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Customer service philosophy: How to create one + free template

You need an actionable customer service philosophy to provide great service. Here’s how to create one that stands out and a free template to get started.

By Emily Miels, Contributing Writer

Last updated April 4, 2024

What is a customer service philosophy?

A customer service philosophy is a set of guiding principles that a company uses to solve support issues and build customer relationships. This philosophy can influence every consumer interaction and help your customer support team provide outstanding experiences.

Successful businesses strive for perfection in customer service. They hire the most qualified candidates, provide comprehensive onboarding and training, and regularly review performance. That said, businesses need another system—a philosophy—that ensures support reps deliver consistent service.

A customer service philosophy can direct and empower your support team to provide the most effective customer experience (CX) possible. In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of customer service philosophies, how to create one, and a few examples from successful brands.

More in this guide:

Why are customer service philosophies important?

Customer service philosophies are important because they act as beacons that guide every consumer interaction. With a customer service philosophy, your employees can provide a comprehensive CX, promote customer loyalty, and increase customer retention.

Just as a football team wouldn’t play a game without a playbook, your support team shouldn’t field customer inquiries without a plan. Customer service philosophies shape the interactions between a company and its customers, giving employees a guide for handling every customer touchpoint.

Customer service philosophies can help:

  • Create consistency: A proper philosophy ensures that consumers get the same customer experience no matter when they reach out or which rep they speak to.
  • Build a stronger identity: Brands with customer service philosophies clearly broadcast their offerings, services, and ethos. A strong brand identity can attract new business simply by word of mouth and reputation.
  • Better prepare employees: A solid philosophy and, by extension, effective customer service management (CSM) can prepare your reps to handle customer issues confidently.

Customer service philosophies go hand in hand with customer experience strategies, both of which can help you provide customers with outstanding service time after time.

How to create a customer service philosophy

Now that you know the benefits of implementing a customer service philosophy, it’s time to build one. Here are some tips to create an effective vision.

A bulleted list details tips for creating a customer service philosophy.

1. Tie it back to your company values

The most important step in constructing a strong customer service philosophy is to tie it back to your company values. Consider your organization’s key principles and how to bring them to every customer interaction. For example, if you stand behind “the customer is always right,” you’ll want to weave that sentiment into your philosophy.

2. Focus on your customers

Every business should establish its philosophy from a position of customer orientation. This means putting the customer at the center of your organizational decision-making rather than focusing on products or profits.

Beyond improving service interactions, this approach can help you make proactive decisions that are best for the consumer. When you focus on customers, you can address their concerns in the moment and exceed customer expectations in the future.

3. Provide actionable steps

Without clear guidance, it’s difficult for your team to follow through on your company’s customer service philosophy. Include actionable steps and strong verbs so your team can act upon your principles and deliver good customer service.

Consider Apple’s customer service philosophy (and convenient acronym):

  • Approach customers with a personalized, warm welcome.
  • Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs.
  • Present a solution for the customer to take home today.
  • Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns.
  • End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return.

While exceptional customer service may not always boil down to a quippy acronym, strong action verbs make it easy for your team to understand exactly how to provide the best customer service possible.

4. Involve key stakeholders in the writing process

Encourage key stakeholders within your organization to provide input on your customer service philosophy. Everyone has a different perspective and experience. It’s important, however, to only include key members of your organization for a more streamlined process. For example, rather than gathering input from every customer service representative in your organization, consider tapping on managers or department heads for input.

5. Lead by example

Company leaders—including managers and more senior employees—should lead by example. Keep customer service top of mind and embody your philosophy daily with your customers and team. For example, if listening is a key part of your customer service philosophy, be an active listener in every meeting and interaction.

6. Revisit and review often

Consistently refer to your customer service philosophy to guide decisions as your company grows. And if your performance falls short of expectations, make the necessary changes to meet customer or business demands.

If your organization experiences leadership changes or shifts to a new customer experience software, review your customer service philosophy to determine whether you need to make updates.

Get the ultimate customer service philosophy template

Download our free template to create an impactful customer service philosophy.

Customer service philosophy examples

When crafting your philosophy, you can learn a lot from top companies known for their great customer service. Here are a few examples.

The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton justifies its high prices and maintains its reputation as a top luxury hotel by providing phenomenal customer service. The prominent hotel chain operates under its Gold Standards, which include three core steps of service:

  • A warm and sincere greeting using the guest’s name

  • Anticipation and fulfillment of each guest’s needs

  • Giving a warm goodbye using the guest’s name

Each Ritz-Carlton location strives to meet “even the unexpressed wishes and needs” of its guests. Overall, the company continually fosters customer satisfaction and loyalty by exceeding expectations to wow its customers and create an emotional connection with patrons.

The Walt Disney Company

Disney is committed to creating “magical moments” through great customer service at its theme parks, stores, and beyond. This mantra stems from the company’s common purpose: “We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages everywhere.”

Disney teaches team members to go above and beyond for customers wherever possible. This creates unforgettable experiences that keep consumers coming back time after time. Disney’s excellent customer service model has resulted in millions of happy customers and helped create one of the most recognizable brands worldwide.

Trader Joe’s

Many customers love Trader Joe’s—not just for its products but for its famed customer service. The grocery chain strives to put shoppers first and stands out in a crowded market.

Trader Joe’s philosophy states that it’s committed to providing customers “outstanding value in the form of the best quality products at the best everyday prices.” Trader Joe’s embodies this philosophy by offering a unique product selection, keeping costs low, and having friendly staff members.

Frequently asked questions

Perfect your customer service philosophy with the right CX partner

Customer service philosophies are key to providing comprehensive, consistent service. That said, you don’t have to do it alone.

At Zendesk, we are experts in the customer experience. We offer several features like the Zendesk Agent Workspace, routing and intelligence, and reporting and analytics so your team can easily execute your customer service philosophy day after day.

Try us for free today to upgrade your support operations.

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