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It is important for companies to consider the following alternatives when it comes to customer service. Is it better to…

A) Achieve a standard level of consistent, quality support using canned answers and clearly communicated policies that are always adhered to, or

B) Let each individual customer service team member have the freedom to win customer loyalty through whatever means necessary.

Effective arguments can be made for both options. Neither one is wrong, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer service.

But let me argue to for what I see as the natural progression that companies should aim for.

When a company is in the early stages – from startup through say 20 or so employees – it makes more sense to give customer service a little more freedom. Early on, it is better to focus on making everyone happy. Since you are still learning what kinds of issues your customer service team will be dealing with most frequently, you want to fully-incorporate their feedback into marketing and product development. Option B makes more sense than option A above.

But as you grow into a more efficient organization, and your business model stabilizes, and you aim for consistent growth, you will get to a point where it makes more sense to standardize the customer service role. At that point, you can use all the experience your service team has built up to create a set of policies to be adhered to. You can flesh out clear and effective answers to all of the most common questions they are likely to get, and aim for consistency.

This way, as the team grows, the time it takes to train new people diminishes. Your customers are likely to get the same answer, the same level of service, no matter who they talk to. For a larger company, this should be the goal.