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The Importance of Developing a Customer Service Policy

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            Customers deserve a strong policy that guarantees the quality of service that has been promised. It is not only good for business to consumer relationships, but also for business to business relationships. To improve the adoption and implementation of such policy, employees need to have training and be clear on customer service policies and guidelines that can be followed.

            A strong customer service policy is the backbone of a business. It is a commitment to taking care of the customer which in turn can lead to product differentiation and further business opportunities. 

            To many organizations in its infancy, customer satisfaction can be easier accomplish since the owner, who often has more “skin in the game”, may be more engaged in all parts of the activities and may have fewer pieces moving. 

            This starts to become difficult as the organization grows, and the different parts of the processes and systems begin to face challenges, failures, and difficulty scaling up. To help facilitate the customer service policy aspects of it, CRM tools and clear processes are essential.

Send a Clear Message to all Stakeholders

            To ensure smoother customer service, it is important to have a clear message to all stakeholders: not only the employees but the suppliers, managers, and the customers themselves.

  • Suppliers – Clarify expectations, incentives, and disincentive schemes on their contracts. Build and partially exemplify to the supplier the type of steps that the organization takes to ensure the quality of their service or good is acceptable to its clients.
  • Managers – Demonstrate clear expectations towards management and strive to impartiality in all aspects of managerial work. Where viable, build incentives and bonus structures that validate profitability and customer satisfaction.
  • Customers – Be clear on what the products and/or services the customer receive entails and direct them to the relevant customer policy if appropriate.

Employee Guideline

            Organizations need to create guidelines for employees to follow. It cannot just say what is to be done if there is a problem, it should also include information on how the specific set of actions will be done. Employees often run into problems when policy guidelines are vague and hard to understand. As such, it is important to ensure clarity and user friendliness when designing said policies.

            It is also possible to use incentive mechanisms to ensure company’s interests align. Even though it may be imperative that employees should want to provide superior customer service some of them may need some encouragement or the incentive mechanisms currently present stimulate a behaviour that does not align with customer satisfaction.

            For example, employees at a call center might be pushed to keep their calls under 1 to 2 minutes, however, that might cause employees to be pressed to quickly finish their call with clients without properly assessing/ solving the situation. This can lead to further losses in customer service.

            Balancing the differing interests is a challenge that every employer and employee has. A strong employee guideline helps to counter-act some of the inefficiencies that may exist.

Employee Involvement

            There are many challenges and opportunities that can only be found by talking to employees. Unfortunately, without asking and having the right environment for employees to raise issues without impacting broader performance, the quality and throughput of information will be lessened. It is important to note that issues that arise may not be solvable today, but it does provide a track record of cases that can help solidify a buy-in for a new solution in the future.

            For example, many organizations such as banks have found that the 80/20 rule often applies to customer complaints. This means that once the right set of technology is available (e.g. website self-service, telephone support assistance robot and others), it is possible to cut down on the cost of providing customer support without necessarily impacting quality as much.

            More importantly, many employees do want to see their own ideas work out and be recognized. It is often to the benefit of the organization to set up incentive mechanisms that reward innovation and good quality solutions.  A customer service policy can bring clarity into overall processes, employee behaviour, and ensure the company’s bread and butter, the client, is well taken care of.

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