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To make sure that your customers are receiving the best service that your business has to offer, you should consider creating a bespoke customer service model. Having this in place will ensure that your staff knows what to do when a complaint comes in and how they can deal with it in a professional manner.
There isn’t a set customer service model that works for every business. Instead, you’ll need to create one that’s specifically for your business, based on how you sell your products (e.g online vs. in-store) and what your company values are. Ultimately, the model should focus on increasing customer satisfaction while also reducing the chance of customer dissatisfaction.
Below, we’ve outlined how you can create this model, what should be included and how it can be implemented in the workplace.
What should a customer service model include?
A customer model is a plan that should be put in place to determine how your business will deal with unsatisfied customers and complaints. It should outline the strategies that cover what to do in certain situations. The model should also include how you will get customer feedback and what you will do with it, how your business will retain unhappy customers, and how you will ensure that your customer service policies are kept up to date, and how these will meet the customers’ needs. Essentially, it’s a strategy that’s in place to ensure your business maintains outstanding customer service.
Firstly, you will need to brainstorm the kinds of problems or complaints your business might receive. Perhaps a customer’s item didn’t arrive or it was delivered damaged. Maybe the customer felt that the product they received wasn’t as good quality as described on your website. You will need to think about what practices you will put in place to rectify the problem faced by the customer. If the item doesn’t arrive, will you send out a new one at no additional cost? If they’re not happy with the product, what will you provide them to change their perspective? You could give them a partial refund or you might offer them a discount off their next order. Putting strategies like these in place will help turn unhappy customers into happy ones – something that your business will rely on.
You also should think about developing a clear strategy to deal with customer complaints. You will need to decide exactly how complaints will be dealt with and who will handle them. Do you have a customer service team who deals with all incidents? Or perhaps you have one person that will be dealing with the customers and working to resolve their issues. Alternatively, you might hire an external company to deal with all the customer service phone calls.
No matter how you structure the model, or what aspects you do or don’t include, the main aim of it is to turn a negative customer experience into a neutral or a positive one. In contrast, you could aim to turn a neutral experience into a positive one as well. The model should aim to improve the customer experience rather than making it worse.
Types of customer service model
Of course, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ customer service model that all businesses should adopt. Instead, businesses must analyse their own specific needs and requirements, and create a bespoke model that is not only effective, but is also feasible to deliver. However, in order to help you decide what type of model might work best for your business, there are a number of categories it pays to be aware of. Customer service solution model examples include:
These customer service models involve minimal human contact, instead relying on technology for all customer interactions. Tech-based models may well make use of live-chat customer service solutions and chatbots, rather than call centres, for example. While this approach requires significant data collection in order to work effectively – making it expensive to set up – the future efficiencies can make it highly effective for certain businesses.
As the name suggests, low-touch models also do not require much human interaction. These models will tend to use a high level of automation in the form of live chat functions, chatbots and other online troubleshooters. However, they will also integrate a small number of human advisors into their processes. These human agents complement and maintain the automated tools, and can also interact directly with customers if and when required.
Mid-touch models rely more heavily on direct human interaction when it comes to customer service processes. Instead of leaning on automated solutions, models using this approach will primarily implement solutions managed by human agents. Businesses using this model might, for example, place a high emphasis on human call centres in place of chatbots and/or online chat functions.
Finally, high-touch customer service models require the largest amount of human contact. High-quality, native-based call centres and even face-to-face interactions with clients will be prioritised over any automated customer service solutions. These models are best suited to premium brands that want to provide a high-value service, regardless of the cost. They are also suited to businesses that provide products/services that may require highly complex/detailed support. A good example of this could be Apple’s ‘Genius Bar’. This customer service solution offers in-person customer support and repairs for Apple products and is provided by highly-trained staff.
Remember – if you are struggling to select a model type, there is nothing to prevent your business from taking inspiration from the successes of other organisations. On the contrary, given the correct circumstances, emulating the successes of your competitors’ customer service models is a great way to improve the customer experience your business can offer quickly and effectively.
How can you put a customer service model in place?
Now you’ve identified what needs to go in your model, but you need to put it into practice – but how will you go about this?
Firstly, your staff will need to be trained so that they can adhere to the model that’s been put in place. If any problems do arise, they’ll be able to handle the situation based on the customer service policies you’ve applied.
Secondly, your business should offer multiple channels so that your customers can easily contact you. Telephone and email are the standard lines of communication that every business should have. However, social media and live online chats are a popular option that are often chosen by businesses. Ideally, you should have a strong social media presence to ensure that customers are aware of your company’s social channels. This will show them that they can contact you on there, as well as by telephone or email. A live chat is also beneficial to customers who may not be able to use a phone but they want an instant response. With a live chat, the customer knows that a service representative is there and able to talk to them. Ensuring that your customers can easily contact you is an important part of making your model work.
How to monitor customer service
If you’ve been implementing your customer service model for a while, you will need to start monitoring it. By tracking it, you can ensure that customer queries are being seen to and problems are being solved, instead of being brushed to one side.
You could organise a regular meeting with your customer service staff or the staff member that is in charge of dealing with customer complaints. They will be able to fill you in on the previous week’s calls, how many calls they had, how many calls were solved, etc.
The best way to ensure that your customers are happy is to ask them to fill in a survey. This could be sent to them in an email following a purchase. Alternatively, if you rely on customers physically visiting your place of business, like a cafe, then you could leave a set of surveys on the table that they can fill out. Once the form is complete, they could leave it in a customer service box. Collect the answers and spend some time working through them. You may find that multiple customers have the same concerns. The feedback could be as simple as a complaint about dirty tables or chipped mugs. These issues can be resolved quite easily and could lead to happier customers in the future.
Finally, you should regularly check your business’ reviews on Google, Trustpilot, TripAdvisor, and any other reputable review sites. The reviews that are left will give you an idea of what your customers really think of your business. If there’s a particularly bad one, you could reply to the client’s comment and apologise for their bad experience. Explain that, if they get in touch with you, you can offer them a discount code for future use or even something complimentary. Be sure to thank them for their comments and that you’ll work on their feedback.
Posted by Gemma Harding
As Head of Client Services, Gemma is an expert in the customer service industry. With over 20 years of experience in the call handling process she will guide your organisation to an improved customer service strategy. Hobbies include all thing equestrian.