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Customer Service Strategy

Today’s customers want nothing short of the best, and if you fail to meet their expectations, a high percentage will be unwilling to do business with you again. Therefore, having an effective customer service strategy in place is crucial.

But there’s more to having a customer service strategy than just creating one. You also have to constantly work at maintaining and improving the customer experience. 

A customer service strategy will help you stay ahead of the competition, retain loyal customers, and increase levels of repeat business. 

First, let’s explain what a customer service strategy is before sharing some tips on developing a customer service strategy plan for your business.

What Is a Customer Service Strategy?

A customer service strategy is a carefully thought out plan on how your business will handle customer interactions and provide customer service. It means you can offer a consistent customer experience throughout the customer journey.

If you can improve the customer experience, it will lead to a more loyal customer base. Loyal customers tend to buy more often and refer friends and family. They are also more likely to leave positive customer reviews. 

If you want to know how to make this happen, we’ve broken the process down into seven steps.

How to Build a Customer Service Strategy in 7 Steps?

Before we look at the steps, let’s remind you that the focus of your customer strategy is the happiness of your customers. This applies to everyone across the company, not just the people working on the frontline. Engineers, product designers, and operations all have a part to play in implementing a customer service strategy

These are the seven main steps to develop a customer service strategy:

  1. Identify customer touchpoints
  2. Set goals for customer service
  3. Identify customer service KPIs
  4. Hire the right people
  5. Use the right tools
  6. Gather feedback
  7. Reevaluate your process frequently

#1 Identify customer touchpoints

The first step is to identify and then analyze all your customer interactions. An easy way to do this is by answering a few simple questions:

  • After a customer has made a purchase, how long is it before they contact you?
  • How frequently do your customers contact you?
  • Are there any particular channels that your customers prefer to use?
  • Why do your customers contact you or what do they request?
  • Do customers who stop buying from you make contact more or less than those that don’t?
  • Do you measure customer engagement, and if so, how do you do it?

Map out and visualize the answers to these questions and it will show you the entire customer journey and pinpoint the customer touchpoints.

One relevant customer service strategy example would be to create a company-wide vision that puts the customer first.

#2 Set goals for customer service

The goals for your customer service team should be:

  • Specific: Each goal should focus on only one area and be specific rather than vague
  • Measurable: You should be able to measure the goals
  • Achievable: Goals should be challenging but at the same time attainable with work and targeted effort
  • Relevant: Customer service goals should correlate directly with your business objectives
  • Time-bound: always set a timeframe for achieving the goals

Some achievable customer service goals might be to improve customer retention, customer satisfaction, and lifetime value. 

At first glance, these might seem like big-picture goals. However, when you break them down and define them with numbers and deadlines, they become SMART goals.

Here are a couple of customer service strategy examples you might want to consider:

  • Improving the Net Promoter Score by 5% by the end of the year
  • Average handling time for resolving customer issues should be reduced from X minutes to Y minutes by the end of August 2022. 

#3 Identify customer service KPIs

One way of checking how well your customer service is doing is with KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. KPIs also help you turn your goals into action plans.

There is a range of customer service KPIs you might use, for example:

  • CSAT, or customer satisfaction score, which is a measure of overall customer happiness
  • NPS, or net promoter score, which measures the power of your referrals
  • First contact resolution and first response times
  • Average resolution times
  • Resolved and active issues
  • Number of issues
  • Customer retention rate

One customer service strategy example you might want to use would be improving the average resolution time. However, at the same time, you should also make sure that the reduction in resolution time doesn’t lead to your customer service teams handling the issues poorly.

#4 Hire the right people

Now you’ve determined your customer service goals and identified your KPIs, it’s time to make sure you’ve got the right people working on them. For a team to be successful, it has to include people driven by the goals. They should also be customer care champions.

A customer care champion is someone who’s committed to providing the highest customer service standards.

But what should you look for when you’re building your customer service team? Here are some of the key traits to look for:

  • Positive attitude: Friendliness, enthusiasm, and focus on teamwork
  • Motivation: Are they driven by more than money and status?
  • Self-awareness: Can they recognize their moods, judgment, and impulses? Are they aware of their impact on others?
  • Social skills and empathy: They should genuinely care about others, read social cues, and be able to identify concerns and needs. 
  • Adaptability: How willing are they to learn new technologies and processes?

If you can find people with these traits, they will enrich your team and match your company culture. Make a list of the skills you’re looking for concerning each of your customer support team roles. Decide which skills are more critical, and make sure you include both soft and hard skills. 

#5 Use the right tools

Customer service representatives have to be able to think on their feet and at the same time coordinate multiple conversations and channels. 

Luckily, there are a wealth of cutting-edge tools and technologies your customer service agents can use.

Consumers want to feel you are listening to them, understanding what they need, and taking care of them every time they contact your company. Unfortunately, there’s very little room for mistakes, as almost 75% of consumers think that having to explain a problem several times is poor customer service. 

#6 Gather feedback

With this step and the one that follows, you’ll be taking your customer service strategy up another level. You’ll be providing a service that exceeds their expectations and makes your business stand out from the crowd.

You’ve launched your customer service strategy, but that’s not the end of the story if you want to provide the best possible service for your customers. You have two options. One is to do nothing at all. However, the second option is to gather feedback so you can keep improving the way you serve your customers.

There are two information sources you should focus on: 

  • Feedback your customers give to your customer service reps: You can use surveys, polls, social media, focus groups, and conversations that customers have with your support teams. In addition, you can use any feedback to improve products, positioning, features, and business conversations. 
  • Feedback from your customer service reps: Encourage them to share their experiences servicing your customers. It will help you identify opportunities for hiring and training programs.

#7 Re-evaluate your process frequently

Your customer service strategy is not something that is set in stone. Instead, it is something you should be re-evaluating regularly. Customers increasingly use the customer experience to differentiate between brands, and they make their judgments based on how satisfying each interaction is.

There are signs you can look out for that will indicate that your customer service strategy needs a refresh. 

Consider exploring the following avenues:

Customer Churn Rate

If your churn rate is rising and your customer base is dwindling, it might be time to rethink your service strategy.

Negative Customer Feedback

Customers don’t rush back to brands when they’ve had a poor experience. People are also more likely to leave reviews after a negative experience. Negative feedback can take a toll on your customer acquisition, so regularly check out third-party and social media feedback. If you’re receiving a lot of negative feedback, it’s definitely time for a new approach.

Customer Satisfaction Metrics

You can measure customer satisfaction in many ways, for example:

  • One-to-one chats with clients
  • Post-purchase surveys
  • Net Promoter Scores
  • Brand-related conversations on social media

If you actively monitor and survey customer satisfaction, you’ll learn when your strategy needs a shakeup. 

Employee Feedback

Frontline reps are a valuable source of information. They understand your company’s day-to-day operations, making them a valuable resource. 

Industry Trends

It might not be your business that’s doing something wrong. After all, customers’ needs do change over time. Just because something worked in the past, it doesn’t mean it will continue to work in the future. 

You may, for example, need to shift your strategy to take account of broader trends that are occurring in your marketplace. Being able to predict the next big industry trend means you’ll be able to adopt a strategy that puts you ahead.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got a well-defined customer service strategy in place, you’ll be able to propel your business towards future success. It will also help cultivate more satisfied customers, improve long-term customer relationships, and lead to more profit for your business.

We’ve answered the question “What is customer service strategy?” and given you some customer service strategy examples. But don’t forget to keep tracking, measuring, and optimising your strategy because this will ensure you continue to do what’s best for your customers.

Next, see how you can build a call center culture for effective results!

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