How to create a great customer service policy
Having a customer service policy ensures that all your employees know exactly what is expected of them, and provides guidelines on how to deliver excellent customer service. Many companies even publish their customer service policies online, so that their customers know the high-quality service the company is committed to.
One of the main aims of a customer service policy is to ensure consistency in customer support. Regardless of when, where or whom they speak to, today’s sophisticated customers want a consistently good customer experience.
Why are customer service policies important?
These are the main reasons a good customer service policy is an essential document for a business that wants to adhere to customer-centric business values:
1. It ensures all your employees are ‘on the same page’
If your company has a clearly worded customer service policy, all your employees will know how to approach and handle customers, resolve their problems, and make them feel valued.
2. It clarifies your business’s customer service goals
By clearly spelling out how you want your employees to behave towards customers, you will ensure that:
- Your employees interact with your customers in a friendly and helpful manner.
- Customer issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.
- Customer feedback is obtained and utilised.
- Your employees know what they’re empowered to do in order to resolve a customer’s issue – such as offer a refund or voucher.
3. It highlights the important cornerstones of your customer-centric service ethos, thus ensuring better CX, fewer complaints and more satisfied customers.
4. It results in happier employees as they feel confident and secure because they know what’s expected of them and how to deliver it.
5. If you make your customer service policy guidelines public, it will let customers know what they can expect. It will assure them of your commitment to giving them the very best service that you can.
What should be included in your customer service policy?
The main part of your customer service policy will consist of guidelines governing how your customer service employees must approach customers and handle specific issues. Some of these will be specific to your business, but there are some general factors to consider:
Your company values
These are very important, as your business’ core values will determine your whole approach to customer service.
The response and resolution time that you promise your customers
How quickly can customers expect to have their issues resolved? When and how will they be able to reach you?
Any business- or industry-specific policies
If you have an ecommerce business, for instance, you need to highlight any rules regarding payment options, shipping, exchanges and returns.
Guidelines to ensure professional interaction with customers
This is at the heart of your customer service policy. It should tell your employees exactly how they should behave when they interact with customers, from how they greet them, to the kind of tone they should use.
How customer feedback should be collected
These guidelines should cover how you will collect customer feedback and how frequently this should be done. Make it clear to your customers how they can contact you, and that you value both positive and negative feedback.
How unhappy customers should be handled
This should not be a grey area. If a customer isn’t satisfied, customer service agents must know what remedies they can suggest. Does the customer get a refund, a replacement item, or a credit note?
Metrics for monitoring performance
Ideally, the performance of your employees should be monitored to see if your customer service policy is effective. Your employees should know this, and they should be rewarded if they do well.
Bonus customer service policy tips
Here are some easy tips to ensure your customer service policy is effective:
- It must be easy to understand! If people can’t understand something, they can’t implement it. Your customer service policy must be clear and logically set out. It must use straightforward, simple, and unambiguous language, and be light on technical jargon.
- It must be specific. Don’t say you will ‘provide fast service’. Rather be specific and promise same-day response, or a reply by email within 24 hours.
- Keep it short, concise, simple and to the point.
People hate wading through reams of ‘stuff’. Condense the gist of your service policy to one or two pages.
- Clearly highlight the goals and basic principles that will impact the customer experience most significantly.
Why customer service policies sometimes fail
If you’ve already implemented a customer service policy, but aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, these are some of the most common reasons:
- Your employees need more training, proper onboarding, and motivation.
- The guidelines aren’t realistic in view of the technology and resources you have available. Ensure that your team has everything they need to meet the objectives set for them.
- Your customer service policy is outdated and no longer fully relevant to your current business circumstances. Remember that a service policy document should keep pace with changes in your organisation. You need to review it on a yearly basis at least.
A positive, empowering, and inspiring customer service policy is an effective way to uphold high standards in your organisation. It should grow logically from your company goals, and embody concrete and realistic ways to achieve them.
Now that you know what goes into crafting a great customer service policy, it’s clear that you’ll also need highly skilled support staff to implement it – and that’s where Digital Customer Care can help! We offer world class, multilingual customer support, tailored to your unique business and clients. Find out more.