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3 Key Elements of Customer Service

January 17, 2020

There are many elements that make up great customer service. Tracking metrics, using the right technology, and prioritizing availability across channels are all strategies that go a long way towards creating great experiences.

The thing is, these aspects differ across companies because they depend on what business you're in, the size of your team, and your customers' expectations.

That said, there are a few foundational things that all service teams should be focused on. Metrics and processes are bound to vary, but these 3 elements of customer service help lay the groundwork that companies can build great teams from.

Hire great communicators

Any rep should have a strong understanding of the product they're supporting, and have the technical aptitude to troubleshoot any complex issues that customers may face when using it. Reps who create great customer experiences aren't separated by those things - it's their ability to communicate that sets them apart.

Great communication starts with active listening. Reps who are able to fully understand customer challenges will always deliver better service than those who rely on a call script, or search for "canned" solutions. That's why it's important to find reps who can listen, ask clarifying questions, and find the root cause of issues.

Give reps some autonomy

While every team is bound to have a set of quick resolutions that address common customer problems, the majority of great service happens in the grey. Companies that create strict policies that dictate reps' actions are missing out on a huge opportunity - enabling their teams to create more human experiences.

Companies that get this right know how to offer guardrails that empower reps rather than hinder them. For example, Ritz-Carlton allows it's reps to spend up to $2,000 to resolve customer problems. That decision makes sense for them, given that their average customer spends $250,000 over the course of their relationship with the company.

While that strategy wouldn't work for many businesses, the principle is sound. Rep empowerment is one of the key elements of customer service.

Look for feedback

If your goal is to deliver great service to your customers, shouldn't you get their opinion on how you're doing?

Customer feedback is one of the most important elements of customer service, not just because it can help you measure performance, but also because it helps identify specific areas for improvement. When you notice patterns in qualitative feedback, such as comments about response times or feedback about specific resolutions, you can make adjustments that benefit all of your customers.

It's worth noting that the best time to collect feedback is right after closing out a ticket with a customer. When the experience is fresh in their mind, not only are they more likely to agree to provide their feedback, the notes they have will be more specific and actionable.

To wrap-up

While there are many elements of customer service that determine how interactions are viewed, companies that hire great communicators, give them autonomy, and seek out customer feedback give themselves the best chance to consistently deliver great experiences.

Once that foundation is laid, any business-specific metrics or processes that are implemented hold that much more weight.

 

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