A good customer service strategy can be extremely rewarding in the age of soaring customer expectations. People love to publicly acknowledge when they’ve had a memorable customer service experience. On the other hand, poor customer service can make them forget all the good experiences your company has offered.
Building an airtight customer service strategy is the best way to weather the demands of today’s savvy customers. We’d like to help you build a viable customer service strategy that can be a huge differentiator for your business.
Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll be covering in this blog:
A customer service strategy is a comprehensive plan of action that outlines how an organization intends to meet customer expectations and address your company’s customer service goals and challenges. It involves designing and executing processes, policies, and systems that improve your overall customer service quality and functional efficiency.
For instance, let’s say you notice your customers visiting your company’s website often to resolve their concerns with the FAQs hosted on your site. You might then want to double down on self-service as a core customer service strategy and strengthen your knowledge base to make it even easier for customers to find answers by themselves.
A good customer service strategy, ultimately, focuses on constantly enhancing customer experiences, nurturing stronger client relationships, and driving customer retention to impact your business’ bottom line.
If you’re wondering how a solid customer service strategy can help your business (and if it’s worth the time and effort to invest in one), here’s a list of benefits to reinforce the value of a support strategy.
Optimizes resource allocation
With a clearly defined customer service strategy, you will know what initiatives are to be prioritized over a certain period and how to allocate resources wisely to implement these strategies. This improves your team’s efficiency and ensures that your agents actively contribute to business goals.
Reduces customer service costs
Working on a customer service strategy gives you the opportunity to identify and prevent areas of increasing costs through customer support. A classic example is shifting support interactions from high-cost channels to low-cost digital channels such as chat or social media.
Improves customer satisfaction
Any customer support strategy aims to meet varying customer needs and keep customers satisfied. As you work on strategic activities that address customer expectations, your CSAT scores naturally improve.
Enhances customer loyalty
As per Gartner, when customers experience valuable service interactions, they are 82% more likely to repurchase from the same company. When your customer service strategy is aimed at delivering more value to customers, you are sure to breed more loyal customers.
As you can see, having a robust customer support strategy in place goes a long way in building your brand reputation and contributing to long-term business profitability.
Step 1: Map customer journeys and understand their preferences
Since your customer support strategy revolves around meeting customer needs, it’s a good idea to map out detailed service journeys and identify customer pain points, challenges, and goals, across every touchpoint and channel.
Start by gathering and analyzing customer feedback—not just from regular surveys and focus groups but also from indirect sources like support ticket data and listening to your customers’ voice on social media, popular forums, and online review sites.
Collect customer data across sales, marketing, and support to gain valuable customer insights to build a successful customer service strategy.
Step 2: Analyze your current customer service performance
Before you list out the strategic initiatives to improve customer service, assess the current state of your customer support function. You can audit your previous customer interactions and agent performance using vital customer support metrics.
Do you see a lag in response times? Is there a rise in ticket volume over the past few months? Are resolutions taking longer than expected in a particular channel? Analyzing your past customer service data helps you answer these questions and identify areas for improvement and opportunities to boost customer satisfaction.
Step 3: Define your customer service goals and priorities
After analyzing your customer service performance, you’ll arrive at a list of challenges and opportunities that compete for your team’s focus and efforts. You can’t take up all these challenges in your current strategy and expect outsized results.
To help you narrow your list of competing customer service priorities before you strategize, here are some questions you can ask yourself.
- Which of these challenges, if addressed, would have the maximum impact on your customers?
- Among the opportunities identified, which ones align closely with your overall organizational CX strategy?
- Are there any quick, early wins you can see with minimal upskilling of agents or a new tool onboarding?
Gauge the priority of your goals and challenges based on the above questions to create more impactful customer support strategies. For instance, if addressing rising volumes of repetitive level-1 queries is your top priority, then adopting chatbots may become your key strategy.
Step 4: Identify KPIs, timelines, and metrics to track progress
Customer support KPIs and metrics act as benchmarks to improve your customer service strategy. They can reflect on agent productivity, performance, and quality of support provided to customers.
Productivity metrics: This involves the nature of customer issues in ticket inflow, the number of tickets resolved, and the active time taken to resolve each issue. Keeping track of these can help in planning your staffing, understanding customer behavior, and agent training – all at once.
Performance metrics: Performance metrics show your customer service team’s resolution time and first response time.
Quality metrics: These metrics reflect the quality of customer service through Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). While NPS tackles customer loyalty and advocacy, you can use satisfaction surveys after every customer service interaction to know where your business stands in satisfying customers.
Set realistic timelines to track improvements in each of these metrics.
Step 5: Empower your support agents and align teams
Your customer service team is integral to the success of your customer support strategy. Training and equipping your agents to have a customer-centric mindset is vital in implementing your customer service plan.
Foster a customer-first work culture and ensure to train your reps on key traits, namely,
Empathy: Empathy is what reminds the customer that it is a human on the other side of the support channel. It is one trait that will help you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see the pain points in an issue.
Product knowledge: When customers are reaching out to a customer service representative, they trust by default that they are contacting a product expert–someone who knows the product in and around–and can understand their concerns in no time.
Aligning goals with KPIs: Support agents need to be able to work towards achieving measurable goals. Build a customer service strategy that records every issue can empower support teams–help them back to the drawing board and assess their performance–so that they get exponentially better at handling incoming customer support tickets.
Additionally, your customer service strategy requires seamless collaboration between and beyond teams. Customer requirements deal with information pertaining to the product team, sales team, finance, and external vendors, to name a few. Get all the stakeholders aligned and actively contributing to making your customer service strategy a success.
Step 6: Assess and build a unified support technology suite
Companies that dream about a customer service strategy can’t afford to live on the razor’s edge with legacy tools and systems. If your data resides in silos across multiple disparate systems, your team members will be shuttling between tabs to find relevant information—an unwanted addition to the existing agent workload.
Companies need to optimize the number of screens that their support agents handle in one go. This is not only an issue from a productivity or customer handling standpoint but also the cost to the company. Multiple data sources also mean that your business incurs heightened standalone expenses of business software.
In contrast, state-of-the-art online support software is simple to use, intuitive, scalable, smashes data silos, and discounts all maintenance costs. Make sure the support software you use has a comprehensive marketplace with tools and applications that seamlessly integrate to own a truly unified support technology suite.
Step 7: Measure and review your strategy periodically
Revisit your customer service strategy at the timelines you had stipulated earlier to track the progress of your strategy. Monitor the key metrics you identified earlier, such as response times or CSAT scores. If you don’t see the desired level of improvement, then tweak your tactics to adapt and improve your support strategy.
Remember, you may have to realign or even build new customer service strategies depending on tectonic shifts in customer demands, market conditions, or even new overall business priorities.
Real-world customer service strategy example: Multichoice adopts an omnichannel support strategy for seamless experiences
South Africa’s leading media company—Multichoice, took stock of their existing support operations, delved into customer feedback, and came up with one significant finding. Their customers expected consistent, quick, and accurate answers across human and digital interactions every time.
With this expectation translating into their priority customer service goal, the customer experience team at Multichoice decided to adopt an omnichannel customer service strategy to deliver seamless, consistent, and contextual customer interactions.
They consolidated multiple channels, including email, chatbots, and telephony, into a unified, intuitive platform—Freshdesk to view customer interactions and access customer information across channels on a single screen. They also integrated other essential tools—like their CRM— with Freshdesk to have complete context on customer issues.
It was a winning support strategy as their average CSAT scores climbed to 95%, and their first contact resolution rates improved from 69% to 94%.
Adopt a unified customer support solution to cement your winning customer service strategy
To drive repeat business by consistently delighting your customer base, your customer service strategy must become part of your long-run support culture. Perk up your support by adopting a support software that readily accommodates your customer service strategy. Usually, a support software requires extensive training to figure out its functionalities. But a help desk is something that needs to be simple and easy to wrap your head around it. Help your employees get familiar with an intuitive omnichannel help desk as such so that it doesn’t add complexity to their already busy job.