Good customer service is one of the main reasons consumers continue doing business with a company through the years. Creating a customer service culture is not always easy. It requires developing policies and employee skills that balance efficiency with good service. There are several secrets to establishing a winning customer service culture.

Develop Clear and Generous Policies

Every business needs to have clear and generous customer service policies. The policies should provide a framework that representatives can work within and that customers can understand. The policies should also favor customers and be generous. Overly restrictive or punitive policies can create an adversarial attitude that defeats the goal of developing a winning customer service culture.

Empower Customer Service Representatives

Representatives should be empowered to resolve customer service issues outside of the established framework when necessary. Trusted representatives should have the freedom do things like expedite reshipments or add store credit to accounts for customers having issues. Empowering employees will give representatives a sense of ownership that will make it easier to reach effective resolutions fast.

Regular Training, Coaching and Feedback

A customer service culture requires regular training, coaching and feedback for employees. Trainings should cover customer service issues and ways to improve the customer experience. Coaching should involve reviewing actual transactions or calls to see how they can be improved or refined. Representatives should also get regular feedback from managers or supervisors for both successes and problems. This will create a winning and unified customer service culture based on knowledgeable employees.

Discourage Negativity about Customers

A winning customer service culture relies on a positive attitude and genuine concern about customers. Although everyone might encounter a difficult customer, it is best to discourage negativity about clients in the workplace. Representatives can quickly become very cynical and combative if speaking negatively about customers is something everyone does. Representatives should be encouraged to remain positive and constructive even after difficult transactions.

Recognize Achievements

Employee achievements should be recognized regularly just as Melaleuca CEO Frank Vandersloot does with representatives in his company. Regular recognition encourages representatives to work harder in the area of customer service. It also makes small achievements worthwhile. Celebrating achievements like high upsales during customer service transactions, exceptional service to a single customer or most improved performance will create a positive and customer-oriented culture.

A winning culture means employees are putting the customers and the consumer experience first during transactions. Customers will notice this. It will develop a sense of trust and loyalty that will increase word-of-mouth referrals. It is always worth the effort to develop a winning customer service culture in any business.