To succeed in the modern market, businesses increasingly need to invest in their customer service, because people will be attracted to the companies that delight them the most.
One of the factors that has led to the rise of the customer is the saturation of the market. When faced with so much choice, customers no longer need opt for the default option. Especially for internet-based companies, your competitor really is a click of a button away.
Here are the top five values that foster great customer service.
1. Build a Customer Service Team that is Open Feedback
Many companies can try to avoid what they see as admitting to weaknesses, but it’s actually a sign of strength to be able to openly acknowledge areas that you need to improve.
Your company must focus on authentic growth rather than simply maintaining a positive image. Then, your emphasis will be on listening to and learning from your customers rather than damage control and concealing mistakes.
There will always be people who like to complain for the sake of it, but in the midst of the fury, there will be nuggets of wisdom that you can use to improve your business.
Your customers will sense whether you’re humble enough to listen to honest and constructive feedback or not. Companies who can even admit to mistakes as they’re happening will gain a lot of respect.
You will foster great customer loyalty and devotion if you can achieve this level of humility.
2. Consistency and Authenticity Leads to Coordinated Team Action
To have a consistent team culture, everyone in your team should know your company’s priorities. They should also embody your team values.
If everyone in your team has shared values, this will enable more coordinated action. People won’t be getting into disagreements because of conflicting priorities.
Many startups begin with exemplary values but it’s easy to lose sight of your roots as you grow rapidly and teams become far more complex.
So if your company founder is not speaking with every member of her or his team every day, how can these values be transmitted?
There’s no easy way to achieve consistency of team values, but through leading by example, clearly laying out your company’s priorities, and ensuring each individual team communicates with each other, you’ll be on the right track.
Your customer support team will much more easily be able to serve your customers if there’s no need to wade through internal politics.
3. Responsive to the Need for Action by Empowering Team Members
Your team being empowered to act when necessary goes hand-in-hand with consistent values. Research shows that employees who are empowered to act are more productive, happier and stay longer in their role.
To become responsive to the need for action, your team members must be provided with all the right information they need to do their job, and trusted to make the right decision.
If your team are overwhelmed with processes to follow before they can help customers, such as asking permission every time before giving a simple refund, or are compelled to stick to an overly rigid script, then you’ve got a problem.
You can still keep the right processes in place to ensure that the most severe problems are still escalated as necessary, while empowering your team members to use their judgement for everyday tasks.
4. Empathy Combined with Rigorous Processes
More than any other team, your customer support team works closely with co-workers elsewhere in your company, as well as external customers. This requires a high level of interpersonal skill.
By having empathy, your customer support team will be able to see situations from your customers’ point of view, enabling them to be better at customer service.
Every member of your team needs to develop their sense of empathy to ensure your business is working at its best. It limits conflict and stress because it enables you to recognize that everyone is doing their best.
But empathy would be nothing without rigorous processes to back it up. As we’ve said, your customer support team needs to be equipped to act on a customer’s query, and to know when it’s the right time to escalate a problem.
5. Innovative, Not for its Own Sake, But to Keep on Delighting Customers
Many startups and other companies buckle under the pressure for constant ‘innovation’.
Change for its own sake is not going to make your company great.
Your customer should always be at the heart of any proposed change. Change must always be carefully considered and based an area identified as needing improvement. Before you overhaul anything with your product, decide whether it will improve your customer experience or not.
If change is always based on delighting your customers, your customer support team can always be confident in your company’s products and services. Customer service will be outstanding because your biggest problems will not be with the basic functionality or suitability of your products or services, but simpler issues that can more easily be resolved.
Building a great team culture is no easy thing, but requires dedication and effort from the top down. Particularly in startups, the head of the company is the role model whom everyone will follow.
Be humble enough to listen to constructive feedback from your customers and employees, and keep on changing to delight your customers. Empower your team members to make crucial decisions, show trust in their abilities and respect for their role. Give teams the ability to easily communicate with each other and consistent shared priorities, so internal processes will be streamlined.
If you embed these elements within your team culture, your company will be great at customer service.
Catherine Heath has a thing for psychology, diversity, tech and startups , and is l earning to code. She gives valuable insight into the women in tech scene on her website, Away With Words, and shares tips for success and self-development. Connect with Catherine on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Catherine regularly blogs about knowledge base best practice for KnowledgeOwl.