You sense an opportunity to improve customer service.
Not that your team’s customer service is bad. It’s pretty good, actually. It’s just that it could be better.
The promise of taking customer service to the next level is alluring. Happier customers equals more referrals, increased customer retention, and ultimately more revenue. It costs less to serve happy customers. It’s also a lot more fun.
But, where do you start?
This is a common question for customer service leaders. There’s a whole universe full of ideas out there. You can find customer service blogs, books, and videos galore. Everyone has advice and much of it makes at least some sense.
Distilling this information down to a few key actions isn’t easy.
That’s why I’ve compiled this action plan to help. It contains essential steps that you can take to elevate your team’s service. Links to tools and resources are also included.
Next Level Customer Service Action Plan
Step 1: Define Outstanding Service
The first and most important step is to define outstanding customer service. Every employee must share the same definition and be able to describe how the definition applies to them. You can use the Customer Service Vision worksheet to help create your definition.
Step 2: Measure Outstanding Service
You have to be able to measure something if you want to improve it. Setting a SMART goal for customer service will allow you to track progress and can help motivate the team. Here’s a worksheet you can use to help you set SMART goals.
Step 3: Align Your Team Towards Outstanding Service
This step involves making sure your basic functions are all pointed towards outstanding customer service. Like a car that's out of alignment, it's difficult to keep your team heading in the right direction when parts are misaligned. You can use this Customer Service Alignment Check to review your team.
For more information on the first three steps, check-out my short training course on lynda.com.
Step 4: Look for quick fixes
A lot of customer service challenges can be solved very quickly if you know where to look. Use the Quick Fix Checklist and diagnose the root causes of customer service problems.
Step 5: Analyze Voice of Customer Data
Your customers can help you pinpoint a lot of problems, but having a customer satisfaction survey isn’t enough. You need to make sure you’re asking the right questions and then extracting meaningful insight from the results.
Here are a series of blog posts that provide step-by-step instructions on developing an effective Voice of the Customer (VOC) program:
- Developing Effective Customer Satisfaction Surveys
- The Killer Three Question Customer Service Survey
- 5 Ways to Capture VOC Data Without a Survey
- How to Analyze and Act on CSAT Data
- Why You Should Stop Trying to Improve Your Survey Scores
Step 6: Find Hidden Obstacles
There are a lot of hidden and even counter-intuitive obstacles that can make it hard for employees to deliver outstanding customer service. My book, Service Failure, reveals ten of the most common obstacles and provides practical advice for overcoming each one.
Step 7: Provide Customer Service Training
Notice that training is number 7 on the list, not number 1. This isn't an accident. A lot of problems can be solved without training.
Sometimes, employees do need new skills to take their service to the next levels. You can access training-related posts on my blog, take my Customer Service Fundamentals course on lynda.com, or schedule your employees to attend a Delivering Next Level Service training program.
Step 8: Constantly Reinforce Outstanding Service
Taking your team’s service to the next level isn’t just a one-time project. It’s an ongoing process that needs constant reinforcement. Here’s a blog post I wrote on ten ways to reinforce outstanding customer service.
You can also sign your employees up to receive my free Customer Service Tip of the Week email.
This list is just a start. What else would you add to it?