The best customer service creates a customer experience that is consistently attentive and positive. Even an occasional long wait or unresponsive staff member is enough to keep customers from returning. Create better customer service by following these steps to ensure a great customer experience every time.
Know Your Mission
Start down the road to consistency by drafting a mission statement that includes your customer service vision. Clearly state what good customer service looks like and how you aspire to achieve it. Keep the language simple, and elicit input from your customers and customer service personnel. After drafting the statement, make sure that everyone knows and understands it. Post copies where employees will see them. Send the statement as a tag line at the end of emails. A great mission statement helps employees prioritize and make decisions to improve customer experience.
Train and Retrain
Train your customer service reps well, and retrain as necessary. Regular refresher courses on creating a quality customer experience help keep service from sliding. One-on-one mentoring for employees with problems goes a long way toward turning each team member into a customer service pro.
Make sure all customer service representatives have access to and know how to use the resources they need to provide a consistent customer experience. Have supervising or consulting personnel available to answer questions. Encourage reps to ask about anything when they have doubts. Providing inaccurate information to customers is never acceptable.
Implement a system that makes it easy for customers to provide feedback, and regularly review feedback to assess the quality and consistency of your customer service. Possible systems include Web forms, surveys and a clearly posted toll-free number dedicated to collecting feedback. Although positive feedback is always fun to receive, focus on the negative feedback. Analyze every comment with an eye toward improvement. For every person who comments on a negative customer experience, there are likely to be several more dissatisfied customers who did not take the time to tell you.
Aim for Continuous Improvement
All the feedback in the world will not improve the consistency of your customer service unless you implement changes. Retrain, and coach staff members who provide inconsistent service. Analyze every issue, and create a plan to prevent issues from happening again. Treat each piece of feedback as a gift, and use it to improve the customer experience across the board.
Provide better customer service by creating a clear service vision and training your staff well to consistently work towards that ideal. Give reps access to resources, and encourage questions when necessary. Fine tune your customer service approach by regularly soliciting feedback and using that feedback to make improvement. The reward for your effort is a consistent customer experience that builds brand loyalty.
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