Customers are the life support to a business. They bring the sales model to fruition. Their satisfaction is at the forefront as marketers strive to create a marketing strategy to build brand loyalty.
The customer experience is a revolving door between good and bad experiences. Businesses strive for all customers to be satisfied. Satisfaction leads to repeat sales, influential reviews, and more.
Building an actionable customer service plan should be on all businesses’ to-do lists. You can have a top-rated customer service team or introduce guiding principles that drive excellent results by adopting a customer service philosophy.
Customer Service Philosophy - What Is It?
Don’t get ahead of the game just yet and start creating rules, goals, and guidelines. Let’s talk about customer service philosophy and how you can apply it to your business to attract new customers and keep others coming back for more.
Customer Service Philosophy Defined
According to dictionary.com, the term “philosophy” means
“The rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”
Customer service is defined as,
“The assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.”
Now let’s break these definitions down further and combine the terms.
Providing customer service requires employee loyalty, troubleshooting, and attention to detail. It also requires a defined process built from the heart of the business.
Some departments act as they are trained, and then some truly live behind its goals and mission, promoting its vision.
This is the customer service philosophy, and it comes in handy, especially when situations are unpredictable.
Is a Customer Service Philosophy Required?
There are no legal requirements for a customer service philosophy, but it is highly recommended.
Did you know that 58% of customers with a bad experience are likely to stomp on loyalty and move elsewhere? That’s a high percentage and a risk business owners should try to avoid at all costs.
Another fun fact is that 55% of customers expect companies to exceed expectations year over year. That means, if you are already providing excellent customer service in year one, customers anticipate even better customer service in year two.
So how about it? Ready to learn more about building your customer service philosophy? It’s not difficult at all, especially if you already have a mission statement outlining your business purpose, vision, and values.
Building Purpose, Vision, and Values
The key values of customer service philosophy include the following:
- Purpose - define what the company does, who it serves
- Vision - include the steps to completion, how the company completes its purpose
- Values - provide the reason as to why you are in business
Keep these values in mind when preparing to write your customer service philosophy.
Tips For A Successful Customer Service Philosophy
Ready to write a plan and get a customer service strategy set in stone? Fantastic! Time to get started.
When crafting your model, write it in this order. Keep it clear, concise, and distinct. It may even mirror your vision or mission statement. The difference?
It dictates the expectations of employees; how they can support the company when face-to-face or on the screen with a customer.
Here’s an example from QuaGrowth:
The customer service philosophy here at QuaGrowth is simple. “Our philosophy is building a customer-centric approach to send personalized emails at scale. (Is that another buzzword? I hope not!).”
Key Values To Include
The key values are a great start to build your statement off of. These values are also referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs), as they are measurable and can influence a company’s targets or goals.
Additional principles to become familiar with and incorporate include the following:
- Focus on your company values. Tie them into your statement, don’t go astray.
- Who are your customers? Identify them and keep them as the focal point.
- Are there actionable steps to follow? If so, include them. Tell your customers what your intentions are by using strong verbs such as approach, listen, present, end, etc.
- Involve all of your stakeholders. Each is important to your business’ success and can provide insightful ideas. The inclusion of team members also boosts the success rate of implementing the statement across the company.
- Have the company sign off on the policy. Train employees and get their buy-off. They are the ones interacting with the customers and driving the experience.
- Lead by example. The leadership team is held to the same policies as the employees. Show them from the top that you are vested and live by the customer service philosophy set in place.
- Once it’s written, don’t walk away. Revisit it often. As times change and business practices change, your statement may need to be refreshed.
Choose a Model: Issue Centric or Customer-Centric
Not sure of the difference? Let’s dive deeper.
An issue-centric model focuses on the issues customers bring to your team's attention. These are solved on a case-by-case basis, forming the roots of the issue or problem.
A customer-centric model focuses on the needs of the customer. This approach incorporates the issue-centric model and adds a layer: tracking and logs, allowing historical data to be referenced at a later point.
Customer loyalty is subject to increase with this model due to the inclusion of the customer. Either approach is acceptable, so choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Place Customers First - Create Their Journey
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, be the customer. What would your expectations be? Think about how you should roll out communication. For example, will email be the primary source of announcing product releases or special events? What types of services will be available to customers, and what hours of the day?
Customers prefer a business that is available to listen to their needs and respond quickly. So what do your customers long for? Here are a couple of examples of tools you can pull out of your back pocket and equip on your website for a successful customer journey:
- Live chat tools. You’re familiar with the little bubble on the bottom of the screen that asks if you need assistance, right? This chat box allows your employees to engage with your audience when initiated. Even after hours, you can incorporate AI to answer common questions.
- Self-service portal. List out those Q&A’s for customers to obtain the information they are looking for themselves. Include a login page to view prior order activity, track an order, or check their reward dollars.
What is the voice of your company? Your voice stems from the values and the brand image. Do you want customers to take you seriously, or is there some comedic relief in presenting information?
Experiment with the tone and voice of the company. Then build in the visual appeal. But stay consistent with the image. Your image creates trust and familiarity, distinguishing your brand from the rest.
Your employees and customer service team need to be well-equipped. Feed them the knowledge, training them on the values and goals of the plan. Also, supply them with the power to serve the customers, offering continued education or professional development to boost their skills.
Customer service isn’t written in a playbook. We wish it were!
Since each customer is unique, so are the issues, concerns, etc., they bring to the table. Some are solved on a whim; others take more time to troubleshoot. Allowing employees to think for themselves versus following a strict process is limitless. It is also a way to build trust and loyalty with the employees.
Announcing Your Plan and Putting It Into Action
Congratulations on building your company’s persona through your customer service philosophy. Next, it’s time to communicate it and place it in action.
Communicating Your Customer Service Philosophy
Now, it’s time to broadcast it to the world and put it to action. Here are a couple of inexpensive ways to announce your customer service philosophy to the public.
Advertising and Email Marketing
Promote it through your advertisements. Tell your vision to your customers through promotional emails. Your vision is just one way to leave an imprint with your current customers or attract new ones, telling them the story behind your company and communicating what they should expect from a level of service.
Add your philosophy to an eCommerce website. It’s a quick reference that you can easily update should it be in the future. It’s also readily available to customers.
Ready, Set, Go!
Putting your vision into play is the fun part. Don’t just let the floodgates open, though; keep to a strategy.
Build into your strategy how you propose to complete the following:
- Bring your customer service philosophy to life
- Point out the value customer service has on the strength and growth of the business
- Determine customer service goals
- Estimate the cost impact to provide customer service
- Employ talent meeting the customer service goals and criteria
- Train and empower current or future talent
- Incentivize employees and hold them accountable
- Review and update the customer service philosophy as the company grows
Ready to rock and roll? Turn the switch on, sit back, and watch as your customer service philosophy launches across the company.
Encourage feedback from both your peers and customers. Honest feedback is powerful, giving you beneficial information on improving your customer service or what you are doing exceptionally well.
The Effects of a Strong Customer Service Philosophy
Good news travels fast; bad news tends to travel faster. Heard that before? The old word-of-mouth advertising method is still around. People prefer to gain another person’s perspective before making a purchase.
That is why product reviews are encouraged, and the search for influencers with the popularity of social media exists.
Excellent customer service translates to positive reviews and growth. Building a strong customer service philosophy and properly implementing it is crucial. Keep customers at the heart of the business. Service their needs through your established customer service philosophy.
When creating your statement, focus on your company's mission and core values. Think about the reputation you envision, the positive reactions you want to see and hear from your customers from the level of service they receive.
Remember, there is no right or wrong to a customer service plan. Every company will have a unique variation. Go ahead and get started with yours!
Ready to engage with your customers and boost traffic to your website? We’d love to help you design an email marketing strategy that will meet your business and your customer’s needs.
Visit QuaGrowth to learn more about email marketing automation.