4 Tips to Raise Customer Service Standards Image: Racool_studio Aside from a killer product, efficient supply chain, and top-tier marketing, customer service is one aspect that can either make or break your business. Customer service is also one of the trickiest business processes to maintain standards in. Even a long-time loyal and satisfied customer can be disappointed by one slip-up. If you’re looking for how to raise and maintain customer service standards, read on! 1.Plan the customer journey Great customer service doesn’t happen spontaneously. Like most things in your business, it should be planned. Imagine what you would like your customers’ journey to be. You should have a plan in place for each of your distribution channels. Plan how the experience when a customer buys a product in-store. On the same note, map out the ideal customer experience when they purchase a product from your website. Image: UX Indonesia Your customer service training should centre around understanding the customer journey. With the customer journey at the core, your team will better know what they should provide at every stage of the journey. When service standards aren’t met, team members will be able to spot it more efficiently and rectify it accordingly. It is also important to note that your team should have foundational customer service skills. For example, restating the problem and acknowledging the customers’ feelings. Along with that, clear expectations should be set on how a support issue should be resolved, documented, and learned from. 2. Speedy response and resolution Timing is everything. We don’t want to reply to a customer’s email 3 weeks after it has been sent and leave the impression that we ignore customers’ questions. If we look at leading e-commerce sites such as Amazon or even Shopee, speed is a priority that they constantly improve on and try to stay consistent with. Image: rawpixel.com Response and resolution time also serves as an essential measurable customer service standard. Time standards are also highly relevant to small businesses as well. Prioritising inquiries and delivering promised customer satisfaction can also serve as a marketing tool. Take note of both these time standards: first reply time (also known as “initial response time”) and problem resolution time. Keep in mind that the response time standard can vary depending on the channels of communication. Avoid responding to live chat more than one hour after an inquiry has been made. Customer Service Softwares can also automatically track timings for a first response. Along with that, designate a maximum response time to adhere to. 3. Raise accuracy and transparency standards A customer service team member may sometimes answer a customer’s question without being a hundred percent sure of it for the sake of delivering a timely response. In this case, let your team know that is acceptable to not be sure of a certain things, and that they should answer with “Let me check and find out for you”. Doing this increases the accuracy of your customer service responses and shows that your team is transparent. Being transparent will help you save yourselves from backtracking, as well from the embarrassment. Image: DCStudio Providing estimated wait times and communicating estimated resolution times also help defuse customers’ anxiety and uncertainty. Therefore, providing timelines should also be a standard practice in the company. 4. Know when to be flexible There comes certain situations where bending the rules is almost necessary to help the customer have a decent experience with your business. If a long-time customer is dissatisfied with a situation, take into consideration offering a discount or fast-tracking an issue. In cases like these, you may want to over-compensate your customer to avoid potentially losing a high-value one. Image: freepik With that said, giving out discounts like free candy will sabotage your profits. Be selective and wise when choosing when to give out special favours. The key is maintain a sustainable business while still going above and beyond for your customers. To do this, you can add some guardrails by allotting a certain number of “rule bends” a week, or require that these special measures are approved by a manager. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “What makes great customer service?”, but combining these strategies help your team raise the bottom line. No matter what method you choose, the metrics you track, or how you keep your team motivated, your want nothing but the best for your company. With over 25 years in the sales industry, SalesWorks has solutions to handle any situation when it comes to customer service. Contact us today to learn more.