Customer service strategies: From silos to satisfaction

Customer service strategies have evolved

Back in the day, customer service strategies were built on linear processes that involved a phone, a computer and a help desk representative. I know, because I worked in customer service for a well-known cosmetic retailer for over 6 years.  Most of the time, I solved issues without even consulting any other members of my team. In fact, I have no idea what became of my call center notes after I entered them into my computer. Only a handful of times did I ever share my call information with the sales or product development team. My colleagues and I were truly operating in a silo.

Fast forward ten years, and the customer support process is a very different beast. Companies understand that if they want to remain relevant in the age-of-the-customer they need to be one step ahead of the competition, solve problems at lightning speed and build out products that keep customers forever loyal to their brand. Today, “silos” are regarded as anti-synergistic constructs. Companies recognize that collaboration between teams is the key to developing superior customer service strategies. 

Let’s use the cosmetic retailer I used to work for as an example to illustrate the importance of collaboration.

After a recent product launch of a new face cream, several customers called the support line, frustrated that the product was difficult to apply and they wanted a full refund.

Ten years ago I would have listened to the customers’ frustrations, sincerely apologized, noted the issue, and offered them a store credit tomake them happy. On the surface, it may have seemed like I solved their issue but in reality, I did very little to convince this customer to recommend us, or buy from us again. 

Now, if I would have dug a little deeper I would have learned that the real issue was that the face cream came in a porous flaky form that, when mixed with water, turned into a foam face mask. Since the product did not come with instructions, customers were overestimating and underestimating the amount of water they needed to add to the mixture, resulting in undesired outcomes. 

Collaboration fuels new customer service strategies

Creating a great customer experience is a team effort that requires clear communication of customer feedback across every phase of the product development process.  Let’s look at how a collaborative organization would turn product feedback regarding the face mask into an opportunity to make the product better, gain back customer trust, and improve the overall customer experience:

  1. At the front lines, the support team receives an overwhelming amount of feedback regarding the new face mask product line, records it and shares this information with product, sales and marketing.
  2. The product team receives these issues and immediately prioritizes the creation of an instructional booklet to be included in all future shippings.  
  3. Marketing develops an online video campaign and sends all existing customers a link to the new instructional videos. They also invite customers to submit reviews of the product and send them all surveys to gauge their level of customer satisfaction. 
  4. The sales team get trained on how to apply the product and offers live demonstrations to customers in retail stores. Sales reps also take this opportunity to reconnect with their customers, by sending them a link to the new instructional videos.

The result of this type of collaboration? Happy customers, happy teams….happy everything!

Think about your current customer service strategies: What processes (or tools) have been put in place to ensure the clear communication of customer feedback across the stages of product development?

Would love to hear your thoughts! 

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