How your audience affects the customer service definition

What would you say is the most important department in your organization? Engineering? Sales? Human Resources?

Consider customer service. After all, these are the folks who consistently engage with your customers, troubleshoot issues and provide the consultation they need to be successful. The data validates the value of their work. For example, it’s at least five times more expensive to attract a new client then retain an existing one and consumers would pay up to 16% more for better customer experience.

So what happens when certain customers pay more for your services or show greater potential for additional sales? How would your team allocate both time and effort in supporting these clients versus others?

Given the variety of customers your organization will inevitably have, we’ll review the steps toward defining and implementing a customer support model that’s capable of supporting each customer at the appropriate level.

But first, what’s do we mean when we talk about customer service?

The definition of customer service: Customer service is a company’s support and guidance for individuals and/or organizations who use their products and services.

Basic customer service

Basic customer service sounds….well, basic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

To be clear, your organization should still answer the client’s questions and concerns quickly and communicate via multiple channels, fulfilling our customer service definition. Yet, there are a few key questions that need to get answered in order to refine the basic level:

  1. Identify the specific subscriptions or deliverables that fall into this level of support. Normally, they’ll encompass accounts who choose your relatively affordable options and show little to no upside in buying additional services.
  2. Design and launch specific touch points, depending on where the client is in their journey. The emails should prompt the respondent to either re-engage or take the next step in using your solution.
  3. Limit the level of time that support reps invest in these clients. Their time is valuable, and should be reserved for clients who are either paying more or have the most potential to buy more. In other words, keep the communication as automated as possible.
  4. Align on how your company communicates support at this level. Does the sales team know how to articulate it with prospects? Is it clearly laid out on the website? Any miscommunication or discrepancies in expectations can lead to angry and disappointed customers.

Standard customer service

As our customer service definition gets applied to customers who begin to spend more for your services and/or show greater potential in buying more from your team, the following questions should also be added to the fray:

  1. When should your support reps become involved in the engagement?
  2. What defines a successful customer at this level?
  3. How will your organization approach opportunities for additional sales? (existing customers have a 60-70% chance of being sold to versus 5-20% for prospects!)

To better guide your discussion around these questions, survey your clients. After all, any decisions and actions that follow carry significant consequences for the customers experience.

Pro tip: As responses to your survey come back, make sure to share them with the appropriate colleagues. Transparency in the data enables colleagues to get on the same page and make better decisions.

Advanced customer service

This level of support is dedicated to your most treasured accounts, both in what pay they today and what they can pay in the near future. Keeping these customers engaged and satisfied is all the more critical when revisiting how expensive it’d be to replace them with new clients. But how does our customer service definition evolve to the most advanced levels?

  • Support reps hold routine check-ins with the clients. These can be done at various levels of frequency, depending on your offering and how adept each client is at using it.

Pro tip: To fuel your conversations and keep them personalized, the support reps can send the client’s key stakeholders a survey a few days prior to the call. Assuming the right questions are asked, the rep should have a thorough understanding of the client’s health and come to the call prepared.

  • Specialize support reps on different aspects of the engagement. If the client is using your tool in several capacities, the expertise required to support the client’s entire experience can become overwhelming. The reps should stick to being trained on certain facets of your products, as this allows the quality of your service to remain high and the level of learning to be less daunting for individual members of your team.
  • The clients have a real voice in shaping the product roadmap. As these clients are likely to engage with your products the most and are willing to invest more, their input should be given priority.

Pro tip: To get clients comfortable in providing honest and thoughtful feedback, try sending a simple product feedback survey on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. The product team can then incorporate this feedback into the product roadmap.

Our customer service definition takes on several forms depending on the clients that your organization is tasked to support. By carefully building out a system of tiered support that incorporates the client’s feedback, the majority of your customers will receive the support they need to be successful.

Interested in understanding how prospective customers want to be supported? Build out your desired panel of respondents and survey them today using SurveyMonkey Audience.