The Importance of Customer Service Standards
Customer service standards are more important now than ever before. With the rise of social media and review sites, consumers have a louder voice than in years past. And they can easily share their buying experiences — good or bad — with the rest of the world.
What are Customer Service Standards?
Customer service standards give customers a clear idea of what to expect from your organisation. They also provide your staff a set of guidelines to follow when interacting with customers. Setting standards around key principles of customer service, like responsiveness and accountability, show customers that their satisfaction is your main priority.
When you consider some of these suggested general standards above, you can break them down to pragmatic steps that can be taken. e.g. To support responsiveness, have a policy that the phone must be answered within 3 rings, respond to a customer email enquiry within 1 hour, resolve a customer problem within 4 hours etc.
The Benefits of Customer Service Standards
💡 They help ensure your customers have a positive experience with your business
💡 They will help you standout and differentiate from your competitors
💡 If it’s not measured, it’s not managed – standards will help you monitor customer satisfaction goals
The baseline that customer service standards create help guarantee that all customers receive the same level of quality service — no matter who they speak to and no matter where they are in the world. By setting standards for exceptional service, you can make sure you build happy, loyal and repeat purchase customers that continue to purchase and recommend your services.
5 Tips To Improve Your Customer Standards
With the right standards and measurements in place, you can start to see where your standards might be slipping. At the same time there are ways to drive your customer standards upwards and not settle for the status quo.
In today’s dynamic, competitive markets, a great product isn’t always sufficient to retain your existing customers and attract new ones. You’ll always face an uphill battle if you allow your customer service standards to slip. With more product choices and services available than ever before, it’s easy for a customer to leave you and post a complaint or negative review online.
The other side of the coin is, with our world being extremely digital it creates amazing new opportunities to connect with customers much easier, know what they like, want and how they feel about your products / services. So there is no reason for your business to not leverage technology and data to understand, obtain feedback and deliver experiences and value your customers deserve.
Create A Single View of your Customer Data
With the power of modern tools such as Customer Relationship Management, it has become so much easier to track your customer information and end to end customer journey. Of course many businesses are still not leveraging these tools properly or have stitched together a variety of tools across their organisations and there isn’t a single unified view of their customer data – marketing see one thing, sales see another and service reps are working off of something completely different again.
Customers don’t care how your infrastructure is setup, or whether service teams use different systems than sales and marketing. All that matters to them is a seamless, cohesive, pain-free experience. Consolidating and connecting disparate sets of data is crucial to provide context for better experiences and higher satisfaction. Having the right tech, consolidated customer data and processes will enable your business to gather customer insight much easier and ensure you serve your customers much more efficiently and deliver the experience that will keep them coming back for more.
Deliver an Omni-Channel Customer Experience
Customers and consumers are likely to use their preferred devices and channels to contact you – website enquiry forms, SMS, chatbots, livechat, whatsapp, facebook, email, linkedin, PCs, Laptops, Smart Phones, Tablets, Smart Watches etc… yes I could go on and on here. The bottom line is customers are looking for an omni-channel experience.
Equally if your systems are not integrated you may find that the person dealing with a text message one minute, has knowledge that the same customer has emailed the business 1 hour before the text message. So you need to think end to end (holistically) about how you will deliver the right customer experience that aligns with your customer service standards and goals.
Automate key elements of your Marketing, Sales and Service
The patience of today’s consumer means we all have to be able to move fast to deliver on their expectations. If you are not agile and fast you will find your competition will eventually take your customers. With automation you can start to automate your prospect and customer journeys. e.g. A new customer is ready to go, so you can’t hang about, so you could automate their onboarding process or service deliver process and that way things move fast, efficiently and they receive a great customer experience. You can also use automation to focus on cross-sell and upsell opportunities. You can use customer service CRM-connected chatbots to automate some of these repeatable and routine issues or to collect and qualify information. These are just a few examples of how you can drive more efficiency, speed and raise your customer standards through automation.
Provide Customer Self-Service Capabilities
We have all experienced the situation when we have an issue and we want help now! Many of us will go to our supplier website, see if there is a livechat, chatbot, or appropriate website pages or maybe FAQs or a knowledge base or means of contacting a support agent. Over 80% of customers attempt self-service before contacting a company for help (according to Harvard Business Review). More companies are realising the benefits of self-service and providing capability to their customers to manage their own account and elements of service. Again having the right technology at the heart of your organisation can ensure you connect up the different pieces and don’t lose sight of your customer touchpoints, journeys and how you can keep delivering superior customer standards.
Empower Your Team To Serve Your Customers
Whether your staff are office, home or field based, it’s vital that you provide the customer insight available for them to ensure they can drive and improve the customer standards you have set for the business. Engaged and empowered staff are the cornerstone of top service teams. The bottom line is they require the right training, right tools, and decision-making power to act quick and resolve customer issues. This will not only increase customer satisfaction but it will increase staff satisfaction, loyalty and retention – a double whammy!
Customer service standards are rising all the time for your customers. In order to keep pace with your competitors, and deliver on customer expectations, you need to review your current standards and see where you can raise your game. When you can consistently get it right time and again, customers will notice and reward you with lasting loyalty and referrals.
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