How to develop a great customer service philosophy
The more a company grows, the greater the need becomes to have a defined set of protocols, procedures and, yes, philosophies under which to operate. This is especially true when it comes to customer service. With so many moving parts, customer service initiatives work best when they’re executed under the framework that is the customer service philosophy. Here we’ll explain what a customer service philosophy is, and how you can develop a great one for your company.
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What is customer service philosophy
A company’s customer service philosophy is the set of guiding principles by which its workers engage in their customer service duties. Core tenets of many company’s customer service philosophies are politeness, attentiveness and professionalism.
One of the reasons companies go to the trouble of defining a customer service philosophy is because it helps to ensure uniformity in the way employees interact with customers. This helps improve customer experience across the board because it drastically decreases the chances that the nature of one customer’s interaction with your company will vary greatly from that of another customer.
A company that operates under the oft-quoted customer service principle, “the customer is always right,” is less likely to suffer the consequences affiliated with an employee snapping at a customer and telling him that he’s flat out wrong about something. It’s especially important for small and growing companies to define their customer service philosophy because a bad review from an offended and disgruntled customer can be especially devastating.
So, now that we know what customer service philosophy is and why it’s important, let’s get into some real-world examples of great customer service philosophies.
Examples of great customer service philosophies
Apple employs the use of the acronym A.P.P.L.E. to make its customer service philosophy memorable. Check it out below:
A – Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome
P – Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs
P – Present a solution for the customer to take home today
L – Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns
E – End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
Apple’s customer service philosophy has it all: a clever acronym made out of the company’s name, and clear, succinct instructions for employees about how they should handle interactions with customers.
The fast-food chain McDonald’s also uses an acronym to represent its customer service philosophy. The letters, QSC&V make a catchy, easy-to-remember rhyme. Here’s what they stand for:
Q – Quality
S – Service
C – Cleanliness
V – Value
It’s a short, snappy motto — exactly what it needs to be a world-wide company like McDonald’s. Quick to explain and effective in real-world situations; it’s no wonder QSC&V has been at the core of McDonald’s rise and global fast-food dominance.
How to develop your customer service philosophy
#1 Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Employees at customer-facing businesses have a responsibility to be empathetic to the needs of their clients. Achieving that level of professional empathy doesn’t happen overnight — it takes a concerted effort on the part of managers to cultivate the correct attitudes in their employees.
The first step in that process is instructing your employees to put themselves in your customers’ shoes. How would they like to be treated as a patron of your business? They should strive to emulate the ideal image of a customer service professional in their own minds. Then, as a collective, you can set out to define your customer service philosophy — those principles that will guide each and every interaction your employees have with your customers.
#2 Provide customer self-service
There is in fact one way you can completely eliminate the risk of your customers having bad experiences with your company — empower them to find solutions on their own.
One great way to do this is to implement an IVR system to aid customers who contact you over the phone. IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, presents customers with a series of prerecorded messages offering a variety of menu options from which they can choose.
CloudTalk’s call flow designer feature makes customizing your IVR system a snap. Pre-record friendly, professional prompts directly in CloudTalk’s interface, design your call flow and watch your customer satisfaction metrics soar!
#3 Be honest and keep your customers’ expectations realistic
Despite our best efforts, all of us falter from time to time. The same is true for companies’ customer service efforts — they are, after all, carried out by people.
It’s important, then, to set realistic expectations for your customers so they aren’t disappointed if you fall short of the ideal they imagine. This expectation setting can actually be built into a company’s customer service philosophy in the form of a X dedication to honesty.
For example, one of your company’s customer service principles could be to be honest and forthright with clients about the company’s ability to address their concerns.
As the old saying goes: honesty is the best policy.
#4 Incorporate your customer service philosophy into employee onboarding
Once you’ve nailed down your company’s specific customer service philosophy, you should work to weave it into every new employee’s onboarding experience.
It’s important for all of your employees to understand that your customer service philosophy represents a standard of excellence, a model set of behaviors expected of each employee during every interaction they have with customers.
The sooner they understand the way your company does business the better, so make sure you let them know about your customer service philosophy from their first day on the job.
#5 Be flexible and make adjustments when necessary
It’s wise to maintain a certain elasticity in business, and the development and implementation of a company-wide customer service philosophy is no exception.
If something doesn’t work out the way you envisioned, be open to tinkering with it. The best customer service philosophies are usually the result of a long process that includes several rough draft policies, so don’t be afraid to take risks. The important thing is that you get started in crafting your company’s approach to customer service — the sooner the better!
The Bottom Line
The success of your business begins and ends with customer service. Sure, there are plenty of important things that happen in between, but your customer service professionals are the ones making the first impressions and thanking your customers after deals are closed or purchases are made. That’s why it’s so important to develop and fine tune a solid customer service philosophy.
But after you’ve developed your top-notch customer service philosophy, you still need to figure out how you can put it to good use. That’s where high-quality communications software like CloudTalk comes in.
CloudTalk gives customer service professionals all of the tools they need to be successful. An easily-navigable interface, over 50 powerful features and integrations with nearly every CRM on the market make CloudTalk the go-to communications software for today’s growing businesses.
Check it out for yourself with a free 14-day trial (no credit card required).