5 Keys to Consistent Customer Service

John Krautzel
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These days, good customer service isn't enough to keep customers loyal and coming back. Today's customer expects consistency from all aspects of a company's customer service practices. There are five keys that are essential to helping you and your customer service team meet these expectations.

1. Define Your Vision

What type of customer service do you want to provide to your customers? When people think of your company, what kinds of thoughts should come to mind? Develop a comprehensive customer service vision statement that answers these questions. For example, your vision statement can be "to consistently go above and beyond to provide an exceptional experience customers won't forget." Make this statement the standard by which your company operates. Post your vision statement everywhere, including on a wall near the entrance, in company elevators, below email signatures and at the top of every printed meeting agenda.

2. Give Authority

A great customer service vision statement is pointless if your agents aren't equipped to enforce it. Give them the authority to fulfill customer expectations by establishing a complete set of parameters within which to operate. Allow agents to provide customers with refunds, discounts, credits or extensions within a reasonable standard that upper management determines. This way, an agent has the authority to satisfy a customer's needs and won't have to pass customers off to a supervisor or pause a conversation to get permission.

3. Recruit

Once your vision is defined and you've put together a clear and comprehensive set of parameters, it's time to hire people who will bring your vision to life. Select representatives who have a natural passion for providing top-quality customer service and are willing to go the extra mile, within reason. These are the types of people that thrive when given the power to improvise in order to make a customer happy; the parameters are there to provide balance.

4. Train

Training is an essential component of any good customer service program. Your agents should be well-versed in all aspects of your company's vision and the expectations you have for them. Using several different customer scenarios as examples is a good way to help your agents practice providing stellar service under pressure.

5. Reinforce

Customer service training isn't a one-time event. Agents need continued reinforcement to refresh their knowledge, increase motivation and strengthen their confidence. Monitor customer-agent interactions, and provide regular feedback so your agents know the areas in which they need to improve. On the customer side, providing surveys and welcoming feedback is a great way to gather valuable information from the customer's point of view. Use this information to update and improve your program.

These five keys help establish a consistent experience for your customers. Develop a clear customer service vision, and give your agents the authority to bring it to fruition within parameters you establish. Hire passionate customer service reps, and provide ongoing training and reinforcement to keep the system flowing like a well-oiled machine.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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