6 Steps to One-to-One Customer Service

Hold employees accountable—but empower them to provide great service.

Every time one of your employees interacts with a customer, you have the potential to solidify your relationship with that customer…or unravel it. 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re being treated, McKinsey found. And a key part of making sure the interactions go well is to have a solid customer service policy, detailing how employees should treat customers.

Here’s how to create one:

  • Gather information. Develop a systematic way of gathering customer feedback, (e.g., conducting website surveys or gathering key customers to discuss what they like or find lacking in your products or services).
  • Set expectations. Your policy should detail the level of service customers should expect to receive and why this is important to the business. For example, one company’s customer service policy says: “Every employee, no matter what their position, impacts the customer in some way. Employees should promote the company just as they would represent their families.... Other ways employees can enhance customer relationships: answer phones before three rings, transfer office calls correctly, follow through on promises, give updates if necessary, and greet walk-in customers.”
  • Hold them accountable. Your policy should continuously remind your staff that customer service is a top priority and they are accountable for fulfilling it. Empower employees to provide good service, and be specific. For example, saying “any employee is empowered to grant a 10% discount to any dissatisfied customer at any time.”
  • Train your employees. The policy should not only be in writing, but the owner should also instruct employees and reinforce the importance of good service. “Small business owners . . . need to coach employees on how their actions reflect the brand—from how the receptionist answers the phone to how you answer email,” says Jamie Turner, founder of 60 Second Marketer. It’s important that the owner “walk the walk” and provide the same level of service he expects employees to give.
  • Put systems in place. In addition to empowering your employees, you need to have systems that allow them to provide good service. For example, customers who have Optimum Voice can sign up to get “Virtual Receptionist,” a service that answers calls 24-7, provides a professional greeting, and forwards calls to the appropriate person. This service can eliminate a lot of customer service issues before they arise and provide a great customer experience, all while giving your staff more time to focus on providing better service. 
  • Reward employees. Give a quarterly reward to employees who exhibit outstanding customer service, reinforcing how fundamental this concept is to your business.

Developing a viable email list is critical to building your customer base. By doing it the right way, you’ll help ensure that every email you send is eagerly awaited.