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There are many ways to approach customer service strategy. But there are some common characteristics among organizations that have the most success.
One characteristic of an effective customer service strategy, and I bet this is no surprise, is that it is action-oriented. It's put to use!
The best strategies help inform every decision and every aspect of day-to-day operations. What you don't want (and something I've seen too often) is to put a lot of work into a strategy that no one uses.
Some get really caught up in how strategy should be documented and presented. Want to commit yours to paper? My recommendation is to keep it simple. Whether slides, or a word-processed document, or any other design, it should be crisp, inviting, and summarized in as few pages as possible.
Next, an effective customer service strategy has widespread, enthusiastic support—from top management to those delivering services. Sure, you can do some good if you develop and use strategy within just the customer service functions. But creating great customer experiences involves the entire organization.
So, whether yours is an interior design company with five people who all wear multiple hats, or a multinational company with thousands of employees, strategy needs to be cross-functional. And that requires enthusiasm and support from the top and on out through the rest of the organization.
Third, a successful customer service strategy helps encourage and prioritize innovation and improvements to services, products and processes. Here's a longstanding example of what I mean by that.
FedEx, which consistently ranks as one of the world's most admired companies, is in the business of shipping and logistics. But their strategy is built around an inspiring promise, which they write in first-person: "I will make every FedEx experience outstanding."
They have for years called it the Purple Promise. They view every opportunity to serve, and every potential initiative to improve service, through that lens. Priority is given to the initiatives that best contribute to that promise.
Finally, an effective customer service strategy leads to results that matter most. These can include improvements in revenue, market share, customer and employee engagement, and others. You know, the BIG things you're really after. (In the case of Staniel Cayand the swimming pigs, mentioned in the welcome, these include customers spreading the word and return visits.)
I will add that in every case I've seen, and every company I've worked with, the enthusiasm that customers have about the organization is the ultimate measure of how effective the approach to strategy is.
Creating an effective strategy doesn't guarantee your customers will wear tattoos of your brand, as some Harley Davidson customers do. But whether yours is a small firm, a government agency, a large company, or anything else, they will feel the alignment between their experiences and your vision and brand.
Your service will resonate, and they'll tell others great things about your organization.