It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.
— Vince Lombardi
Delight customers with your Customer Service Protocol: train your employees and build guidelines to deliver superior service
In customer service, there are many different ways to interact with customers. Having a customer service protocol (CSP) streamlines the way an organization responds to its customers, and helps the customer service team stay on the same page.
Very rarely is it prudent for a customer service representative to “wing it” when interacting with a customer — there must be an official set of guidelines for any given scenario. Preparing a CSP document for your organization will help minimise inconvenience among your customers, and at the same time, will help protect your CS team and resources through defined responsibilities and procedural context.
Here are 4 guidelines for creating your CSP:
1. Define your organizational structure
The Organizational Structure gives a more accurate visual representation of how roles and responsibilities work within the department. Harvard Business Review emphasises how poor Organizational Structure results in confusion and absence of coordination among roles. Thus, creating a clearly defined structure and tasking will help everyone know where and how they fit within the overall system while eliminating vagueness on roles. In creating Customer Service Protocols, collaborative effort is vital. Both customer service employees and managers need to work together and seek counsel from one another, laying both perspectives in the business’s CSP document. Sit and talk about it, schedule online sessions designated purely for CSP formulation.
2. Establish clear procedures
Protocols explain how things should be performed, making it a lot easier to learn, especially for new employees. Write concisely and use statements that are easy to understand. Comprehensive writing style should be considered in this aspect; standford.edu accentuates the value of choosing your words deliberately when writing; thus, using straightforward terms rather than unnecessary fancy jargon. In creating a smooth communication line, processes are expected to be explicitly stated. Having clear procedural information results in consistency, accountability, and efficiency in customer service operations.
3. Use the right software
Full-text procedure — CSP is a wordy document since it contains a specific procedural form for your customer service representatives. You can continuously adapt a flowchart into the different sections of your CSP to make it look more exciting and easy to understand– primarily catering to visual learners. There are also templates available with a fee, but I would highly recommend drafting an original CSP. As mentioned earlier, writing style plays a crucial role in this document and considering that creating full-text procedures is very tedious; you can check out several grammar and readability checkers available online.
Flowcharting — You can make a process easy to understand at a glance with the use of Flowcharts. Using just a few words and simple symbols, they show clearly what happens at each stage and how this affects other decisions and actions. Visual Paradigm shares a spectrum of information on basic flowcharting symbols that can be used for business processes. This technique helps to clarify complex methods, using keywords helping to break down steps.
CRM software — There are existing Customer Relation Management software that your businesses can use at a fair cost. Investing in this drives your business to understand your customers better; organising and presenting data can lead to more effective customer service. Documentation instils confidence within the organisation, and having so can also help formulate a more aligned CSP–by gathering data about your customers, their complaints, and other customer-related interactions.
Illustrations and videos — It would be fun to integrate aesthetic graphics on top of flowcharts and engaging videos, making the company’s CSP more fun and interactive. You can be resourceful with this particular tool as you tap into your employees’ hidden creativity skills. This collaboration will strengthen and boost your team and create a more interesting CSP tool for training.
4. Prepare contingency plans
When creating Customer Service Procedures, it should include instructions to deal with multiple situations, especially when things are not happening according to plan, or even dealing with irritable or aggressive customers. Problem-solving and service recovery is an essential feature of a Customer Service Protocol. Providing a comprehensive resource is optimal for deepening customer relationships; primarily when mistakes are made, service recovery protects valued relationships. Service breakdowns significantly impact customer trust and satisfaction. Hence CSP comes in for representatives to be guided as they perform service recovery.
Customer Service Protocol is conceived for Guidance and Learning. As your business grows, the process becomes more critical. There will be a need for further documentation, leading to more customer interactions and multiple communication, thus opening room for error. For more effective Customer Service Relations, explicit protocols are vital to maintaining good shape processes, making everyone in the team get on the right track.