HOW TO WRITE THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN IN 2022
If you have assisted in one of my marketing training sessions, you have already heard me saying:
“Customer service is about delivering basic customer service right, rather than trying to delight customers”
Yes, that’s right: “delighting” customers is not as effective as you may have imagined it.
An elemental psychological reason is behind this:
People value far more a “solving” hand when an issue arises that prevents them from the effective use or enjoyment of your brand rather than unexpected “over-the-top”, non-requested and non-necessary support.
I am not the only one proposing it.
You can find the same idea – backed up by studies and research – in these three best-selling books:
- The challenger sale: Taking control of the customer conversation
- The effortless experience: Conquering the new battleground for customer loyalty
- The challenger customer: Selling to the hidden influencer who can multiply your results.
Understanding this is one of the most fundamental steps before crafting a winning customer service strategy and plan.
BEFORE YOU WRITE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN
Customer Service may report to different departments: marketing, sales, logistics, operations, administration or risk management.
But one factor is clear: the job your customer care team performs will influence your marketing results.
Therefore, whether you are using the 4 p’s of the marketing mix model or another marketing strategy framework to aim for marketing success, you should include your customer service plan as happy customers will get you closer to your marketing and business goals: more sales, more profits and a boost in brand equity.
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CUSTOMER SERVICE METRIC
Many enterprise customer service managers report on the number of phone call enquiries resolved or the number of email complaints successfully dealt with.
But those are “vanity” metrics.
They distract you from the most important objective in customer service: reduce customer effort!
Building a robust, effective and effortless self-service process should be the pillar of your customer service strategy where customers can easily and effectively find solutions to their issues and challenges by themselves, from anywhere, at any time without the need to call you or email you.
Some of the top benefits of effortless self-service include:
- Reduces your overall customer support costs
- Educates customers on how to better utilise your offering at scale
- Pass great insights to product development and marketing teams.
One of the main challenges with self-service technology is that customers are not equally educated to use it.
Some may find your self-service easy to use, while others will find it too complicated to navigate.
Using AI and other tools, your self-service tech provider should determine where and how to redirect customers to other channels: LiveChat, phone calls, etc.
But it is not just about effortless self-service.
It is also about launching to market products and services that are effortless to use – intuitive at their core – so people do not need to call you to figure out how to fully use them/enjoy them, maintain them, etc.
2. FIND OUT YOUR BRAND PROMISE
Your marketing (brand) promise is the commitment you have made to your customers.
That commitment is the assurance and guarantee customers feel when buying your offering. If your customer service/support does not align with that emotional contract, you then either have to improve your customer support or change the brand promise.
As per the Customer Service Strategic Planning graph below, the process of prospecting and closing a sale is part of the product delivery and therefore, your customer support policies/procedures should facilitate the process customers have to go through when buying your offer.
👍🏼 Tip: Watch for words that convey expectations on your organisation’s code of ethics & values, mission and vision statements. The words you have on your marketing materials, corporate website and social media channels are already creating expectations in customers’ minds. Words such as: “quality, satisfaction, best, energetic, different, friendly, fun, healthy, sustainable, premium, simple, trustworthy, latest, innovative, youthful” should align with the way you offer customer service too.
3. UNDERSTAND CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS UP-FRONT
Top reasons to understand customer’s expectations upfront:
- Fulfil and/or exceed those expectations.
- Help customers align false expectations before they get off the track down the road.
- Give some insights into particular needs that were not addressed in the sales process.
- Opportunity to increase your team’s upsell ability and combat potential complaints down the road before they fire.
- Offer insights into additional products and services you could provide.
- Give you insights on how to “wow” customers.
Tip: map out different journeys for different customers. This process will help you anticipate enquiries and offer solutions in advance and at scale.
For example, you could automate the below actions for all new customers:
- An email on how to interpret their monthly bill.
- Automatic reminders to watch video tutorials on how to successfully install the new product.
- Suggested “next steps” so new customers know what they should do for a seamless experience.
WHAT DOES INFURIATE PEOPLE THE MOST?
Below are some of the things you want to avoid when drafting your customer service journeys:
- Customers resent having to contact the company repeatedly (or be transferred) to get an issue resolved.
- Having to repeat personal information.
- Having to switch from one service channel to another. For example, needing to call after trying unsuccessfully to solve a problem through a live chat or FAQ page.
Note: In Japan, there is a concept called: Oshibori which is a never-ending process of designing delightful experiences. Customers might expect a new type of Oshibory: one that is unscented, or from organic fabric, not too cold, not too hot, plastic free or not even handed, just there ready for you. Oshibori is one of the fuels for business success but delighting will not work if your basic customer support is not delivered effectively and at the right time.
4. DELIVER OPTIMAL MESSAGES FOR SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS’ PERSONALITIES AND EMOTIONS
Emotional disconnects between customers and customer support staff are common in organisations that have not crafted a professional customer service plan yet.
- A potential customer does not really value, understand or trust the information presented by a sales representative.
- A customer didn’t like the answer given by a customer support representative and was left with the impression an outdated company policy was behind the answer.
With some basic training, your customer service team members can eliminate many interpersonal issues and thereby reduce repeat calls.
Customer service training should include:
- How to listen for clues to a customer’s personality type. The quicker you can assess whether you are talking to a “controller,” a “thinker,” a “feeler,” or an “entertainer,” and tailor your responses accordingly, the better you can provide detail and speed appropriate for the personality type. This strategy has proven to reduce repeat calls for some companies.
- Look at past call transcripts and pinpoint words that tend to trigger negative reactions and drive repeat calls—words like “can’t,” “won’t,” and “don’t”—and train your team on alternate phrasing. For example, instead of saying: “We don’t have it in stock” you could say: “The good news is the item will be ready to be dispatched in two weeks” Through such simple changes in language, you can lower your customer effort scores.
- How to create “positive” experiences out of potential “disappointing” ones. For example, a customer who wants to book your service for an unavailable time may be happy when you provide a couple of compelling reasons why other times may fit better with the current customer’s needs. To be great at this, you will have to train your team at finding out more about the top reasons customers want to book your service. This strategy can result in a decrease in repeat enquiries.
5. CHECK OUT THE LATEST CUSTOMER SERVICE TRENDS
As companies do not publicly offer customer service data, the best indicator is to have a look at social media conversations and customers’ opinions found on “review” sites telling customer experiences and the latest trends in key industries.
When you have policies and procedures for handling customer complaints, customers are more likely to receive the same treatment. Customer service procedures are the step-by-step processes that the support team follows in performing specific tasks for customers.
⭐️ Note: Look into your company’s “Service Terms and Conditions” document before crafting a customer service plan as the “Service Terms and Conditions” document should offer a detailed description of all services offered (What). The customer service plan is a document more for how to best handle customer issues and complaints when something goes wrong (How).
6. CHECK LOCAL GOVERNMENT POLICY REQUIREMENTS
Some local governments may require you to create and publish an accessible customer service plan for people/customers with disabilities. This document can be created and published as a separate document from your general customer service plan.
HOW TO WRITE THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN IN 2022
Learn below how to write the best customer service plan. Write your customer support strategy with these top tips, best ideas and professional advice. Learn how to write a professional customer service plan that boosts your positive customer service reviews with this premium template in Google Docs. You can easily save it as a Word document or PDF. Brought to you by Mau, a Senior Customer Service Specialist at eDigital.
Writing the best professional customer service plan is no easy feat. With an unending list of possible disruptions and stressed customers and staff, it’s no surprise customer service plans live in constant change.
We have reviewed some of the best customer service practices and plans from some of the world’s top brands to bring you this exclusive, premium and professional Customer Service Plan Template so you can get it right.
You are about to discover some of the most important aspects when writing a professional Customer Service Plan.
THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN TEMPLATE IN 2022
This unique and premium Customer Service Plan template will effectively help you map out your objectives/requirements and ensure your team understands your objectives, procedures and goals. The information on your plan will be critical to ensuring your customer service program is successful!
Note: The specific instructions on how to use each section are described within the template.
1. PURPOSE OF THE PLAN
This is a description of the reason for your Customer Service Plan.
Who and what the plan applies to within your company. Example: This procedure applies to all personnel who receive customer calls, contacts or complaints whether written or oral regarding the use of any products/services offered by ABC Company, LLC.
3. CUSTOMER CARE PRINCIPLES
Your customer care principles should be a combination of your company’s values and customer care guidelines. They should be easy to follow and implement; should contain actionable steps and tangible goals. Examples of customer care principles have been added to this exclusive Customer Service Plan template.
- Customer purchase
- Post-Sale Follow Up
- Support and Service Policy
- Customer Complaint Policy
- Customer Refund Request Procedure
5. CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
How regularly are you checking in with your clients, and what are you doing to look after them? It’s far easier to retain a client than get a new one, so it’s important to continually place deposits into their emotional bank account so they feel you care. In fact, the top reason customers leave is because of perceived indifference (they don’t think you care!). Whatever product or service it is that you deliver, make sure it’s delivered seamlessly with the best service possible.
Customers’ feedback such as customer satisfaction surveys and/or suggestions are valuable in assisting your efforts to continually provide the best quality products and service possible. A customer feedback survey shows that you care about your customers’ satisfaction as your primary goal.
We knew what we wanted for our customer service plan. However, we were not sure how to arrange and present the plan. This template solved it!
Emma T. Verified purchaser
6. CUSTOMER RECOVERY
In this section of your plan, you will provide steps and instructions for what to do when customers are angry or dissatisfied and the process of resolving any disputes quickly to ensure customer retention. When something goes wrong when you deliver your promised value, you should learn how to apologise to the customer and then make up for it, otherwise, your disgruntled customers will craft their own plan. And that plan will not include your brand any longer.
TOP TIPS TO EXCEED CUSTOMERS’ EXPECTATIONS AND “WOW” THEM
- Make it easy for customers to contact you. People may have the expectation that they can easily contact you via email or phone. For example, you cannot contact Instagram customer support email or call the Instagram customer service phone number. Instagram has a procedure in its app to make sure people can find the solution via its self-service and if not possible, then people can fill in a form.
- Listen between the lines to deliver what customers really want. When you have carefully crafted your customer experience design and process, you will “wow” customers and they will stay with you longer, spend more and they will talk about the experience to family and friends.
- Be proactive. Anything that is looking like it is not going to meet your customers’ expectations, you need to instantly communicate that to the customer. For example, a deadline is going to get pushed back, then you call them right away, Be upfront with it, talk about it before takes a minute longer in your schedule and make it a top priority. If the product was not delivered in the correct way, if there was some kind of an issue, if there was something missing, if there was a quality issue, you want to be ahead of it, ideally, you want to find this information out before the customer and communicate that to them. What we found is that if you are proactive and honest and you contact the customer in advance and say: “hey this is what happened and I am on it“, typically what they want is just to feel that you have listened to their issue, you are working on it, you have a strategy to improve upon it, if you communicate those things, it actually be an opportunity to earn additional trust and even if you did not meet the expectation for that one particular piece of the service, the fact that you proactively communicate it sort of exceeds expectations to what they normally receive in the general world and win their trust.
- Listen and let them bent. If the customer has an issue and actually does end up contacting you first with some kind of a complaint, the key here is to listen and let them bent. Do not cut them off, let them talk. Let them run through it, sometimes they talk for 20 or 40 minutes straight, before you even say a word and it is totally fine. Let them finish complaining, then cushion, respond with some empathy towards their situation and their complaint, then what you really want is to reiterate and clarify what they have said, make sure you have heard it and understood it, and they feel good about that you have listened and heard that and then present a solution to them and a strategy at that point, and now you have taken them from a critical moment to a more compelling and compassionate where they feel more comfortable about you and your brand. Now you have a real solution in place. The key here is when you come back with the solution, you actually execute it and ensure it solved the issue for the customer.
- Follow up. You can follow up after you come up with the action plan with a gift card or a hand-written note or a quick gift to say: “We are sorry that happened to you, this is a gift card to compensate for the hassle” This type of great customer service follow up will bring them back to a place of confidence about you and your brand and may bring a couple of referrals. Your affected customer may say to others: “This company even when they have a few things miss or make a mistake, they will make it right“
- Confirm you will find a solution. Try to avoid saying to a customer: “I cannot…” or “I do not know…“. If you cannot fix the issue straight away, find someone who can provide a solution/answer, or find someone (supervisor) who can guide a process to find a solution. Anything that you can do to exceed their expectations will be highly appreciated by your customers; even if this means the customer has to wait a bit longer for a solution to be found. Never let the customer feel she/he is not closer to getting a positive resolution.
“When basic customer support fails, customers will punish you badly. If you stop delighting them with unnecessary support, they just do not care. Focus on quickly and effectively solving basic issues preventing customers from fully using or enjoying your brand”
Mau, Global Head of Marketing Strategy at eDigital
- Have answers ready for key peak days. Customers service teams should plan in advance any issues, especially for key days such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Black Friday sales, December sales (Christmas season), January sales, etc.
- Offer self-service or an FAQ section. Before emailing or calling a company, customers search on Google for an answer or a solution to their issue or challenge with your brand. Make sure your offer answers to the most popular or most frequent asked questions.
- Map out your pivot points and “wow” moments. Map out your customer service journey with your product including anything that may go wrong with it (basic support) and how you are going to “wow” them. These actions will:
- Build rapport with your customers.
- Increase up-sellability
- Increase your referral business
Expert tip: a great CRM (customer relationship management software) with custom fields for answering key questions such as: “What’s their expectation” and “How do we exceed this expectation” is ideal. If you record the answers for each customer, you will be more likely to reach your customer loyalty and sales goals.
Minimise cognitive load on your plan
People’s time to read your customer service plan is a precious resource and should be treated accordingly. You can minimise the cognitive load by:
- Avoid visual clutter: redundant links, irrelevant images, and meaningless typography slow readers down. Note that meaningful links, images, and typography are valuable design elements; it is only when overused that these backfire and actually impair the understanding of your plan.
- Build on existing mental models: people already have mental models about customer service programs, based on their past experiences working in customer service teams. When you use labels and layouts that they’ve encountered on other popular customer service plans, you reduce the amount of learning they need to do on your new customer service plan.
- Offload tasks: look for anything in your customer service plan that requires readers to remember information or make a decision. Then look for alternatives: can you show a picture, re-display previously entered information, or set a smart default? You won’t be able to shift all tasks away from users, but every task you eliminate leaves more mental resources for the decisions that truly are essential.
An essential template
This template found us a solution for all necessary specifications we wanted to communicate on our Customer Service Plan. Thank you.
Andrew D. Verified purchaser
GETTING THIS TEMPLATE IS FAST, SECURE AND EASY!
- Complete payment on Paypal
- Click on “return to merchant” to be redirected to the page where you will access your premium template.
Extra bonus > When purchasing your Customer Service Plan Template, you will also receive:
+ ✅ The best Customer Service Brands report. Immediate access to the latest and exclusive consumer research about the top industries and brands offering the best customer experiences. This report offers valuable lessons to be used by Customer Service Managers.
“Only through dedication with a pure heart can you share a special moment with your guest. With this, Sen no Rikyū established the foundations of Japanese Omotenashi. Omotenashi is a selfless approach to receiving guests with a perfect balance of attentive care and unobtrusiveness is achieved to create an intimate environment of trust, relaxation and respect while sharing a moment and leaving an ever-lasting impression.”
After a tough year, brands are finding their feet and learning about how to create new and improved Customer Service Plans in a changing world. Some brands were lucky – they had both the technological set up to support demand, and the demand itself was there. For others, demand for their products and services waned in 2020 and they continue to struggle to grapple with new technologies that could help them re-establish a connection with their customers.
Some of your consumers, customers and clients will praise or punish your organisation and brands. And that’s ok as long as you take the learnings, pivot and offer the best customer service experience possible.
To do that, you will need the best Customer Service Plan.
⚡️ Most views today > How to write a winning apology letter/email to a customer
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HOW TO WRITE A CUSTOMER SERVICE PLAN
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Mau is a certified Facebook, Google Ads, SEO specialist, keynote speaker and one of Australia’s top marketing influencers. Mau offers digital marketing strategy support & training. Mau‘s premium Digital Marketing Plan & Social Media Plan templates are used by thousands of marketers.
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