How to Improve Customer Service

Make service a core company value and set your team up for success

July 2023 - 5 minutes

In today’s market, offering superior products and services is table stakes in order to win their loyalty. Customers now weigh experience as equal to products and services.

80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.

"State of the Connected Customer", Salesforce, August 2023.

When a customer contacts customer service, it’s the moment of truth for your company. Every call, email, text, and social media comment deserves personalized care and a quick case resolution. Depending on your response, will you gain a lifelong customer or lose them to a competitor? To retain more customers, adopt thoughtful customer service improvement strategies that benefit your customers. The following 7 tips show you how to improve customer service to make your customer service goals a reality.

1. Make service a company value

Great customer service doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It involves every aspect of your company and depends on every employee, whether they directly interact with your customers or not. That’s why a customer service culture is so important: It prioritizes happy customers above all else and supports and empowers the service team. Put your service values down in writing and make them specific, actionable, and easy to understand. Your employees are more likely to keep them in mind when working with customers. When service is one of your company’s core values and a “must-do” for every employee, everyone understands its importance and is held accountable.

2. Enact internal customer service

Treating everyone who works in — or with — your company as a customer is known as internal customer service. It ensures every employee prioritizes service in every interaction they have every day. That includes Ruth from accounting, Leo in sales, and Jamilla from IT. Just as with external customer service, your team might create goals for internal customer service. For example, identify target response times to colleagues and external business partners, and then track how your team performs against those objectives. When you view everyone you work with as a customer, you set off a chain reaction throughout your organization.

3. Prevent problems before they start

Customer service agents form the front line for complaints, but they are rarely the fundamental cause of them. Problems often start in other departments or even with external vendors, whether that’s because of a faulty product or a service problem. Any misstep along the way can lead to the problem or defect that sparked the inquiry.

Agents regularly encounter valuable information about problems with products or services because they speak directly with customers. Sharing customer feedback should be part of agents’ roles, so that your company can use the information to remedy issues. Establish a clear process for surfacing information – who agents should tell and how quickly – and who will pass the information on to the relevant department or vendor. This way, your agents can help your company avoid many cases entirely.

4. Create a service tree

A service tree is a document that shows the relationship between every position, team, and department in your company. It focuses on who’s responsible for what and details specific roles and actions. If your company has more than 20 employees, start with the responsibilities of each department. Bring in department heads and team leaders to discuss exactly how each person on their staff will further those goals.

5. Find out what everyone needs to do their job better

Most employees want to do an excellent job. They become frustrated with the obstacles that keep them from this goal. It might be clunky technology that turns a quick task into a long ordeal or disconnected systems that leave them scrambling to find the information they need. Too much frustration can even cause them to leave your company for a different job.

33% of service agents say they often lack context about customer situations.

“State of Service,” Salesforce, September 2022

You can easily avoid this employee churn. Just as you solicit feedback and recommendations from your customers, send out internal surveys to find out what employees need to be more efficient and effective in their work. Then, think about ways to improve their experience. For example, have experienced agents update knowledge base articles for an issue that stumps new employees. Or create a mentoring program for agents who are taking on new responsibilities. Use agent feedback to identify pain points, then seek technology solutions that relieve their frustration. For example, artificial intelligence can help free up their time. Chatbots can answer frequently asked questions and generative AI can create case summaries.

6. Set up your teams for success

If employees tell you they need a certain number of hours to complete a task, allocate that time or add more hands to speed things up. Be transparent with everyone about their role expectations so there’s no confusion.

If your agents have told you they lack sufficient knowledge to solve customer issues, make sure you offer the best customer service training. Consider learning modules from Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform to upskill agents. Communication Skills for Customer Service Agents and Artificial Intelligence for Customer Service are all great places to start. Also, make sure agents have the technology they need to get a 360-degree view of each customer, including their preferences, past purchases, and service history. When this information is available on every agent’s console, customers will always interact with someone knowledgeable about them and their case.


81% of decision makers say they’re making significant investments in training — up from 79% in 2020 and 77% in 2018.

“State of Service,” Salesforce, September 2022

7. Facilitate team bonding

Close friendships at work go beyond boosting employee satisfaction. These relationships create trust between employees so that they can provide even better customer service. Provide opportunities for employees to get to know each other. Implement peer-to-peer recognition programs that allow employees to give public kudos to teammates who’ve helped them deliver stellar customer service and solve tricky challenges. Plan virtual coffee chats and team-building exercises. Add a social element to communications such as company newsletters and internal social media groups.

8. Improve the experience for everyone

Altering your company’s culture and upgrading your technology to improve customer service will reverberate throughout your organization in many positive ways. Employees and customers will be happier, more engaged, and more likely to stay with your company.

Now that you know how to improve customer service, learn about the technology solutions that will help your team resolve customer concerns even faster.


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