Customer service is the foundation for any business offering products, services, or solutions. As a business owner or operator, it is essential to invest in best practices in customer service delivery. When your customers’ experiences result in high rates of satisfaction, your company earns a solid reputation and an increase in customer loyalty.
Here are seven of the best practices in customer service:
1. Hire Strategically and Invest in Training
In order to have a strong customer service team, you need to hire the right people. This is one of the most difficult challenges for many businesses and a big reason why many look for help outside of their organization.
If you outsource or stay internal, to create an excellent group of customer service representatives, you need individuals who are dedicated, empathetic, and competent. They need to be willing to find solutions, listen actively to customer complaints, and ensure issues are truly being resolved.
When hiring for your customer service team, look for candidates or a partner company with strong communication skills, enjoy problem-solving, and thrive in helping others, regardless of whether you decide to keep your customer service in-house or not. Once you’ve assembled or hired your team, invest in comprehensive training, so they are armed with all the tools they need to get the job done.
2. Cultivate a Customer-Centric Work Culture
When you cultivate a customer-centric work culture, every team and employee knows to prioritize the needs and expectations of your customers. This is no easy feat, however, as it requires a top-down approach.
Start with your management team, and make sure that the customer-centric expectation trickles down to even the most entry-level of employees. Encourage your team so that providing excellent service becomes everyone’s responsibility — not just the task of a few employees.
You should have your managers hold routine meetings where customer feedback is discussed, not only to recognize exceptional efforts and reward good service, but also to identify any areas that need improvement, so you can continue to provide positive customer experiences.
3. Empower Your Customer Service Team
For your customer service team to provide excellent service, they need to feel empowered. Try granting them autonomy over controlled decisions that allows them to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.
Some ways you can do this include providing clear guidelines on when they can:
- Issue refunds
- Offer discounts
- Provide incentives for customer loyalty and satisfaction
By empowering your team with the confidence to make these decisions, you enable them to offer a personalized experience to your customers.
4. Implement Omnichannel Communication
We exist in a digital age where customers expect omnichannel communication with businesses. Customers want the flexibility to communicate with customer service teams not only through traditional methods like phone and email, but also through more contemporary channels, like social media and live chats.
By implementing omnichannel technology and training your team on how to use and communicate effectively through each channel, you demonstrate your commitment to best customer service practices.
5. Actively Seek Quality Assurance
Quality assurance is critical if you’re going to make sure your customer service team is performing at their best. Actively seek out and respond to customer feedback in the form of reviews, social media, and surveys. These tools allow you to gain valuable insight into your customers’ experiences so that you can improve your customer service workflow.
Encourage your team to ask for feedback when interacting with customers, and make sure that you and your managers are actively responding to not only positive comments, but to negative ones as well. Use the information from feedback to make data-driven decisions on customer service quality to improve your company’s process.
6. Leverage Technology
Advancements in technology have provided ample opportunities for businesses to improve a variety of functions, including best practices in customer service.
Your company can implement tools like customer relationship management software, which allows your teams to track customer interactions while providing personalized experiences.
You can also implement AI chatbots at the beginning of a workflow to handle simple queries and help direct customer interactions appropriately, which can help speed up response times.
Finally, analytics technology can help your team identify trends and other areas for improvement.
7. Audit, Measure, and Improve
When it comes to business best practices, customer service and any other area of your business can benefit from regular measurement.
Aim to continuously audit, measure and improve your workflows. Establish KPIs that help provide your team with targets, like first contact resolution rates, customer satisfaction scores, and average response times.
By making your expectations as a company clear, you improve both your company’s workflow and your relationships with your team, as they will know what is expected of them and what goals they are trying to achieve.
The Importance of Best Practices in Customer Service
Best customer service practices may vary slightly from company to company, but the foundations stay the same. The goal of customer service is to provide the best interactions possible while addressing your customers’ needs and improving your company’s reputation.
By implementing these best practices in customer service, you protect not only your customers and employees, but also your bottom line.