6 Habits Of Customer Service Oriented Companies
Positioning a business around customer service doesn’t happen overnight. It requires the right people, tools, and processes to make it a reality. But investing in building a customer service oriented culture pays off.
According to Forbes, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.1 As the bar continues to rise, more and more companies are trying to figure out what it means to be a customer service oriented business.
Is your business truly customer service oriented? What opportunities are there to improve your customer service experience? In this article, we explore what it means to be customer service oriented, and provide 5 steps to becoming a customer service oriented company.
What does it mean to be a customer service oriented business?
In simple terms, customer service oriented businesses put their customers first. They understand and think about how every action they make will impact their customers, and they build teams and processes to create memorable experiences their customers will talk about. Customer-oriented businesses accommodate the customers’ needs and desired experience. They make customers feel valued, listened to, and respected.
Customer service oriented businesses don’t just have an excellent support team. High-quality customer service is part of the company’s DNA. From engineering to marketing to design, a customer service oriented business injects customer centricity at every opportunity.
6 steps to becoming a customer service oriented company
1. Create a customer-first service culture in the organization
Prioritizing customers is the first step in creating a customer service oriented company. Build your customer support team around a set of values that drive you to put the customer first at all times. By always thinking of the customer, you’ll identify pain points early on and find opportunities to improve the product and customer experience.
Many businesses miss the target here. They make decisions based on what’s best for their business instead of what’s best for the customer. Of course, sometimes that’s the right thing to do, but customer service oriented companies understand the trade-offs and always work to make decisions that benefit the customer. They understand that by putting the customer first, the business benefits too.
– Create a set of customer service values and socialize this within the company.
– Invite team members from other departments to shadow the support team, or practice all-hands support.
– Measure customer satisfaction and share customer feedback regularly with the entire company.
2. Take care of your employees
Taking care of your customers actually starts with taking care of your employees. That’s right; happy employees create happy customers. Empower your employees to do their best work, and they’ll constantly be motivated to build a customer-first culture.
A good employee experience starts with the interview and onboarding process. Onboarding an employee is as critical as onboarding a new customer. First, put a plan in place for their first 4 weeks, then iterate and improve that plan as you learn what works and what doesn’t. Next, identify areas of friction and frustration in the employee experience and work to remove them. Enabling employees to truly enjoy their work will result in more productivity and a better customer experience.
– Create a transparent and safe working environment where your employees feel inspired to engage with each other to do their best work.
– Ask employees for feedback regularly, and leverage those insights to improve the employee experience.
– Be thoughtful and intentional with how you onboard each employee. Have a plan in place to show each new hire you’re truly invested in their happiness.
– Equip new employees with the right resources by publishing an internal knowledge base or an agent assist bot.
3. Offer support on all customer-preferred channels
Multi-channel support enables customers to reach you using their preferred method of contact. For some customers, that might be email. For other customers, that might be social media or live chat. Ask your customers what their desired experience is when it comes to engaging with your company, then work to accommodate them and meet those expectations. Whether you decide to go omnichannel or not, you can certainly ensure you’re prioritizing the right channels that are best for your customers.
– Ask your customers how they prefer to reach out to you for help.
– Make it easy to contact your support team. Remove any friction or hurdles when it comes to reaching out to your team.
– Set expectations about your support coverage and the hours they are available. (ie. Live chat is available between 9 am-5 pm PST).
4. Be transparent with customers
Transparency builds trust, and trust builds customer loyalty. Whenever possible, embrace a transparent style of communication. For example, if you’re running a software company and facing a service outage, communicate with your customers about that in real-time. If your developers end up causing a bug along with a product update, let your customers know what happened.
Close the loop with customers on service and feature requests instead of leaving them in the dark. If you’re going to miss a deadline, let the customer know as soon as possible. Being transparent and acknowledging your problems proactively will help improve your internal processes and establish trust with your customers.
– Make information easily accessible.
– Create a culture of honesty so your team knows it’s ok to be transparent.
– Admit your mistakes and fix them.
5. Set up an SOP for customer service
Develop SOPs (standard operating procedures) or playbooks that your support team can use to address different scenarios with confidence. A standardized approach helps build repeatable processes and aligns the team quickly.
For example, what hours should your support agents be online? Is there a standard signature they should use in their responses to customers? What tone and voice should your agents use? What should happen when a customer requests a refund? Your playbooks should directly reflect your customer service processes and enable your team to deliver great work.
– Share your playbooks during training.
– Keep them up-to-date.
– Empower your agents to influence the playbooks.
6. Leverage technology to offer better customer service
Technology can make jobs easier and ultimately improve the customer experience. This stands true whether you’re a technology company or not. Today, all businesses rely on technology to do their work. Investing in technology can be intimidating and costly, but it doesn’t need to be. Plus, any investment in customer service technology can put your business on track to becoming a more customer service oriented company.
For instance, Finsure, a finance and insurance company from Australia, made the switch from an outdated shared inbox to Freshdesk and achieved a huge 94% SLA (service level agreement).
– Deploy the right helpdesk software to get a 360-degree view of your customers, their purchase history, prior conversations, and types of requests – all in one place.
– Adopt internal communication tools so support agents can collaborate and communicate efficiently.
– Empower your customers to help themselves through chatbots, help docs, and other self-help resources.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to become a customer service oriented company because every business is different. You have to work to understand the needs of your business and the desired experience from your customers. Then, you can craft solutions to achieve the necessary outcomes.