— Brian Kwong 🧙♂️ (@Kwongerific) October 25, 2012
Brian here is clearly not very fond of Zachary’s customer support department. Imagine 192 million daily active users reading this tweet. Sounds dooming, right?
So, let’s talk about customer service.
Customer service is not a department. It is a philosophy that needs to be embraced by every member of an organization, from the CEO to recently hired interns. It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, whether B2B or B2C. It doesn’t matter what industry your business belongs to. Be it hospitality, financial, retail, IT, healthcare, manufacturing, service, etc.
Customer support finds its way into every aspect of every business.
Every department and, consequently, every employee has an impact on the customer. Therefore, every decision must be made keeping the customers in mind. It is important that every employee understands their role in customer experience and customer service strategy. The leadership must understand that customer service policies play an important part in the overall strategy. Companies need to stick to just one mantra: Customer service is a philosophy!
And only customer-centric policies can help you stick to this mantra. In this article, I am going to list down the fundamentals of framing the perfect customer support policies by keeping customers at the center. We’ll talk about:
- Customer Service Policy – A Quick Rundown
- Why is Customer Service Policy Important
- What Should be Included in a Customer Service Policy?
- How to Create Great Customer Service Policies
- Build Customer-Focused Policies: Empower With DeskXpand
Customer Service Policy – A Quick Rundown
Customer service policy is a living document created for support teams to keep everyone on the same page. It is a reference point for all customer support reps. It includes guidance, advice, and examples needed to ensure customer satisfaction and eventual retention. It is a set of procedures that guides the overall customer support approach and attitude. An example of customer service policy would be:
- The kind of refunds that are handled in the organization
- The criteria for offering refunds
Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.
Excellence in customer service policy is a reference point for all customer service executives and allows them to handle situations similarly. If a brand keeps this consistency, a company ensures that every customer interaction is a success and every customer’s needs are fulfilled without any bias.
Why is Customer Service Policy Important
Customer service policies are imperative for your support team more than anyone else. Customer support policies ensure that your customers are treated equally while seeking services in the company regardless of anything. With a document in place, your support team will strive to speed up and ensure customer success. Some benefits of customer service policy involve:
- Showcasing company values
- Enhanced support for your customers
- Improved customer retention
- Clear customer expectations
What Should be Included in a Customer Service Policy?
I. Company Values
You can include this as a part of your customer service mission statement.
II. Resolution Time and First Response Time
When do you plan to get back to the customer once they report their queries? Will you get back to them in an hour or a day? How soon will you resolve an issue? What are the hours where you’re available? Include all this information in your policies.
III. Customer-Centric and Professional Guidelines
Define how your employee behavior should be while interacting with your customers. Their approach must always be customer-centric, and you could include all of this in your policy document.
IV. Industry-Specific Policies
For example, if you are an eCommerce brand, you can include the rules pertaining to shipping, returns, exchanges, and billing.
V. How You Collect Feedback
How do you plan to collect feedback from your customers? How often do you plan on doing it? Let your customers know how they can contact you and how they should respond to negative feedback. Think about questions like:
- How to react to unhappy customers.
- If the customer is not satisfied, do they get a refund? Do they get store credit?
VI. Escalation Rules
Make sure your support reps know what to do when your service level agreements or these customer service policies is violated. Make clear policies regarding the same.
How to Create Great Customer Service Policies
The first step in creating a customer service policy is thinking about the big picture. Think about the mission of your customer service team as a whole? How do you define excellence?
Usually, customer service policies begin with a mission statement. It includes one or two lines summarizing how you want to treat your customers. Here are some tips for creating customer service policies:
1. Align It With Your Vision and Objectives
A company’s vision and objectives must create successful customer service policies. Your customer service policy reflects your brand’s goals. Therefore, your policies must align with the vision of your brand.
Your customer service policy should focus on improving the welfare of your customers & your company’s productivity. Here are some things that you can address while developing a customer service policy:
- A time period when your customer support reps can respond to all queries.
- A target for the percentage of services returned.
- A target and method for how the support team handles queries.
- A target for the percentage of customers who will return to buy your services again.
If you want to create a customer service policy that fits your customers’ needs, you need to align it with your business goals. Focus on the following key points:
I. Service/Product Overview:
Create policies that’ll help customers better understand the services you sell.
Informative and efficient customer support attracts clients to your businesses. Therefore, you need to have a proactive workforce. Empower your support reps to respond as quickly as possible. Prompt customer service can bring more customers to buy your products and services.
Customer relationship management completely depends on how the brands communicate with the customers. You must inform customers of changes in customer policies, new products, and shipping policies.
IV. Follow-up Process:
Give your customers the number, email, and name of the customer support team to contact. You need to include this information on your policies so that customers can get fast service from an actual person.
2. Understand Your Audience
The primary goal of building a customer service policy is to make your customers happy. Hence, you must design your customer support policy to customers’ specific needs. Include a system in your customer support policy that records customer complaints, comments, and issues that require urgent care. You need to collect information about what customers want from the customer support system and implement it.
Do not forget to review the feedback provided by your customers. The better you understand your customer service policy, the better you can optimize your services. Be sure to involve your support representatives as well. Since support reps interact with customers in the company, they can help create straightforward customer service policies and plans.
Besides this, online surveys and service providers can help you know things that your customers want and add them to the policy.
3. Identify Top Customer Operational Issues
As a brand, you need to consider customer feedback and feedback from your support reps while making your business policy. Create a list of challenges your customers face while trying to reach out to your support executives. You shall communicate with your team on things that affect the customer support processes. Understand the problems, know the cause, propose a solution, and include them in the implementation of your customer support policy.
Adhere to successful customer service policies and practices. Understand what customers want, and that will help you create a successful customer support policy.
4. Customer First Approach
The concept of having a customer-first approach is pretty straightforward. You need to develop policies with customer experience as the core of your brand’s goals or values.
The proper focus & investment of time and budget requires a more strategic approach and planning. It is not only a marketing problem or a technology initiative.
As a brand, you’ll need to integrate customer service policy into your company culture as a whole. You need to hire and amalgamate a team of skilled customer service agents. The next important thing to do would be to communicate clear values to your employees. Make them more confident in what your company stands for.
5. Operationalize Customer Empathy into Policies
Many companies and brands fail to understand and practice this buzzword: Empathy. Customer empathy means the ability to identify a customer’s emotional need. It involves understanding the reasons behind their needs and effective responses to them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have an empathetic customer service policy for frustrated customers?
- Are those policies customer-friendly?
- Do your policies encourage customers? Are they clear and honest?
According to a report by PwC, only 38% of U.S. consumers believe that the employees they interact with accurately understand their needs. Empathetic customer process design also significantly impacts marketing activities. Customer-focused policies build empathy, and empathy builds trust. If customers feel acknowledged, they’re more likely to be loyal to your brand.
One of the best customer service policy examples would be of Slack. It operationalizes empathy right into its strategies. Their customer support reps spend a lot of time observing customer messages, and they try to understand their needs intuitively. The customer support specialists conduct thorough research.
Plan and make the customer journey maps, and then frame your customer support policy to exercise empathy accordingly. Evaluate whether your customer touchpoints provide a good, fast, and convenient experience.
Take a look at the big-picture of your policies and processes. Lastly, implement customer empathy all around the company culture.
6. Align Your Policies With SLA
The last thing would be to align your customer service policy with your service level agreements. It’ll set your brand and employees upto a certain standard and improve your brand value. SLAs are commonly used to measure problems and maintain process timelines. Service level agreements establish the basic conditions of your support services—they lay out an agreement between brands and their customers. For example, designating the maximum amount of wait time is acceptable to be considered the good quality of service.
It is important to remember that SLAs are different from the key performance indicators. KPIs are usually used to track performance. Deriving and implementing SLAs will require you to facilitate constructive feedback from customers and analyze ways to improve customer satisfaction.
Build Customer-Focused Policies: Empower With DeskXpand
A customer service policy is a way to hold your organization to a consistently high standard. The ideas in your customer service policy should be based on your company’s goals. You must be able to outline concrete ways to reach those goals.
It is easier to keep the promises made in your customer service policy if you have the right tools at your disposal. Your technology investments can improve your customer service and track your success. Take your standards to the next level with customer support software that can help you effortlessly implement your service policy and take your standards to the next level. Sign up for a free trial with DeskXpand now.
DeskXpand is an exceptional customer support software that helps businesses provide quick resolutions to their customers, simplify their support and help them cultivate successful customer service policies.
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