What is a customer service strategy and how to create one?
Comprehensive customer service is the backbone of any business. Beyond offering a great product or service, it's crucial to provide effective post-purchase customer service. It is a pivotal factor that can make or break your brand reputation. When your goal is to provide an exceptional customer service experience, you need a well-defined customer service strategy.
Exceptional customer service not only meets but exceeds customer expectations, building a long-lasting relationship with your customers. But you need an effective customer service strategy that will lead to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and, ultimately, business growth.
In this blog, we will dig deep into customer service strategy, covering its definition, significance, the steps involved in creating one, and the benefits it brings.
Whether you are a SaaS business owner aiming to provide reliable resolutions to customer queries or a customer service provider who’s looking forward to improving the customer experience, this blog is for you.
Let's start by comprehending the significance of a customer service strategy.
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What is a customer service strategy?
A customer service strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how your company can deliver exceptional service to your valuable customers. Basically, it is a roadmap and a guideline to define goals, methods, and practices to address customer queries, manage customer interactions, and provide them with a quick resolution.
What is the importance of customer service strategy?
Now that we know the meaning of customer service strategy, let’s understand its importance in a business landscape:
- Enhances customer satisfaction
The motive behind any customer service strategy is to boost customer satisfaction. When customers receive timely and reliable service, they tend to be happier. Eventually, this will lead to a stronger bond with your business and a long-term customer relationship.
- Builds customer loyalty
Customer satisfaction fosters customer loyalty, a significant component impacting a business’s success. Loyal customers establish a steady flow of repeat business, reducing the need for customer acquisition.
In a recent report by Microsoft, 96% of people said customer service is an important factor when deciding their loyalty to a brand. When served appropriately, customers engage in word-of-mouth publicity, bringing more business for you.
- Differentiates your brand
In this competitive marketplace, exceptional customer service can set your brand apart. The absence of it can be a significant reason for the downfall of many businesses. Customer service could be your USP (Unique Selling Point), retaining existing customers and attracting new customers.
- Reduces churn
Churn is a term indicating the rate at which customers leave a business. When neglected, it can cost you a lot. With a well-structured and executed strategy, you can reduce churn by addressing customer complaints, providing faster solutions, and creating a positive impression. In a recent Microsoft report, 96% of people said customer service is an important factor when deciding their loyalty to a brand.
- Increases revenue
The happier the customer, the more the business. This simple equation works as an important factor in increasing your business’s revenue. Happy and satisfied customers are more inclined to make repeat purchases and explore other services offered by you. Ultimately benefiting your business with increased sales and revenue.
How to create an effective customer service strategy?
Creating a customer service strategy is the stepping stone towards establishing a successful business. To guide you on this essential journey, we'll walk you through the steps to forge an effective customer service strategy for your business:
Step 1: Understand your customers and then define your goals accordingly
To build a strategy that aligns with your customers, you need to understand them better. To do so, carry out research, surveys, and data analysis that draw insights into their expectations. Try to study their pain points and needs to reach the bottom of their issues. Creating these detailed customer personas will help your customer service teams visualize an approach to interacting with your target audiences.
Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can define your customer service goals with precision. Figure out the modes of communication, establish levels of support, and tailor your messaging style. Make sure the strategy resonates with both the specific requirements of your customers and the objectives of your organization. Understanding your customers will help you create a strategy that is not only customer-centric but also strategic and goal-oriented.
Step 2: Discover your customer journey
The customer journey is the path a customer takes, starting from their initial brand awareness, all the way to post-purchase support. Every customer has a specific style of purchasing products or signing up for services. By understanding this, you can discover potential pain points or find opportunities to provide exceptional service.
Understanding the customer journey is necessary to provide consistent and reliable customer support, establishing a positive brand impression. Guide your customer service agents to tailor their approach considering the customer journey to provide a seamless customer service experience.
Step 3: Adopt a customer-centric approach
A great customer service strategy revolves around customers and their needs and preferences. This customer-centric approach involves adopting customer-first thinking across your organization. Prioritizing customers, addressing their issues, reducing response times, and understanding customer needs all lead to the betterment of customer satisfaction levels.
Being valued, heard, and prioritized is what a customer expects when they reach out to your customer service team. Listening actively and taking ownership of customer problems can solve some of their issues with the least effort. So, prepare them to create an environment that fosters enhanced customer experience.
Step 4: Hire and train a team
Creating a satisfactory customer service strategy starts by hiring candidates with the right skills, temperament, and empathy to handle customer interactions. Your customer service team plays a pivotal role in shaping your brand’s customer experience, so make sure you select the right people for the job.
Should you hire experienced agents, they will need the training to mold themselves with the brand’s identity and objectives. Doing so will enable them to handle a large number of interactions hassle-free. Training should include theory and practical knowledge of every stage, from first contact to problem resolution.
Step 5: Define goals for your team
It is important to set specific goals for your customer service team that align with your company’s objectives and customer service strategy. These goals should be specific, realistic, and tied to key performance indicators (KPIs). Whether it is about reducing response time, resolving customer tickets, or making advancements in the customer service process, clear goals provide your team with direction.
Additionally, defined goals help you track your agents’ progress, identify improvement areas, and make data-driven decisions. In a nutshell, the practice of defining goals over a period of time will help your team stay focused and improve your customer satisfaction score.
Step 6: Maintain consistent communication
Bringing consistency to your communication methods is an important part of a customer service strategy. It involves creating clear guidelines for your team on how to communicate with customers. The guidelines comprise tone, language, and response time across all communication channels, be it email, chat, social media, or phone.
Having consistency helps you establish a brand identity and create lasting customer relationships. Ensure your communication aligns with your brand’s values.
Step 7: Gather and act on feedback
To improve your customer service operations, be open to constructive feedback from your customers as well as your agents. Always seek out suggestions to get valuable insights that help you improve your customer service strategy.
Always consider positive and negative comments and promptly address both. Also, hearing the feedback from the agent's perspective is necessary for refining internal processes and communication. This approach can identify loopholes or areas that need improvement, ultimately enhancing your team's performance.
Step 8: Measure the KPIs of your team
To check whether your customer service strategy is effective or not, measure “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs). This includes customer satisfaction scores, Net Promoter scores (NPS), response times, and resolution rates.
Measuring such metrics gives insights into how well your customer service teams are meeting customer expectations against your implemented strategy. Tracking these KPIs allows you to identify areas of improvement and make informed decisions. Additionally, you have the option to compare agent performance over time, allowing you to stay updated on their progress.
Step 9: Stay updated with evolving technologies
The customer service industry is constantly upgrading technologically. Staying updated with these technologies helps maintain the efficiency of your customer service strategy. New tools and platforms have been developed that automate routine tasks, streamline customer interaction, and save time.
Now, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping the customer service space by automating usual tasks typically performed by agents. Specifically, GPT-like chatbots have taken over the traditional chat assistance that interacts with customers directly. Powerful chatbots like DevRev’s Turing bot can be trained and customized by ingesting data from various knowledge bases.
Exploring new tools and adopting them not only keeps you competitive but also ensures your strategy remains relevant and impactful.
What are the key benefits of a customer service strategy?
A well-crafted customer service strategy brings many advantages to the desk. They affect your business’s performance positively. Here’s a look at some of main benefits:
1. Effective issue resolution
A customer service strategy helps you resolve their issues and complaints promptly. This turns customers’ negative experiences into opportunities, resulting in positive outcomes. Whether it’s about solving problems, addressing inquiries, or providing support, customer service strategies empower your team to deliver timely and reliable assistance.
2. Enhanced customer satisfaction and lasting loyalty
Faster and effective issue resolutions foster customer satisfaction. When your customers receive on-time and consistent customer support, their expectations are exceeded, leaving a positive impression about your team and the support provided. Satisfied customers tend to remain loyal and also recommend your brand to others.
3. Reduced churn and increased retention
In this competitive business landscape, a low customer retention rate and churn can cost you substantially. Having an effective customer strategy yields loyal customers, and loyal customers stick to the brand, reducing churn and improving retention rates. This contributes to a stable customer base and long-term growth.
4. Increased revenue
Exceptional customer service is the key component driving revenue to your business. An effective customer strategy directly impacts your organization’s bottom line. Satisfied and happy customers become loyal, leading to repeat business and a direct boost in revenue. Over time, they tend to increase their spending per transaction as well. So, having a customer strategy strengthens your company’s financial health.
To maintain a competitive edge, it is crucial to adopt a customer-centric approach in your business, and this is where a well-defined customer service strategy comes into play. It is not merely a set of guidelines but a roadmap to customer service excellence. Through detailed planning and perfect implementation, you can create a customer service strategy that opens doors for exceptional experiences and long-term customer relationships.
Every part of the strategy equally contributes towards the betterment of your customer service operations. Implementation of AI and automation in your day-to-day tasks will significantly enhance your efficiency. Be it employing AI-enabled CRM software like DevRev or utilizing chatbots that interact with customers in real time, these advancements can elevate the overall quality of customer service. Remember, the more efforts you invest in your customer service, the more your organization propels.