How to create and implement a customer service strategy

Khoros Staff

When people seek support from a brand, they expect quick responses on their preferred service channels precisely when they need assistance. Establishing a customer service strategy gives your business the framework to meet these expectations effectively. Whether they need assistance with an issue or want to provide positive feedback on their experience, your customer service strategy dictates how customer interactions are handled.

Having this framework in place helps your brand reach its business goals and plays a crucial role in fostering customer loyalty. However, creating and implementing a customer service strategy can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with its requirements. In this article, we break down the process into simple, actionable steps, including examples of successful strategies employed by brands and how you can measure success post-implementation.

What is a customer service strategy?

A customer service strategy is your brand’s guide for handling and managing customer interactions. It details the goals, methods, and communication channels your customer support agents should follow to provide every customer a consistent, responsive, and helpful experience. In today’s digital landscape, your strategy must adopt an omnichannel approach considering that 77% of consumers expect seamless collaboration between your internal teams to avoid redundant explanations if their concerns are escalated or transferred to another department. 

Even if you're operating in a B2B environment, the principles of effective customer service remain the same. Every customer, whether an individual consumer or a business, desires to feel valued and heard, and this understanding should be the foundation of your customer service strategy. A well-thought-out customer care strategy that prioritizes your customer’s experiences can help you improve customer service and overall customer satisfaction with your brand.

How to create an effective customer service strategy

1. Get everyone on the same page

When creating your customer service strategy, the initial step is to align your entire company

around a common goal: customer satisfaction. Establishing a customer-first mindset across all departments ensures everyone understands and embraces this expectation, even your team members who may never have direct customer interactions.

This helps to make your support staff’s job easier because once a customer pain point arises, a company-wide plan can be created to address it, which may fall back onto a team like manufacturing or fulfillment. It also helps eliminate the organization silos we sometimes find ourselves working in, allowing everyone to contribute to solutions for the customer.

2. Create a customer journey map

A map of the customer journey outlines the various touch points your customers encounter as they interact with your brand, from initial discovery to loyal patron. Developing this map aids in understanding their needs, expectations, and pain points as they purchase your product or service and seek customer support. By doing this, you can proactively identify issues and improve their experience.

Start by analyzing FAQs, service requests, company social media channels, and any other data to identify areas where your customers might get stuck or become frustrated during their journey. Social media is particularly valuable for gathering real-time feedback, including opinions, questions, and concerns of your customers, which can inform the creation or improvement of your customer service strategic plan. Once you've gathered data, organize your insights into a flowchart your team can use for feedback and action.

3. Set SMART customer service goals

Every customer support strategy starts by establishing Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals. SMART goals provide clear direction and actionable steps, driving your team toward their objectives within set deadlines. Moreover, SMART goals offer clarity and motivation, ensuring alignment with your organization's broader priorities, such as enhancing your bottom line. Here are a few examples of SMART goals:

  • Increase the first response time 10% by Q2

  • Improve customer satisfaction 30% by Q4

  • Reduce average wait time 25% by year-end

4. Monitor relevant KPIs

Now that you’ve set your goals, it’s time to define key performance indicators (KPIs) to track your progress and see the effectiveness of your strategy. Setting specific KPIs shows your team how they are performing and gives insight into any areas of the strategy that need improvement. Using these in context with other business performance data to see how your actions may affect other metrics.

Here are a few KPIs you can start with:

  • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT): This KPI evaluates the level of satisfaction customers have with your brand after engaging with it, with higher scores indicating higher levels of customer satisfaction.

  • Net promoter score: This metric measures customer loyalty and the likelihood of recommending your brand to other people.

  • Customer effort score: No one wants to go on a customer service saga. Your customer effort score reflects how difficult using your product or service was. Alternatively, it can also measure how easy it is for your customers to resolve issues.

5. Assemble a passionate customer service team

The next step in executing a customer service strategy is building a team of customer service agents that can drive results. The right people for the job will demonstrate empathy, adaptability, self-awareness, good listening skills, and positivity, among other skills, to create exceptional customer care experiences. When envisioning the qualities of a driven customer service team, list all the hard and soft skills your ideal candidate has, and ensure the desired skills are tailored to each specific role you’re hiring for.

6. Integrate the right customer service tools

Customers expect your brand to be online and available whenever they need it, and on the channels they prefer. While your brand needs to be accessible on multiple service channels, monitoring each communication channel in real-time is ineffective. In addition to exhausting your agents, customers don’t want to wait in line to get their questions answered. 

This is where digital customer service tools like chatbots, customer service software, and online communities for self-service can help. Khoros Service, for example, is an all-in-one- digital customer service solution that features AI-powered self-service and omnichannel workflows that supports asynchronous messaging. With customizable, no-code chatbots and unified analytics, brands can meet customers where they’re at, solve issues quickly, and get the insights they need to monitor their service strategy continuously.

7. Initiate the feedback process

Once your strategy has been implemented, it’s important to gather feedback so you can refine it as needed continuously. Ensure your brand has support in place for after-the-sale service as well. If your brand only focuses on making the sale and not following up with customers after the fact, you’re missing valuable insights into how people are using your products and services, which can inform your strategy refinement.

You can gather customer feedback through surveys, polls, focus groups, online review websites, and social media. The information you gather will be instrumental to any improvements you can make to your customer experience strategy, and this will show your customers that their feedback is important to you.

Customer service strategy examples

Now that we’ve explored how to create an effective customer service strategy let’s look at some examples of brands successfully executing theirs.

1. Swisscom meets customers where they’re at by digitizing the customer experience

Example of Swisscom digital customer service channel

Swisscom, a leading telecommunications company in Switzerland, refined how they deliver customer service. The brand was interested in creating unique and seamless customer service experiences and identified Google Business Messages as a digital channel that would help them achieve this. By integrating Google Business Messages with the help of digital customer service software, Swisscom was able to provide a digitized customer experience. Moreover, it increased accessibility to its customers by offering support in four languages without expanding its team.

As a result, the average handle time for cases is 33% lower on Google Business Messages than on other social messaging channels, leading to improved efficiency in handling customer inquiries. As part of Swisscom’s digital customer service approach, the brand also offers

multiple self-service support options on its website as well.

As we mentioned, it’s important to meet your customers where they’re at — which now tends to be online — and Swisscom is an excellent example of how to do that.

2. MTN South Africa’s “BRIGHT Strategy” to provide the best customer experience

Example of MTN's digital customer service account on X

Example of MTN's digital customer service channel for chat

MTN South Africa, a global mobile network operator, struggled to handle increased volumes of customer service requests across all channels, including its social media platforms. So, MTN set forth a digital customer service strategy it calls its “BRIGHT strategy,” where it aims to make its customers' lives brighter by "Providing the Best Customer Experience through various Digital Channels."

To execute its strategy, the company implemented an all-in-one customer care solution where it could deliver an omnichannel experience across all support channels from its support account on X to its WhatsApp MTN Chat. Utilizing customer service software with AI and the right channel workflows helped scale their operations to more than 80 social care agents and reduce response times by 80%. In addition, engagement increased by 38%, and CSAT scores saw a dramatic improvement as volume increased by 150%.

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Measure the success of your customer service strategy with Khoros Service

Creating an exceptional customer service strategy doesn’t stop after the initial planning stage. Continuous monitoring and refinement are required to ensure your tactics remain relevant. That’s where Khoros Service can help.

With its unified analytics and robust features, the Khoros customer service solution empowers brands to gain the insights they need to track, measure, and optimize their customer service strategies. From real-time performance metrics to in-depth customer feedback analysis, Khoros Service is a comprehensive toolkit for enhancing service quality, identifying areas for improvement, and driving meaningful business outcomes. 

Experience the power of Khoros Service and request a demo today.

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