stressing on low average handle time can cause your agents to start rushing customers. In such cases, think you want to think about how you want a customer to feel when interacting with your brand and create balanced KPIs.
Write it down and internalize it:
If you are satisfied with how the vision statement looks, put it on paper, and share it with your team. Remember, your enthusiasm will rub off on your team members so go out of your way to evangelize your customer service vision statement. Address your team in a ‘town hall’ meeting so that the core message percolates through all departments. Let them know that customer service is the responsibility of every employee, not just customer support agents.
It is also important for you to lead by example. Ensure that you model the core principles of the customer service vision statement when communicating with your employees and business associates. Second, publicly appreciate and reward employees that display a customer-centric attitude during their interactions within the team and beyond.
Remember, it may take a while for your customer service philosophy to take root with your team. So, you will need to revisit the importance of being customer-centric from time to time, especially when the results of a CSAT/NPS survey come in. However, an inspiring customer service vision will help set the bar high for your agents and drive customer engagement.
A strong customer service philosophy is an excellent way to differentiate your brand from the rest of the pack. It tells customers that you truly care about them, making them more likely to reward you with future business. It can help your agents cultivate a strong team spirit.
However, if your team is overworked, they will likely not have the drive to provide great customer service. While the cost of scaling a customer support team can be a concern, partnering with an outsourced customer support provider like Helplama can be an ideal alternative.
Helplama can help you hit your conversion goals during the upcoming holiday season, without having to sign restrictive contracts. Contact us today to learn more about our flexible plans and unique Zero-Risk Guarantee!