A company’s customer service department is often the first (and sometimes the only) personal contact a customer will have with a business. This point of contact establishes your business image in the mind of your consumer. Thus, properly setting up your customer service department can be a critical step that will affect many other aspects of your business operation.
Thinking through and planning a customer service strategy is critical to the development of a strong service culture.
Create a customer service vision
Before building a customer service department, define what quality of customer support you will provide. This will enable you to set proper standards against which your support team could be measured. If your company focuses more on speed or integrity, your team must be prepared to deliver on those terms.
Assess customer needs
The first step in a customer improvement initiative is to talk to the customers to find out their perception of the services being provided and determining what their needs and expectations are.
A customer needs assessment is done by soliciting feedback through focus groups, satisfaction surveys, or customer comment cards, and developing a comprehensive plan to meet and exceed the customer needs.
Determine the channels to support
It is challenging to offer support across all channels all the time. This makes things more complex and leads to inconsistent service. It is better to choose few channels and provide quality customer service and keep your customers happy.
While all those channels have their own advantages and disadvantages, it’s advisable to select those channels which your customers use the most. Do some research on your target audience and see which platforms they use.
Hire the right employees
Finding and recruiting a great customer service team is critical to providing reliable and high-quality customer support. They should be passionate about customer service and must possess the right skills for the job.
Screening employees and ensuring that they possess the disposition and skill set to help support a strong customer service environment is important.
Skills can be taught but attitude and personality cannot. It’s a sad fact but not everyone should interact with customers.
Train on service skills
The training should explain how the organization would like the employee to behave in every situation and should help employees understand how to respond to their customers. Employees need to know what you want them to do.
Reward and recognize good service
Employees need positive reinforcement and should be rewarded when they demonstrate the desired behaviors of a strong customer service culture.