10 Key Customer Service Principles
Strong customer service principles are core to any company – and, in terms of customer expectations, the customer experience is often a key factor in winning repeat customers or losing them.
With the field of customer service being so broad, we’re narrowing the best practices down to 10 key principles. In this blog, we’ll be discussing what the key customer service principles are and how you could apply them to elevate your brand’s reputation and boost customer loyalty.
As always, if you require any support, don’t hesitate to get connected with Sigma Connected. We’re a people company that does things a little differently. With deep sector expertise, our reputation is in delivering the best possible customer experience for businesses like yours.
But, how to do this? Let’s first quickly cover the basics…
What are customer service principles?
Customer service principles are the pillars that shape how your business handles its customer service. They’re crucial in today’s business landscape. Not only do they influence how customers see your brand but also can impact their purchasing decisions.
Ultimately, for your business and its reputation to thrive, a greater emphasis on customers and customer satisfaction is required.
The introduction of customer service principles can help guide your team to achieve positive customer feedback that ultimately helps retain customers and, what’s more, attracts new interest.
So, let’s talk specifics. Here are 10 key principles to help your team boost your business’s customer support.
10 key principles of customer service
It goes without saying that customer service is an integral aspect that all businesses, regardless of industry, need to consider. At Sigma Connected, we’re experts at handling customer communications and have put together our tried-and-tested recommendations to consider for your business.
1. Your staff are brand ambassadors
When communicating with customers, the customer support team acts as an extension of your company and can therefore be utilised as brand ambassadors. Having a good understanding of your product or service, key messaging, and core values will not only enhance your customer service but help to build a positive brand image.
In a competitive marketplace, exceptional customer support is what can make your business stand out from the crowd – which is what you need if you are looking to give your business a competitive edge.
2. Provide a human experience
Sometimes a human touch is all that customers need. A customer service professional should be empathetic to customers’ issues, with an eagerness and enthusiasm to help people, as well as a willingness to continuously learn. Build loyalty with customers, not simply providing a service but also support.
Giving your customer the choice by offering them a human experience as well as having a variety of digital communication channels (including chatbots) is a great idea. Let your customers choose.
3. Speed of response
When customers face issues or have enquiries, they want these to be solved and answered as quickly as possible. This means that a time-efficient response from your customer service team is required – customers are more likely to forgive you if you recover a situation promptly.
Whether it is email, phone call, via chat or other means – a quick response leads to happier customers and increasing the likelihood of customers purchasing from you again.
4. Be transparent
When it comes to customer service, avoid giving your customers misleading information and advice.
Transparency is key. If a complex issue can’t be solved by your team, let them know this, but also make sure that your representatives know where to direct the customer’s issue so that they don’t leave with no solution at all.
By being open, your team is expressing to customers that they’re human too, so encourage your customer support representatives to be transparent and to not be afraid of admitting to customers that they’re unable to fix a particular issue, but (and most importantly!) they know who will be able to help.
5. Show customers you care
Effective customer service prioritises empathy. Putting active listening into practice is essential when it comes to providing excellent customer service, so ensure that your team is trained on how to actively listen to customers’ queries and problems.
Encourage your team to identify and respond to the tone of the query. If your customer is particularly emotional, ensure your customer service agents understand how to calmly and effectively resolve the situation for them.
6. Encourage customer autonomy
Where customers are able and want to self-serve, it can be incredibly beneficial. Incorporate self-service options such as chatbots, an FAQs page, and even a centralised database of knowledge and information about your company and its products and services.
7. Be consistent (introduce guidelines)
Empower your customer support team with top customer service skills so that they’re able to help customers time and time again. Consistency is key so establish standard processes and procedures that your team must follow.
This can be taught during training programmes when onboarding new employees, establishing solution-oriented guidelines to be followed, which in turn lead to a reliably competent experience for customers, no matter who the representative is.
Guidelines help to reduce inconsistencies in how your employees interpret their roles, but they also speed up their ability to resolve issues quickly as they don’t need to deviate or improvise to find a solution.
8. Take ownership
Accountability will help you earn your customers’ respect and loyalty. Understand and offer empathy to customers and most of all take ownership. Using ‘I’ phrases such as ‘I know this must be frustrating for you. I’m here to help you fix it’.
Customers want to feel listened to and heard, so make sure that your customer support team is able to do this.
9. Make yourself available
When customers suddenly face issues or have questions about a brand’s products or services, they will automatically look for ways to make contact to resolve their issue. It may already be frustrating for the customer as it is, but struggling to find a way to get in touch with customer support also adds extra stress on top of this!
As a result, offering clear access to customer support options, be it on your website or app, is a great way to decrease customers’ frustrations and stress. Having multiple channels of communication is also a good idea – email, phone call, chatbot, enquiry forms, live chat, and even a FAQs page that are all highly visible can be advantageous for your company.
The speed of which issues can be communicated and then solved can definitely boost overall efficiency and productivity of your business’ customer support.
10. Utilise customer feedback
Whenever possible, encourage your team to ask for customer feedback – a survey at the end of a support session or asking questions throughout the session are good ways to do this. Knowing what could be improved on, what customers like and dislike about your service, already puts you ahead of your competition.
Whilst gathering customer feedback is great on its own, any recommendations must be put into action to further improve your customer service handling, customer experience, and boost customer loyalty.
How Sigma Connected can improve your customer service
When it comes to customer service principles, putting them into practice can be challenging. Fortunately, by outsourcing to Sigma Connected, we can help enhance your business’ customer service.
Our customer service professionals are well-versed in the principles of customer experience and will ingrain themselves deep within your company culture, so you can rest assured that we can provide excellent customer service on behalf of your business.
If you have any questions about our customer contact and service centre solutions or would like to learn more about what we do, get connected with us and a member of our team will be happy to assist you with this.