Your company’s product or service may be incredible — but if your customer experience is not, you may lose customers. We found that 94% of people say how a company treats them influences their decision to buy, and 48% have switched brands for better customer service. Setting high customer service standards helps your team deliver an excellent experience.
But be careful how you approach these goals. If you push your agents to meet unreachable standards without the tools and training that make delivering a great service experience possible, you’ll only frustrate them — and your customers.
Get actionable customer service insights
High-performing service organizations are getting more out of their data by using AI in their CRM to become more efficient and raise customer satisfaction scores. See how in our latest State of Service report.
When your customer relationship management (CRM) software uses AI to get the most from your data, you’ll be able to deliver the empathetic, tailored service customers want. With the right technology in place, you can use these 8 tips as a checklist to ensure you deliver an excellent customer experience.
What are customer service standards?
Customer service standards refer to the goals for interactions between your business and your customers. Many companies already adhere to customer service standards, but too often these standards default to the minimum businesses must do to keep customers from complaining.
This doesn’t fly with today’s customers. They want an experience — fast, personalized, and complete service — the first time they contact you. In fact, 73% of customers expect companies to anticipate their needs — and 65% say they will stay loyal if a company offers a more personalized experience.
Stand out by raising your customer service standards and giving your team the tools and training they need to support customers. Then when your agents’ response time, empathy, and efficiency exceed expectations, you earn customer trust.
1. Keep an eye on your KPIs
For example, case deflection — whether achieved through self-service tools for customers or automated processes — is a great key performance indicator (KPI) for tracking efficient use of resources. It shows how well you’re offloading simple cases, allowing agents to focus on more complex matters that require critical thinking, human interaction and empathy.
Other KPIs to consider: cost per contact, first contact resolution, and customer lifetime value. The right KPIs help identify red flags in your service organization and correct them, ensuring a strong team. Only then can you deliver at the high customer service standards that customers expect.
2. Connect customer data
Service, sales, and marketing departments often use different tools and systems to track and manage customer information. This leads to disconnected data, frustrating both employees and customers.
Consolidate and connect disparate datasets into a CRM system to give your team a single view of your customers. That way, agents can more quickly address the issue, and meet high customer service standards as they help. Side bonus: connected data creates a strong foundation to build on when you are ready to add AI.
3. Connect your channels
Today’s customers use a range of channels for service — from phone and email to chat, text, and more. When your CRM connects all interactions — no matter the channel — into a chronological history onto a single screen, your agent will know what has happened.
For example, if a customer texts for support one day and emails you the next, the agent will see both interactions. They’ll also be able to quickly tell if this is a related issue or a different one. It’ll also be clear what steps the customer has already taken to resolve the issue – like searching in your help center. This goes a long way toward improving customer experience.
4. Automate to speed up service
Companies today must work faster to deliver service at scale — and one of the best ways to do this is through automation. Many customer requests — like a merchandise return — involve a series of steps an agent must follow, or a workflow. Automation shifts the burden of these repetitive, manual steps off the agent and allows them to work on cases that need more care.
Take a look at your service workflows and identify which processes waste the most time, are clunky for agents, or frustrate customers. These are prime candidates to be automated. With tedious work steps removed, agents can focus on the customer and meet the high customer service standards you set.
5. Add generative AI
To improve your service experience, consider layering generative AI on top of your CRM data. With generative AI, chatbots can be programmed to create smart, personalized responses. You can also use it to draft knowledge base articles based on case notes and other data, or to make case swarming more efficient. In short, generative AI can help your team work faster and more efficiently, so agents can focus their attention on the customer.
6. Give your agents the right tools and training
Engaged and empowered agents are the cornerstone of any high-performing service team. Give your agents three things: training, tools, and the authority they need to quickly and satisfactorily resolve customer issues. Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, is a great resource to help your agents hone their customer service skills. When you invest in your team, agent satisfaction and retention rise. Happy agents are more likely to consistently reach those high customer service standards you establish.
7. Ensure your field service is fully connected
Whether made up of service technicians, home health nurses, or insurance assessors, your mobile service team needs access to relevant customer information in the field. They need to have the same information that dispatchers and agents in the contact center can access. If you already have this baseline covered, build on your field service management with AI. For instance, you might use generative AI to help frontline workers save time with automated work summary reports.
8. Help customers help themselves
Today’s customers want instant resolution, and self-service is often more convenient than contacting customer support directly. It also helps your organization reduce case volume, lower costs, and deliver service at scale through more efficient use of resources.
For example, consider a knowledge base article that helps agents solve a common customer issue. When you include that same article in your self-service website portal, mobile app, and chatbot, customers use it, too. Self-service channels also give your organization valuable, actionable data, like common searches in your help center that you can use to improve your customer service standards.
Checkpoint: Are you meeting your customer service standards?
It’s a good idea to annually review your customer service standards — as well as your team’s performance against them. When there are gaps between your standards and performance, choose the KPIs that are most important to you to work on first. Over time, tackle each area that needs improvement. With consistent effort, your team will get better and the service experience it delivers will become a differentiator.
Strengthen your service team
With customers now weighing experience as equally important to products and services, meeting their needs is vital. Learn eight ways to improve your customer service organization and deliver even better experiences.