Let’s look at some very fun facts here:
Dimensional Research found out that just after one bad experience with a company’s customer service, 39% of customers will avoid that company for two years;
According to White House Office of Consumer Affairs: On average, an unhappy customer complains to 15 people about the service. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers complain to more than 20 people.
Microsoft’s State Of Global Customer Service Report in 2017 also concluded that 47% of consumers choose to change to a different company due to bad customer service.
See, customer service is of paramount importance for just any company. It is so important that researchers expect that by 2020, Customer Service quality will have eclipsed price and product when it comes to the brand's biggest differentiator.
But how do you guarantee that your brand offers satisfaction like some of the leading companies in the industry, such as Apple or Disney? Well, any sparkling, effective customer service all derives from the culture of the company’s service policy itself.
If you’re striving to increase your customer satisfaction, begin by making a customer service philosophy for your team. Getting a collective philosophy keeps everyone centered on the same path and allows them to grasp the systematic path to reaching that objective.
Not only does a cohesive philosophy emboldens your team members, but it also lays the foundation for a proactive customer-centered strategy. No matter which staff of your company a customer interacts with, they must have the same pleasant and lovely service that epitomizes your company’s essence.
What you will need to know about customer service philosophy?
Let’s first get down to some basic definitions.
What is Customer Service?
In short, the process of serving individuals and offering care and advice before, during, and after a transaction is Customer Service.
And it is the process that ensures your customers are satisfied and will return to your company for more. If you want to attract new ones, delivering outstanding customer service is of the essence (According to Dimensional Research, 40% of consumers will tell others to not go to a business if they have had bad customer service from that company)
When it comes to ensuring that all your buyers are pleased and get great customer service, creating a carefully penned Customer Service Philosophy directly relevant to your business is a must. Because any superb, successful customer service team has a strong Customer Service Philosophy behind them.
What is Customer Service Philosophy?
A customer service philosophy is a common goal for your support personnel, a collection of guiding principles to guarantee that no matter which staff your customers interact with, they will have the same level of satisfaction.
Customer service philosophy is where customer service departments formulate a plan as to how to manage service and address challenges, guided by the brand’s driving principles and values.
To ensure that your teams accomplish their tasks perfectly and fulfill every customer’s needs, each team requires guiding principles. Also, by having your staff follow your Customer Service Philosophy, you indirectly inspire the staff to understand customers' approaches truly. They will work even more on their targets.
It would be better to resolve it depending on the customer service philosophy while team members are in an unforeseen situation.
Each team needs guiding principles to ensure their tasks are accomplished in the most effective manner possible and that the customer’s needs are fulfilled. Also, with a set of a clear customer service ethic, you can inspire the staff, helping the team better appreciate the approach to clients, concentrating ever further on their objectives.
When team members are in an unexpected situation, it will be simpler to follow the fixed philosophy of customer service to address the problems, rather than fixing on their own.
For the most part, a customer service philosophy includes two parts: Vision and Values.
Customer Service Philosophy Vision is a declaration that precisely define the type of customer service employees offer.
For example, Apple’s Customer Service Philosophy Vision is: "Apple strives to bring the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals, and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software, and internet offerings. Apple welcomes your feedback on its products."
Customer Service Philosophy Values will further complement your company’s vision. Specifically, it is an additional context that describes how employees can embrace your vision.
“Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome”: Every customer should be welcomed by a staff member who is courteous, enthusiastic, and dedicated to customer service.
“Politely to understand all the customer’s needs”: This involves giving a variety of closed and clean suggestions so you can find the best product for the customers, not the costliest product. “Is this going to be the first Mac?” “What are you supposed to use the iPad for?”
“Present a solution for the customer to take home today”: For example, if a customer going to the shop but the product they are looking for has already sold out, Apple’s staffs may give some solutions, such as providing location of a store that still has the product they are looking for, or recommend the customers to buy similar products.
“Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns”: Customers have hidden desires or concerns. Which is why it is important to ask good questions to know what your customers are looking for.
“End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return”: How a person thinks after a purchase finishes has a huge effect on how they view the brand and whether they are willing to suggest the brand to others “I really like the Apple Keynote presentation you introduced. When you’re close to being done, please drop in again, and we will give you more suggestions on how to improve it.”
Reasons why your business will need a customer service philosophy.
A customer service philosophy does not just do wonders for your customer support team. A profoundly effective philosophy will have far-reaching impacts on different departments inside your business.
Here’s a closer look at how the philosophy of customer service can impact the numerous areas of the company:
Think of Twitter, for example. This wildly successful platform puts a heavy emphasis on accessibility and guidance at its heart. Small messages and explanations appear from time to time to support customers to use Twitter more effectively.
See, the world’s most cherished products are all built with customer satisfaction in mind. If your organization has a guiding Customer Service Philosophy, your team can easily incorporate guidance functions into your products or services.
Depending on a variety of parameters, the suitability of your product or service would be assessed by your future customers. They can take into account price and cost, for instance, as well as the level of customer service you provide.
A good philosophy of customer care is indeed a potent marketing instrument. In addition, your Customer Service Philosophy will shape your marketing strategies.
For example, take a look at Amazon’ vision statements
"To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices."
As you can see, when Amazon does something, they do it for the better of the customers. This effort helps the team to foster a firm focus on its customer service quality.
Customers are also very concerned about their investments. And they’ll ask for flexible payment terms and expect fast responses and refunds if they encounter any problems. Your Customer Service Philosophy will detail the approach to your finance and payment strategy.
For example, Pepephone, a Spanish network, will offer instant refunds to its customers even before it delves deeper into the issue.
Why is Self-Service Support necessary?
Customer service no longer exists on solely one channel. Gone were the days of only providing phone or email assistance. Now, assistance must start happening in a unified manner.
Many customers demand immediate access to help or support. The Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report from Microsoft showed that more than 90% of all customers require a company or entity to provide a self-service assistance platform or website with frequently asked questions (FAQ).
This demand actively illustrates that you need a customer service philosophy that incorporates fast and efficient self-service support and wonderful, individualized two-way support whenever your customers require it.
The bulk of individuals online have encountered exemplary customer service in the era of social media, one way or another, or have at least been amazed at the story of another personal friend or social media connection getting fantastic assistance. It seems there’s a new viral customer service story running viral online nearly every day.
This phenomenon can make it sound like the only way to keep your customer satisfied is to promise that your customers will have people on-hand ready to provide support whenever they need it. However, as 67% of consumers today choose self-service tools over-communicating to the staff, on-hand customer supporter is not always the number one way to keep your customers delighted.
Customers prefer self-help services alongside conventional support platforms such as email and social media. It seems like the perfect situation is for a company to address all customer service problems without the user having to reach out.
What is required to have a good self-service?
Great self-service begins with a searchable help portal. This portal must be user-friendly and properly equipped to guide your customers to a better-matched channel.
Your first challenge is to put yourself into your customers’ shoes while writing self-service content. In other words, you need to fully understand the way your customers use your products or services. Also, make sure that your self-service content is relevant to your customers’ questions and prove to them that you know what they need.
You may want to check the keywords and search phrases they use to see how successful your support center site (to make sure that you know what your customers are looking for). If your self-service center responds accurately and rapidly to the needs of your customers, you can rest assured that you have far surpassed your rivals in terms of customer service.
Bear in mind; not everyone knows what they’re looking for. For example, Apple’s smart search anticipates what you are searching for and makes recommendations automatically as you write.
How to develop a customer service philosophy?
Now that you have had a more comprehensive idea of what a customer service philosophy is for. So let’s dive into some detailed steps on how to create your philosophy.
However, there are no two identical customer service philosophies. Depending on your team’s values, objectives, short-term, long-term visions, the philosophies will vary.
These steps will help you figure out what’s important.
1. Understand your existing & potential buyers’ personas
The first step for you to understand your buyer personas to establish a clear customer service philosophy. Following this step, you’ll better comprehend what your buyers want from you, which will help you represent them more efficiently.
Let’s look closer at these personas to understand the factors involved.
1.1. Expectations for customer support.
Dig deeper at the buyer personas will be of help to discover their Customer Service Expectations. For example, some people will demand 24/7 support, while others may be happier with service tailored to business hours.
1.2. Preferences for customer service.
It is advisable to look closely at demographic statistics that might shape the Customer Service Philosophy. For example, if you operate in a B2C organization, your clients might expect more informal customer support. Or, if you work in some educational institutions, your clients might want some more formal assistance.
1.3. Channels for Communication.
Your buyer personas and existing customers can also tell you at which platform you need to work on more. Are your customers gen Z who are most likely to contact you using social media such as Facebook or Instagram? Do your customers belong to older generations who are still using SMS on some Nokia Phones or composing hand-written letters to you?
Now that you have a deeper understanding of what your customers expect from your customer service, start thinking about new opportunities to reinvigorate your offering and find any possibilities to bring it to the next level. For example:
- Phone service 24/7
- Fast Shipping
- Highly-trained experts in customer service
- Omnichannel Supporting platforms.
2. Identify your Support Team’s values
If a big organization succeeds when everyone resonates with solid company values, the smaller team thrives when working towards collective goals.
When you are thinking of your team's values, think big. Behave as though you can influence your customers' lives forever and boost your company's revenues with ease.
Begin by sketching a lengthy list of values that explain how each day, the team aspires to deliver meaningful change to customers. Dwindle the list from there to five or fewer values. Also, do not forget to make your values easy to recall and comprehend
The team at The FruitGuys, for example, names their customer service philosophy “The 5Rs: respectful, responsive, realistic, responsible, and positively remembered.”, which makes it incredibly easy to remember and follow.
3. Make a bold vision statement for your values
When you’ve done filtering down your team's principles to five or less, it’s time to create an appropriate concept statement of customer service.
This statement should be clear, concise, straightforward. Your statement encapsulates everything that renders your strategy distinctive, as well as the way in which it helps your clients. This statement should be positive and descriptive, motivate your buyers, and place you ahead of the curve.
This statement should serve as a guiding light for the teams in your organization. A definite statement of customer service philosophy will inspire any team member to delight your customers by doing his or her part.
You may try giving everyone on your team a survey asking one question: “What do you want our customers to think about the service we provide?” Then, use the answers to see which words are found the most frequently. These frequent and repeated words will be the foundation on which you build your value statement.
Universal Health Services has an excellent Customer Service Statement that you may want to look at:
“To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.”
4. Break Down Your Vision into Guidelines
If the foundation has been developed, extend it by determining how your vision and values apply to actual, everyday practice.
The COO of Hatch Applications, Amelia Friedman, believes that you need to go further than just naming values to unite a team around a shared philosophy. After all, guides must be actionable.
Friedman recommends contemplating your values via these five questions:
- What does this value mean to your team?
- What will it turn out when put into practice?
- How may it be wrongly interpreted?
- How do you measure your staff’s compliance with it?
- How is it going to affect your experiences or relationships with customers?
Companies also emphasize metrics such as speed without taking into consideration if this is consistent with their principles. Although being speedy is essential, sometimes, leading to first response time may ignore the consumer experience's more basic facets.
You’ll also want to decide which metrics fit the philosophy of customer service.
- 15 Key SaaS Metrics That Every Business Should Care About
- Performance Metrics: Definition, Types & Examples
You will empower team members to make strides every day by establishing transparent metrics around the philosophy instead of trying to access their performance with malformed metrics.
5. Share your philosophy
Now that you have an admirable statement of customer service philosophy in mind, you may want to share it with your circles.
Here are some of the main ways you can convey your customer service philosophy to the world.
- In your interactions The best place to share your customer service philosophy is in your interactions with customers. Your buyers will be very impressed if you put your philosophy into practice.
You don’t want to fall into those organizations who are good at speaking but struggle at delivering the promises.
In your ads A solid, validated customer service philosophy offers a variety of resources for marketing and advertisement. It can give your customer service a significant competitive edge that can help you draw new clients.
On your platforms.
Several organizations decide to share their customer service philosophy on their platforms. Furthermore, a dedicated section of the website will draw new potential buyers and offer advantages to SEO simultaneously.
- Word of mouth
Real friends’ recommendations are the fastest way to gain more prestige. People now believe more in the words their peers or employers have said than some strangers’ feedbacks on the Internet.
Since credibility is significant, you want to make sure that your business's positive news is shared by your clients, not the negative ones. To this end, you may want to try everything to keep your customers satisfied.
And when you have made them happy, pause for a second and think about the opportunities you have generated for referral marketing. Remember that negative words propagate 3x more quickly than positive comments.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs: On average, an unhappy customer complains to between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
6. Walk the Talk
For a team to indeed adopt a philosophy of customer service, executives need to regularly demonstrate the exact values they expect their teams to embrace.
For example, if a support leader defines “transparency” as an essential attribute to their staff, they must be honest about what is going on in the business internally.
If a support leader wants their staff to be “always kind to the customers” they need to be kind to their staff. It is improbable for a deprived, under-supported, and overburdened Customer Service team to be supportive and compassionate to consumers.
Some extra tips to make your customer service extraordinary
1. Be available & Make self-service a part of your philosophy
90% of customers prefer complete omnichannel solutions, according to NICE inContact. So that’s why you need to make sure that your team is readily available to respond to clients on any platform at any moment.
Needless to say, you have a winning formula if you can offer both great service and great speed.
Also, if you offer them a low-effort way of supporting themselves, your customers are actually happy and more likely to repurchase.
This is why we’re such big advocates of low-effort customer service strategies like a well-planned knowledge base with informative articles or a FAQ sites.
So, you should include self-service in your Philosophy of customer service.
2. Your customers are your first and foremost priority:
Undoubtedly, you were all in a situation where a restaurant served you poorly, and the service you were given was not at all worth your hard-earned pennies. So, try to put yourself, particularly in difficult times, in someone else’s shoes. If someone is giving you poor customer service, would you like it?
Fifty-one percent of respondents said they were not likely to do business with the company again if they feel disrespected.
The customers’ satisfaction is the main source of income for the hospitality industry. When it comes to the philosophy of customer service, customer experience has to be put first.
After all, high-quality customer service is what clients mostly expect, and it is the minimum you can give them. 86% of clients would contribute more to the company that offers better support, according to a study.
So, put your money into your staff’s training since the difference between losing or keeping a client all boils down to your staffs’ ways of delivering the service.
3. Think like you are your customer
You may need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about how you’d like to respond to these problems.
Would you like to write an email to describe your problem? Not often, so allow users the chance to live chat or post a screenshot of their problem with ease.
Would you want to be disregarded and wonder if your issue is being addressed? Probably not. Not all complaints can be fixed overnight, but a short message to let the consumer know you’re digging into it can help in many situations.
Do you like waiting three long days for a response? Probably not.
It’s trivial, but something as easy as showing a little sensitivity will help you build a Customer Service Philosophy combining your needs properly to handle costs with your customers’ needs to get help.
4. Concentrate on a consistent experience
Your customers should be feeling consistent with any encounters with your brand. Particularly where customer service is involved, it is crucial to ensure that brand engagement remains familiar. No matter a customer uses a self-service platform, such as a FAQ or Support page, or talks with a customer service representative.
A few tips for you to enhance consistency.
- Ensure the same language register of your conversation across various networks (For example, formal or informal)
- Keep the identity and design consistent. Visiting a FAQ page or self-service help page should not feel like a whole different website.
5. Respect your customers
Respect is an incredibly necessary aspect of any excellent customer service. Even if your customers are incorrect about certain things, you must always respect them by paying attention to what your customers have to say and giving them the accurate information. And your customers will feel more appreciated.
6. Be honest
No one likes being lied to. If you’re not sure how to resolve an issue at the moment, it’s perfectly alright to let the customer know that you will get in contact with them right after gathering all the details needed to solve the problem.
Or, if you make a mistake, tell them that you’re apologetic. A quick apology may not be enough, but it was you who first did something wrong, not the customer. Please ensure you do everything in your capacity, such as providing discounts, coupons to retain them. Also, recruiting first-time customers’ needs a lot more time and expense than maintaining the existing ones, so you do not want to risk losing your clients.
7. Issue-centric or customer-centric?
Companies with issue-centric philosophies are designed to solve specific problems on each separate case. Each case is its own incident, independent from the person with the issue.
In contrast, customer-centered philosophies will focus on both the incidents and the individuals instead of divorcing the problems from the consumers. To this end, you need to incorporate things such as:
- Supporting histories
- External Notes
By defining which approach you want to follow before you start, it will be easier to create instructions for your staff.
Examples of customer service philosophy for you to learn
If you’re hoping to develop a clear culture of customer service, you should look for advice from some of the best businesses in the world. Let’s have a peek at some of these philosophies’ finest cases...
Disney’s customer service philosophy is really an excellent role model For any leader. Disney is acclaimed as one of the greatest customer service providers. Disney’s outstanding customer service is the culmination of a thoroughly constructed and strictly executed strategy.
The business strives to excel in five main areas that include consumer interactions: well-being, entertainment, reliability, stability, and comfort. Disney works on all five fields in order to cover all points and give consumers an enjoyable experience.
Key takeaway: As you build your customer service philosophy, thoroughly understand your customers and their needs. Identify, for instance, which is the main thing that will keep your customers happy.
Zappos became one of the greatest success stories in e-commerce worldwide. In 1999, the shoe store introduced its service. It has cemented a great reputation as an e-commerce superstar since then.
The excellent work of its devoted customer loyalty team is a compelling reason for the company’s success.
Below are some key features of Zappos’ customer service philosophy.
- Easy-to-find contact details
- Infinite call times
- Courteous support representatives
- No scripted answers
- Call Center 24/7
- Return policy up to a year.
- Free delivery and returns
- No upsales.
Key takeaway: You need to think about how you can make your remote customer service as relaxed and likable as possible if you are running an e-commerce or SaaS network.
Nordstrom is a popular department store located in both the United States and Canada. This business establishes a plain, transparent dedication to customer service that fosters faith in its customers:
As well as the business's reputation, the company places a heavy focus on its willingness to satisfy all customers.
Key takeaway: Highlight the long-standing essence of your contribution to outstanding customer service. This technique will impress the clients and make them feel like their money is in safe hands.
In the hospitality industry, customer service is everything. Hotels, restaurants, and other companies are vying to deliver truly touching products that at any step thrill consumers.
The Ritz-Carlton has one of the best customer service models. The Gold Standards of Ritz-Carlton is the key to the quality of Ritz-Carlton?
Such standards serve as the backbone for the whole organization, and they embody the company’s customer-first philosophies. Ritz-Carlton has three Customer Service steps of service:
- Give a genuine and friendly greeting.
- Anticipate and satisfy all wishes of each visitor (Use the guest’s name)
- Give a warm goodbye (again, use the name of the guest.)
Key takeaway: Pay attention to the small, basic steps that will lay the groundwork for a tremendous customer-centric philosophy.
Amazon is one of the world's wealthiest corporations, but it hasn’t lost sight of what truly counts: the loyalty of consumers.
“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”
Key takeaway: In order to promote transparency and customer loyalty, make customer service an essential aspect of your mission and vision statements.
One of the most significant business priorities is undoubtedly consumer loyalty. Yeah, attracting clients and keeping them pleased and fulfilled with the services or goods you deliver is challenging. But that is achievable with a strong customer service philosophy, as it would inspire the customer service staff to go the extra mile for the customers continually.
In the end, you can use Customer Service Philosophy to shape your actual customer care activities and offer a practical and reliable level of support to your customers. And, if you are working in the hospitality industry, that is a must!