How to improve customer service: align the company with shared goals

How to improve customer service: align the company with shared goals

As head of customer service, you know better than anyone about the importance of customer service. Today’s business climate is fiercely competitive. Savvy consumers are empowered by powerful new technologies and emboldened by cultural trends that put them in the driver’s seat. They can afford to be fickle and demanding, staying loyal only if their customer experience remains rewarding. Plainly put, the stakes are high for you to deliver. A new assessment tool from Forrester will help you learn how to improve customer service.

In a perfect world, when you laid out your organization’s customer service strategy, you worked from a playbook of proven customer service best practices. In this ever-shifting business landscape, however, identifying such standards is extremely challenging. Fortunately, a newly revised report from Forrester, Pinpoint opportunities for better customer service, does just that. It offers an in-depth analysis of the range of customer service capabilities every organization must perfect in order to improve customer service. Self-assessment modules embedded within each section offer statements that shed light on where an organization is in line with best practices and where they’re falling behind.

Armed with real insight into your organization’s customer service capabilities, you’re well-positioned to educate key stakeholders within the company about the importance of customer service. This is especially useful because when it comes to implementing a successful customer service strategy, the magic word is “alignment.” For your team to be successful, you must step up and ensure management understands and believes in your customer service strategy. Without taking ownership of the strategy and ensuring buy-in across the organization, your chances of success are small.

According to Forrester, company alignment should center on programs related to Customer Management, Vision and Strategy, and VoC Strategy. Meaning that your customer experience has clearly defined attributes that are consistently delivered via all communications channels and you have “the right set of metrics to measure success and uphold the company’s brand proposition.” When it comes to capturing customer feedback, your organization must define how you capture sentiment across multiple channels (phone, email, website, chat, social) and how information is routed to the right place so it truly becomes actionable.

The self-assessment sheets embedded in this section of the report further emphasize the importance of working hard to align your entire company around a solid customer service strategy. Analyzing your own efforts against these industry standards will provide a roadmap for how to improve customer service. Importantly, areas where your organization’s efforts currently fall short are also likely to be the practices that will yield the highest ROI once implemented. That’s good news for CS teams that could use a quick home run.

Using Forrester’s interactive self-assessment spreadsheets, you’ll rate how well your organization is aligned on key elements of customer service strategy. Statements like, “We know what we want to accomplish with our customer service strategy; all of our staff, especially those who interact with customers, clearly understand it,” and “We have a strategy in place to deliver a consistent customer experience across all locations and across all communications channels” cut right to the chase, highlighting missed opportunities and weaknesses in a customer service strategy.

It’s up to you to ensure your organization can rally around a unified customer service strategy. Selling your team’s initiatives and successes is that much easier when a) you know how to measure them and b) they reflect industry best practices.

To use Forrester’s comprehensive research on best-in-class customer service capabilities to bolster your team’s initiatives:

  1. Download Forrester’s report and accompanying self-assessment tool.
  2. Distribute the spreadsheet to your team and score your company.
  3. Looking at your scores, identify the top ten areas that need improvement.
  4. Build a plan that focuses on strengthening those capabilities.
  5. Define metrics to measure success.