Customer Service

6 steps for creating a customer service strategy

Titilola Shittu
May 27, 2024

No business can survive without customers, yet many companies treat excellent customer service as an afterthought.

Take a moment to remember the last time you had a truly exceptional customer service experience. The employee went above and beyond, making you feel valued and meeting your needs with a genuine smile. 

Compare that with a negative experience where you were met with apathy, confusion, or outright incompetence from the same customer care and service team. There’s a difference, right?

In this post, you can use six steps to create a good customer service strategy to transform your customer service into a key competitive advantage in business operations.

The importance of an effective customer service strategy. 

An effective strategy is crucial for any business looking to thrive. It's a roadmap that outlines how your company will interact with customers, address their needs, and ultimately create a positive experience. 

Happy customers are more likely to stick around. Providing prompt and helpful service can ensure customers feel valued and keep them returning for more.

When customers consistently have positive experiences, they're more likely to become brand advocates, recommending your business to others.

Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful. A well-defined customer service strategy can turn every interaction into a potential brand booster, creating a positive image in the marketplace. Loyal customers spend more. It's cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. 

An effective customer service strategy can help you keep your customer base happy, reducing the need for constant, customer retention and acquisition efforts.

How to create an effective customer service strategy.

Understand your customers first.

Creating a customer list that you understand is the bedrock of an effective customer service strategy. Like building a house, you need a solid foundation before building anything.

Understand your customers first.

When you know your customers' pain points, you can proactively address potential customer issues even before they arise. This reduces frustration and keeps things smooth.

Not everyone enjoys phone calls or emails. Knowing your customers' preferred communication channels allows you to connect with them in a way they find convenient and comfortable.

There are several ways to gather valuable customer insights, such as surveys, social media listening and focus groups.

When you implement these methods, you'll gain a rich understanding of your customer base and expectations, allowing you to craft a customer service strategy that truly resonates with their needs and creates a foundation for long-term success.

Map the enitre customer journey.

It's a visual representation of all the touchpoints – moments of interaction – a customer has with your brand, from initial awareness to post-purchase experience.

A customer journey map helps you identify every touchpoint, from browsing your website to interacting with social media or calling customer service. This comprehensive view ensures no gaps exist in your customer service vision or strategy.

You can pinpoint potential pain points – moments of frustration or difficulty – customers might encounter. Maybe your website checkout process is confusing, or your phone wait times are excessive.

Identifying these areas allows you to address them and improve the customer loyalty experience.

The customer journey map doesn't just reveal problems; and it also highlights opportunities. Perhaps there are sections of the journey where you can add value with additional resources or proactive customer and support teams.

Imagine a customer trying to return an item. The map might reveal they struggle to find the return policy online (pain point) but enjoy the ease of the online return form (positive touchpoint).

This helps you focus on making the return policy more accessible to find while maintaining the smooth online form process.

Make your service channels easily accessible.

Defining your own customer service channels and standards is crucial for crafting a great customer service strategy that meets your customers' needs and sets your team up for success.

Customers today expect multiple channels and avenues for support.

Identify the channels your customers prefer – phone, email, live chat, social media – and ensure you have a presence on those platforms.

Make your service channels easily accessible.

The key is to provide options for support agents that are convenient for your customers. Some prefer a quick chat conversation, while others value a detailed email response or phone support.

Offering support agents a variety of channels ensures everyone can get the help they need in their preferred format.

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are defined benchmarks for your customer service team. They typically outline response times (how long it takes to acknowledge an inquiry) and resolution rates (the percentage of customer service issues resolved within a set timeframe).

SLAs should be ambitious but achievable. They set clear expectations for your customers and your customer service team members.

Defining your service channels and setting clear SLAs ensures your customers know how to reach you and what level of service to expect. This builds trust and transparency, creating a more positive and consistent customer experience.

Empower your customer service teams.

An effective customer service strategy's heart is empowering your customer service team. Like a well-oiled machine, your team needs the tools and support to function at its best.

Investing in employee training and development will equip your reps with the knowledge and skills they need to excel. It includes in-depth product knowledge, effective communication techniques, and strong problem-solving abilities. 

A good company culture prioritizes customer satisfaction. This means instilling in your reps the value of customer happiness and going the extra mile to meet customer needs.

When customer happiness, loyalty and satisfaction are core values, reps are motivated to deliver exceptional service.

Micromanaging customer service interactions can stifle initiative and prevent efficient problem-solving. Empower your customer service reps to make decisions within defined guidelines.

Trust them to use their knowledge and judgement to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively.

It creates a sense of ownership and accountability for customer service issues, leading to more engaged and productive employees.

Imagine a customer service rep encountering a unique situation. With proper training and the authority to make decisions, they can craft a solution that meets the customer's needs without needing constant managerial approval.

This empowers the rep, creates a better customer service experience, and keeps things moving smoothly.

Leverage technology for customer service efficiency.

Technological solutions can streamline processes, empower customers and service reps, and boost efficiency.

Some key areas where technology can significantly impact include live chat software, self-service portals, and knowledge base tools.

Technology empowers customers by giving them control over their experience. They can find answers on their own time or connect with a rep for real-time assistance, whichever they prefer. You can choose from many types of customer service platforms available in the market.

Combining or integrating these customer service tools with your other sales tools is best to streamline operations.

It also frees up your customer service teams from handling routine customer inquiries and dealing directly with more customers.

Live chat allows them to manage multiple conversations simultaneously. This will enable your support teams and reps to focus on complex issues and provide more personalized support to customers who genuinely need it.

Leverage technology for customer service efficiency.

Imagine a customer with a simple question about using a product feature. A self-service portal with a clear knowledge base article empowers them to find the answer quickly.

It frees a customer service rep to assist a customer with a more intricate issue requiring personalized attention. Technology creates a win-win situation for both sides.

Measure, analyze, and adapt findings to your strategy.

Continuous measurement, analysis, and adaptation are the final steps in creating a customer support strategy. Just like fine-tuning a machine, you need to track your strategy's performance and adjust to optimize results. 

Track key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect the effectiveness of your customer service strategy. This might include customer retention rate, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), resolution rates, response times, and first contact resolution rates.

Regularly monitoring these KPIs allows you to measure customer satisfaction and identify areas that work well and need improvement.

6. Measure, analyze, and adapt findings to your strategy.

Don't underestimate the power of soliciting feedback. Collect feedback from dissatisfied customers through surveys, social media monitoring, phone support and direct customer conversations.

This valuable insight reveals their perceptions and identifies pain points that may not be readily apparent through KPIs alone.

Combining KPI data with your customer surveys and feedback gives you a comprehensive view of customer service performance. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and adapt your strategy accordingly.

This might involve adding new customer service teams or channels, revising training programs, or adjusting SLAs to better meet customer expectations and needs.

Imagine your data shows a decline in customer satisfaction scores. By using relevant data and delving deeper into customer feedback, you discover long wait times are causing frustration.

This data analysis allows you to adapt your strategy by adding more live chat agents to reduce wait times and improve your customer satisfaction score. Continuously measuring, analyzing, and adapting your customer support strategy ensures it remains relevant and practical.

Crafting an exceptional customer service strategy is a continual process, not a one-time fix.

The key is continuously improving and adapting as you learn more about your customers. A successful customer service strategy encourages long-term customer success too.

You can create a winning customer service strategy that fosters long-term success by continuously refining your approach based on customer experiences and insights.

Titilola Shittu

Content Writer
Titilola enjoys writing content that resonates with a target audience. With an interest in product marketing, she understands the importance of using data to provide actionable insights that help with informed decisions. You can find her listening to music or reading African literature when she's not doing anything marketing-related.

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