Developing a Customer Service Strategy

A customer service strategy is a thorough plan to handle customer interactions. It lets you provide a consistent customer experience. Improved customer experience results in a more loyal customer base. Loyal customers buy more often, spend more, and refer their friends and family to you.

7 Steps to Develop an Effective Customer Service Strategy

Step 1: Make customer satisfaction the end goal across the company

A successful customer service strategy is a result of focusing on customer satisfaction. At first thought, this makes sense for people working on the frontline. But what about those that never face a customer? The customer-first mindset across the board makes support teams better at their jobs.

Step 2: Identify all customer touchpoints

Analyze your customer interactions. To do so, answer the following questions:

  • How soon after buying your product do they return (this will help identify repeat customers)?
  • How often do your customers purchase from you? What are the most frequently purchased items?
  • Which channels do they use? (walk-up, call-in, online).
  • Do customers who eventually stop buying from you contact you more or less than those that don’t?
  • How do you measure customer engagement?

Step 3: Set goals for customer service

Define specific goals. How will you measure your goals? Make goals challenging enough so you can keep growing, but attainable.

Step 4: Identify customer service KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to monitor

KPIs provide an instant look into how well your customer service is doing. In this section, you will want to develop a simple plan on how to measure customer satisfaction. Much of this measurement may come from customer online reviews. Be aware of what platforms customers may use to review your business (Facebook, trip advisor, local town websites).

  • Develop a plan to effectively interact with the positive and negative reviews and comments
  • Learn from the customer comments and have a plan how to adapt and change to customer feedback

Step 5: Build a driven customer service team

When the time is right, you may need to start hiring staff to help support your operations. Successful customer support teams have people who aren’t just driven by those goals — they’re also customer care champions. Find team members who are committed to high customer service standards.  Make a list of skills you want a person to have for each customer support role. Here are the traits you should look for when building your customer service team:

  • Internal motivation: Are they driven to do great work beyond money and status?
  • Self-awareness: Do they recognize their impulses, judgment, and moods? Their impact on others?
  • Positive attitude: Do they display friendliness, enthusiasm around challenging tasks, focus on teamwork?
  • Adaptability: Are they willing to learn new processes and technologies?
  • Empathy and social skills: Do they genuinely care about other human beings? Can they read social cues?

Step 6: Give your customer service representatives power

With this and the next step you will have a strategy that exceeds customer expectations and sets you apart from your competitors. One way to get there – empower your staff to be able to handle customer complaints. Empowering your staff can lead to better responsiveness to customer issues. It also results in higher productivity. Why? Because it lets them make decisions on their own. They don’t have to jump over approval hurdles just to assist a customer.

Step 7: Create a consistent feedback loop

After you launch or update your customer service strategy, continue to review, and update your customer service plan. You may want to put a customer survey online or a comment box onsite.

The University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center (UMW SBDC) helps local businesses evaluate their business to determine effective strategies for growing and scaling their business.  If you are a client, please contact your consultant to schedule an appointment. If you are not already a client, you may register for free, confidential business assistance by completing a Request for Consulting form on our website,