Customer Service Checklist: 21 Best Practices You Need to Follow
A customer service checklist brings productivity and efficiency to your customer service operation. It is the perfect helping hand for your customer service strategy. Read these 21 customer service points you want to check to ensure excellent customer experiences.
Imagine this: On one hand, the customer support staff is operating on their assumptions. On the other hand, the customer support staff has a specified list of points to be taken care of. The latter sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
Every organization’s customer service strategy is different, but there are a few points that you must check to ensure you’re delivering a good customer experience. A customer service checklist helps keep your customer staff on track, gives them direction, boosts productivity, and helps your team deliver great customer service.
We’ve boiled it down to a list of 21 points you must check as a part of your excellent customer service efforts. Read on further to know more.
Why use a Customer Service Checklist?
Customer service is tricky as it represents your brand in front of buyers. It helps if you have specialized agents with a concise system to tackle the customers. Another huge helping factor is including a customer service checklist in your system that helps to improve your customer service performance
It will help your service representatives to tackle problems or queries with lesser errors and improve customer satisfaction. A checklist will also ensure a smooth customer service process and that no steps are missed while resolving an issue.
Apart from that, a good checklist helps to:
- Set a standard brand protocol- A customer service checklist contains a consistent protocol for your brand, irrespective of which executive is speaking to the customer. Maintaining and updating a checklist will also help you to identify loopholes in your customer service experience.
- Resolve customer complaints with confidence- Customer service executives will feel confident while speaking to clients when they have a clear set of instructions laid out for them.
- Monitor your team’s performance- A customer service checklist makes it easy for your managers to evaluate customer service performance against the key metrics.
21 Best Practices for a Customer Service Checklist
One standard customer service strategy cannot work for all brands, but the basic principles remain the same. So, use this checklist to create a new customer service quality assurance checklist or update your existing one.
Be accessible to customers
Make sure your customers can contact your support staff with zero effort because you cannot resolve an issue that does not reach you. Customers might get agitated if they cannot reach you quickly, and it might get difficult for you to resolve their issues.
In such a scenario, you need a customer service audit checklist to get such basic things sorted out. Offer an easy-to-access channel to customers like phone support, email, or social media.
You can also opt for customer support software like live chat or chatbot. In fact, 69% of customers are willing to interact with a bot for simple issues.
Listen thoroughly and set clear expectations
Before committing anything to the customer, listen to the entire issue thoroughly. Active listening is an essential part of the customer service standards checklist.
Clients have ample reasons for reaching out to a customer service team, including product information before purchase, reporting technical issues, or expressing dissatisfaction with the product/service. The crux is that the customers want to be heard thoroughly.
So, listen properly, and suggest a solution once you grasp the issue.
Promise a realistic solution and response time
Promise a realistic response time by keeping your ability to solve the issue in mind. Offering unrealistic guarantees will harm the brand as the customer will get more agitated if they are not delivered to them.
You can set clear expectations with the help of a customer service checklist template. Train your customer service reps for solutions and give them an understanding of the response timings. It will help you establish a consistent service delivery for the issues raised.
To ensure realistic customer service expectations, you can also define the roles and responsibilities of your teams in the checklist. Also, encourage the executives to be open with the customers about what they can fix or do for them.
Educate your customer service executives
With 84% of customers becoming irritated by uninformed customer service agents, all your customer support staff must have a detailed knowledge of your product and service offerings. This knowledge will help them to understand the problem and guide the customers with a solution. A good way to do this is by conducting training sessions where the agents can use the products and analyze their features.
Apart from that, give them a manual that states the working process of the product or service. It will further help the agents to provide better solutions to the clients. This training will also help your agents suggest products or services to customers before purchasing.
When your agents know your product in and out, they are more confident in resolving customers’ queries about them.
Create a knowledge base
Many customers are looking for a self-service solution as they do not have time to wait for responses or contact a customer service representative. 39% of customers expect companies to have a knowledge base that can solve their problems.
Self-service options help customers to find solutions at their pace and timeframe. To address the customers looking for self-service options, you should create an intuitive knowledge base and answer the most common questions.
Remember to update the knowledge base regularly so that the customers do not face any issues while looking for a resolution. Create a help center section with a good mix of videos, how-to guides, product infographics, and articles to serve the customers effectively.
Avoid making the customers wait
33% of customers are irritated with waiting on hold and having to repeat themselves to various customer sales representatives. So, ensure that highly specialized and skilled agents attend to your customers.
Give enough practice and training to your support staff so they do not have to call their managers or seniors for help. If such a situation arises, offer to call back the customer with a solution instead of making them wait in line.
Whenever possible, answer quickly as customers want near immediate support on call. You can take your time with emails, as the expected response time is within 24 hours. However, you will be expected to respond in less than a minute with live chat. So, your support staff needs to understand the different response rates based on the communication channel.
Understand the brand voice
The customer service executives represent your brand in front of the buyers. So, they need to understand the tone of your brand and consistently follow it through all the channels. Before onboarding a new agent, proper training and guidelines about the brand voice must be provided. It should be included in the customer service standards checklist to come naturally to all your team members.
Always ask questions
Certain customers will be straightforward and tell you everything about their problem or query. However, some specific customers might miss out on certain information or fail to communicate their issues clearly to you.
In such a case, your customer service executive has to ask questions until they haven’t understood the problem clearly. Also, asking more questions will make it easier for them to get back with a solution.
For example, if the customer faces difficulty on your website, ask them the steps they took to get there and tell them to share a screenshot of the page they are facing a problem on.
The more questions you ask, the more information you can extract, and your resolution rate is faster.
Have a set of answers
These come in handy when customers expect quick responses at odd hours. Have a list of canned answers for simple or general queries, as they will save you a lot of time and effort.
Before creating these answers:
- Evaluate the standard and repetitive questions your service team handles.
- Seek help from your support staff as they can collate a list of customers’ common problems.
- Create responses and share them with all your executives.
Customer representatives can use these answers while tackling buyers on live chats. Alternatively, you can save the responses in the customer service tool for reference.
Although ask your representatives to personalize and send the responses, so they do not look scripted and feel natural.
Keep a watch on your language
This point contributes to the customer service quality assurance checklist. Always use positive language with your customers, making them feel valued and welcomed.
Positive language can also appease an angry customer, so your executives need to be patient and calm. Speaking negatively can affect the brand image and escalate any issue further.
In fact, positive words can affect your customer’s decisions and encourage them to do business with you again.
For example, instead of saying, “We cannot solve your issue for 15 days”, say, “We will give you a solution by the end of 15 days”.
Specify your customer service hours
Customers hate unavailable service agents, and it frustrates them if they have to continue to connect with them endlessly. Instead, clearly specifying your available timings can help to reduce customer churn.
It is not necessary to have a 24×7 customer center available. However, it depends on what you are selling. For example, if you are a third-party travel booking app, you might need 24×7 customer service, but if you are a hosting company, you can choose to have shift timings.
So, add your timings on the website, social media channels, and every marketing material you give. Adding it to a customer service checklist will help you to keep everything in the proper order.
Companies with customers from different time zones can integrate tools like live chat and AI-powered chatbots to be always available.
Focus on building a relationship with customers
Your customers will quickly become brand loyal if you keep them happy and satisfied with your products or services. You can always gain repeat customers by meeting or exceeding their service expectations.
To do that, you will have to build a long-term relationship by adding value to the customer’s journey. Start by delivering excellent service to any issue that they face. Add efforts to make them feel special and try to reward them with gifts or discount coupons.
You must train your service team for the same. Collect the customer’s data on your system. If they contact your service team again, your agents should be able to reply to them with personalized messages.
Answer follow-up questions before they ask.
You will typically run into issues that will undoubtedly have further questions. Do not hold off on answering the follow-up question until the customer asks them. What you can do instead is ask your customer if they have a particular question.
If they say yes, answer it appropriately. This provides the appearance that you prioritize your consumers’ needs and are adept at ensuring their happiness. This also reduces the workload that may arise in the future.
Integrate canned responses
Canned responses are predefined answers to commonly asked questions. These are usually simple questions and often come up in customer support queries. These act as response templates for your customer support agents. Canned responses are generally for pre-sales questions, competitor comparisons, and pricing information.
Providing your customer support agents with canned responses will improve resolution time and support efficiency, boost customer satisfaction and increase customer engagement. To create a good set of canned responses, you should personalize them, organize and categorize them and regularly update them.
Offer personalized customer experiences.
80% of customers claim that if a brand offers personalized experiences, they are more likely to do
business with it. It is valid for every step in the customer journey, so it must also be included in the customer service checklist template.
Ask your customer service representatives to address the clients by their names. Also, ask your customers their preferred method of communication and stick to it while following up and offering resolutions.
At the same time, if a repeated customer reaches out to you with a complaint, offer them a discount on their most purchased item. In this way, you will be able to connect with them better, and the customers will feel special.
Ensure smooth transitions
Train your team to help their fellow teammates. Chances are that a particular customer might speak to 2-3 support executives for different issues. So, it is essential to ensure smooth transitions. Ask your staff to leave notes or add tags to track customer concerns for their teammates. This way, any of your executives will have a complete picture before responding.
Incorporate acting proactively
You are practicing reactive customer service, but do you know what’s better? Proactive customer service! Of course, you don’t have to (and cannot) read minds. It means anticipating the problems your customers may land into.
A good way to implement proactive service is by sending out surveys and understanding your customers’ feelings about your brand. Based on this research, you can conclude and anticipate the problem that may arise after a customer has purchased with you.
Create guidelines to resolve issues swiftly.
It is the most crucial point in the customer service standards checklist. Take some time and create steps for your executives to deal with everyday issues.
Such guidelines will help not only existing agents but also the new ones that you hire. It will enable agents who are confused at any point in time.
The steps will help the team respond confidently, knowing that the company has pre-approved the solution.
Build long-term relationships with customers
Building a long-term relationship with your customers would turn them into loyal brand advocates. Your customers will not mind it if they love your product and service. You must figure out how to add value for customers at each point of their journey.
If you want to have a lasting relationship with your customers, you should:
- Always try to go above and beyond for your customers.
- Make an extra effort to make them feel fortunate or distinguished.
- Make sure you provide excellent service for any problem they have.
- Provide incentives or rewards for using your brand.
Relationship-building is a long-term objective; thus, your service staff must be educated on it.
Use follow-ups in your customer service strategy.
When you go to a restaurant, and your waiter asks you if you need something else—that’s following up. You should aim to do the same. You do not want to spam your customers with follow-ups but send some whenever needed.
Your customers may not always have the problems you’re suggesting solutions to, but the act of asking it shows that you care. After you’ve resolved a query, you must follow up with questions about feedback or suggestions to avoid any such problems in the future.
Use the right help desk system.
Your help desk system must be good enough to ensure that the team can implement all of the above points. The right help desk system has all the tools and features needed to deliver an excellent customer service experience.
If you’re using your email as a support channel, Keeping is the perfect help desk solution for you. Keeping is designed to convert the good old Gmail. With the collaborative and efficient features that Keeping provides—you will be all set to check every point off your customer service checklist.
A customer service checklist is essential for any brand looking to grow and beat the competition. Most customers stop shopping from a brand if they have a terrible customer experience.
So, a checklist helps to define the guidelines and sets a framework for the staff. It allows them to treat each customer similarly and suggest a quicker solution. Usually, a checklist can help a company improve its customer service by responding to queries proactively.
A customer service checklist is an excellent tool for companies serious about offering their clients better customer service.
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