Customer service plans are the policies and procedures put in place to establish, maintain, and enhance the relationship between a business and its customers. There are several key components associated with any type of customer service plan. However, the actual strategies used to implement these components will vary, based on factors such as the mode of communication with customers, the nature of the good or service provided, and the corporate culture of the business itself.
In order to create a functional customer service plan, there are several key steps that both small and large businesses must address. The first has to do with properly understanding the nature of the customers who will be attracted to what the business has to offer. This means developing a basic customer profile that helps to define essential characteristics that all customers will share. A basic model may include details on location, educational level, gender or age, or any other factors that are considered part of the company’s average customer.
After producing this basic customer model, the business can proceed with identifying what average customers need in terms of performance of products, interaction with support personnel within the business, and even factors such as price and durability. Understanding data of this type can help create a plan that ensures the client can get help when he or she needs it. The data also makes it possible to devise ways for the customer to have access to coverage in the event a unit does not perform properly, and that the good or service is affordable enough to keep the customer coming back regularly.
With all the data related to the needs and desires of the customer in place, it is then possible to begin drafting internal policies and procedures that will govern the plan. This includes training client care personnel, determining what times of the day and night that customers can contact these personnel, and the forms of contact that are available for both real-time and off-peak assistance. For example, a company’s customer service plan may call for the implementation of a customer service team that is available during normal business hours Monday through Friday, and is accessible via online chat or email for the remainder of the time.
Along with establishing the form and function of the team, an effective customer service plan also seeks to train both support personnel and the customers themselves. Educating customer service representatives in how to handle different types of customer concerns and situations is essential if you want to maintain a relationship with each customer. At the same time, proactively taking the time to educate customers in what to expect from the products, how to manage basic troubleshooting on their own, and how to get help when they need it, is extremely important to building a solid connection with your clients.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect customer service plan. What works very well today may be inappropriate several years later. This means your customer service polices and procedures must be reviewed regularly to make sure they are meeting and possibly exceeding customer expectations. Failure to do so will make it much easier for your clients to turn to other vendors or suppliers who are exhibit more interest in earning and maintaining their business.