Customer Service Philosophy
What is Service Philosophy?
Whether you’re a start-up company or an established major player, your company likely revolves around providing service to a client or customer. In order to meet their needs, respect your brand, tell their friends about your wonderful product, and return again and again, you need to have an effective and consistent service philosophy in place. Having a set customer service policy maintains the uniformity of great experiences you provide to your customers and inspires loyalty in your clients.
So, what is customer service philosophy, and how can it help grow your business? A customer service philosophy is a map your customer service team develops to guide your company’s interactions with your target audience. It is a strategy on how you’ll handle service and support issues, guided by your company’s values and your brand’s guiding principals. A well-crafted customer service philosophy is a company-wide policy and process that businesses of all sizes should practice, day in and day out.
Importance of Service Culture
There are many reasons why a strong service culture is important for your business. However, the importance of service culture goes far beyond just what your employees or your customers experience—customer service and company culture need to go hand in hand for your firm to be successful.
Why? First, having a focus on making sure the customer is satisfied is just an easy way to have a stronger organization. Not only will your reputation be much more favorable if you’re focused on the customer, but there’s also a good chance that the number of repeat customers you have will increase.
Second, the strong relationship between service and culture of an organization goes even farther than the ability to enjoy more sales and a higher level of customer loyalty. Another benefit of a strong service culture is increased employee motivation and better customer experiences. Just think how many employees might actually enjoy their workday if they aren’t constantly yelled at or berated by irate customers.
Third, your reputation means a lot. If your company is widely known for rudeness to customers or unhelpful staff, there’s a good chance that they won’t continue to choose you over your competitor. For firms in incredibly tight markets, this can mean the difference between making a sale or not.
Finally, there’s the overall picture of having a strong service culture in your organization. Let’s go back to our customer service culture examples we discussed in a previous section. Companies such as the sporting goods store with employees who go above and beyond for the customer likely make more sales than those that simply allow the shopper to pick items out themselves. Furthermore, the insurance company that takes the time to survey customers also gets immediate feedback about any areas that need adjustment. Both of these companies likely have a positive or above average employee turnover rate.
5 Fundamental Elements of A Good Customer Service Philosophy
In order to provide the best customer service experience, your customer service philosophy and values need to reflect your brand in a way that positively impacts your customers. Here are 5 ways to deliver excellent customer service:
Use common sense
Sometimes businesses fail to see the most obvious things. For example, it should be a given that you would treat and care for your customers exactly the way you would want to be treated, and prove your dedication to your customers through your actions. At the same time, it’s crucial that you understand that what you want, or what you think is the solution is not always what your client is looking for. Ensure that you are delivering on all levels – poor quality services or products won’t go unnoticed. And, even if your services or products are fantastic, if you don’t provide the best customer service, your customers will eventually opt to support a competing business.
Don’t let your business policies prevent you from making your customers happy and creating loyalty for your company. Good customer service philosophy basics such as bending over backward to ensure your customer satisfaction are one of the best ways to get your brand to stand out from your competitors. Find a way to balance your policies with the motto of “the customer is always right”, and take the necessary steps to ensure every customer is happy whenever possible. Pay attention to the impact your employees have on your customers and train them to be flexible so that they know how to handle every situation in order to satisfy your clients so they will continue bringing profit to your business.
Be a problem-solver
Of all the issues your company faces daily, most fall under the category of business-related or non-business problems. For example, meeting customer needs and managing customer complaints is a business need. Your customers will find a reason to need help, and it’s your job to assist them. Instead of only allowing contact through a general email address, consider going above and beyond by providing contact through a specific company individual for a more personalized experience that shows your relationship with your customer matters.
Listen more, talk less
It is almost impossible to listen to anyone if you are talking. One of the best strategies to land and retain customers is to train your team to simply listen. Create a customer-centric culture that acknowledges that every client is unique and has their own reason to seek help. Instead of automatically assuming you know what your customer’s pain points are, listen to each customer as an individual and address their special problems and questions.
Inspire your team to inspire customers
The best way to inspire your customers to be loyal to your brand is to inspire your team to provide service that excels. Share your corporate vision with your team and create clear lines of communication. Build a work environment that is healthy and encourages teamwork. Set specific goals and provide the training and support needed to achieve them; give positive feedback and the opportunity of advancement to team players who meet those goals and exemplify your company’s service philosophy.
Best Customer Service Philosophy Examples
Your customer service needs to be tailored to your specific target audience to be successful. As far as good customer service philosophy examples, it’s hard to beat Honest Tea and Member Health. Honest Tea doesn’t just sell; they inspire customers by appealing to their personal interests while meeting their pharmacy partner’s needs as well. They engage their customers through branding as a platform for good health. Using high-grade teas with little-to-no sugar added, they produce high-quality products for customers who reject the idea that beverages need 10 or more teaspoons of sweeteners or chemical additives to be refreshing or taste good. Member Health realizes that its customers’ sole concern is health. So, they leveraged their relationships with thousands of local pharmacies which resulted in 450,000 members enrolling in their prescription benefits program. An added perk: they enabled participating pharmacies to provide some medications for free. Here are a couple of other examples of good customer service in retail and service.
Go above and beyond
When Larry Colbert, a professional speaker, and his guide dog, Banner, arrived at the airport, unbeknownst to Larry, a taxi ran over Banner’s leg. The dedicated dog still managed to get Larry into the terminal on time. Two Southwest Airlines employees noticed that he was standing in a pool of blood bleeding profusely from a 5-inch gash to his leg. Together, they worked to save Banner’s life, even though they had no idea that Larry was scheduled on a Southwest flight. One of the employees gripped the dog’s leg to stem the blood flow, then carried him to his car to take him to the veterinarian, keeping his grip on the wound the entire way. When you have a strong customer-centered, employee-backed customer service policy, it can really pay off – Larry went on to publicly praise Southwest Airlines in subsequent speaking engagements.
Zappos, the online shoe retailer provides exemplifies a strong service policy with many examples of good customer service in retail, such as their communication policy. They reply personally to every email they receive, even if customers address them to Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh. When one woman reached out to the CEO, who was unavailable, a representative stepped in to help with a humorous and engaging personal reply. Zappos knows that customers who take the time to reach out through emails they expect and deserve a prompt reply. Best customer service philosophy “Zappos-style” also entails giving loyal fans personalized headquarters tours to give them a taste of what happens behind the scenes.