If you don’t know what your customer service values are, how can your business operate intentionally with customers and create the right impression? Values are at the heart of your corporate culture and guide everything you do. If you neglect developing your core values, it’s possible to adopt negative values that play out unconsciously.
“Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers there is no company!” – Connie Elder, Founder & CEO, Peak 10 Skin
Your company customer service values guide the personality of your company and help customers to feel they are interacting with a coherent entity. It’s your job to consciously adopt powerful, positive customer service values to ensure that you are delivering excellent customer service.
Your team’s customer service values empower your agents to go beyond the call of duty and create a memorable customer service experience.
What are customer service values?
Customer service values are the ideals and principles that guide your company in its dealings with customers. They’re not so much hard and fast rules as they are words and phrases that define the behavior you want to demonstrate. Customer service values are fairly abstract because they are embedded in your company culture and its approach to customers.
To understand what your customer service values are, take a look at a typical service interaction. Do you put the customer first and strive to fulfill their every need? If you neglect your customers and have a low customer satisfaction score, perhaps it’s time to revisit your customer service values.
Customer service values are closely related to valuing your customer. You see them as important and an indispensable part of your company. Some companies make their customer service values explicit with a mission statement, which is the north star of what your customer service department is aiming for.
Your customer service department should embody your values and bring them to bear on every interaction they have with a customer.
8 customer service values
Empathy is all about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and understanding what it feels like to have the perspective of your customer. When customer service employees are working from within a business all day, it’s easy to become removed from the customer’s experience and expect them to know the same things that you do.
When you have empathy for your customer, it means you are approaching the situation from their point of view. Not only do you understand the customer well, but you truly care about the customer’s feelings and customer service experience. Service reps who can demonstrate empathy will end up with more satisfied and happier customers as a result due to improved customer communication.
Some say that empathy is a trait that can’t be taught, so you’ll want to look for highly empathetic service reps during the hiring process. Empathetic people will flourish in customer service because it usually leads to an enjoyment in helping people.
The value of respect has to originate from the very heart of the business. If you respect your customer service agents, they in turn will respect your customers. Respect means observing boundaries and being thoughtful about how you treat the other party. Agents must avoid crossing invisible lines when they deal with customers and treat them like an honored guest.
If an agent fails to treat a customer with respect, that customer is likely to end up feeling resentful and offended. This might lead them to write a negative review or badmouth your company to friends and family. Upset and angry customers expect respect because they already have a negative impression of your company.
Respect usually means treating someone as you would like to be treated. If you were a customer, how would you want an agent to approach you and what would make you feel like a valued customer?
When customers hand over their money to a business, they are trusting that company to fulfill certain promises. It might be that their order should arrive on time, their product should be intact and well-packaged, and to answer any email inquiries within a couple of hours. If businesses don’t fulfill their promises then they lose trust with the customer.
It doesn’t matter how small you think the matter is, every customer has the right to expect great service from the business. Fostering trust means you have to invest in every aspect of the customer experience to ensure that customers know your business is reliable.
When customers know they can trust your business, they are inspired to spend even more money because they know they can expect great service, every time. They feel confident recommending your brand to family and friends because they want to share their positive experiences with others.
Sometimes when customers approach your business it’s like trying to go behind enemy lines. The internal workings of your company are a mystery to customers, especially when customer problems need to be escalated or passed to different departments. That’s why it’s important to be as open as possible with your customers so they understand how your company operates.
Openness is closely related to transparency, which is critical in situations where your business might suffer a loss of service. If you experience a system outage you need to be as transparent as possible with customers, as quickly as possible.
When you are open with customers they are more likely to forgive mistakes and view your business in a more positive light. If you try to hide bad news from your customers, this makes your business look evasive and your customers will wonder what else your business doesn’t want them to know about.
When a customer encounters a problem with your product or service it helps them feel better when your business takes responsibility for it. If you try to pass the buck onto another party, or even another team in your company, customers will feel like your business is trying to evade accountability.
Even if the problem is not strictly your fault, you can still apologize for the inconvenience the customer has suffered. You can make a goodwill gesture towards the customer that will go a long way towards repairing the damage, and hopefully cement their loyalty to the brand.
In order to take accountability for customer problems, agents need to be empowered to help solve them. If your agents are downtrodden and must seek approval for every small thing, they won’t be able to create the right customer experience.
Some problems that are submitted to your customer service team are really hard to solve. In fact, they might take several interactions and involve numerous team members to find the right solution. Who is responsible for ensuring the customer is satisfied? The answer is everyone, but especially the service rep who is their first point of contact.
Persistence means your service reps don’t rest until your customer’s problem has been resolved completely. Second best just isn’t good enough for these tireless service reps, and means nothing is too much trouble for your customer service team. Customers don’t like feeling as though they are a burden, so helping with enthusiasm is key to winning them over.
In order to make persistence viable, your service reps need to be properly trained in a variety of customer service situations. They need to be able to troubleshoot and get to the bottom of a problem within a reasonable timeframe.
One of the most important customer service core values is to be customer-centric in everything that you do. That means every decision you make should be made with the needs of the customer in mind, because what’s good for the customer is good for the business.
Customer-centricity really stands out when your company is doing more than just what is expected of them. Sure, you might solve a problem in the short-term, but have you created a raving fan for your business? Customers will be astounded when you always put them first and they’ll never have a reason to consider your competitor and become loyal customers.
Every customer service rep should be trained and empowered to go beyond the boundaries of their role in order to satisfy every customer. Decisions from the top should filter down to every employee by demonstrating that your company puts customers first.
8. Continuous improvement
When delivering customer service it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to look at the bigger picture. The best customer service is always a little better than it was yesterday, and means your business is always looking for ways it can improve.
The only way you can enhance your customer service is through continuously collecting feedback from both happy and unhappy customers. Customers will be more delighted with your company when you ask what they think, and you might even get a chance to save dissatisfied customers.
Tools like Keeping give you the ability to collect data on how your service reps are responding to customers through analytics and reporting. Teams perform better when they have access to customer service metrics through their help desk which helps foster a customer service culture of continuous improvement.
Companies who live by their team’s customer service values are well-placed to experience growth as they can positively impact customer loyalty and satisfaction. When you intentionally create and implement your values, customer service teams are more successful and deliver a better standard of service.
If you operate with consistent core values, you make a better impression on customers and increase the chance that you will be able to solve their problems. Customers are drawn to companies that demonstrate similar values to their own and feel more loyalty towards brands that stand for something.
If you don’t have customer service values already, start thinking about how your business would like to represent itself to customers. Make sure your whole support team is involved in thinking about how you should treat your customers.