Customer Service Best Practices Guide

Proven Leading Practices for Customer Service Operations

  • Best Practices (#104) / Customer Service / Technical & Product Support

    Best Practice (Good)
    Model and define rules for customer-centric routing strategies based on the customer’s long-term value to the company, required skills and real-time representative availability across all communication channels.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Use standardized call routing procedures for incoming calls based only on the skills required to resolve the customer’s issue.
    Benefits: Improve customer service levels, especially for high-value clientele, and decreases average handle time and transfer rates by improving routing procedures.
  • Best Practices (#105) / Customer Service / Technical & Product Support

    Best Practice (Good)
    Increase the quality of skills taught in training programs so first level specialists can solve easier technical issues (more advanced issues will still be escalated). This approach will reduce the number of escalations and decrease call times.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Immediately escalate most issues that involve higher level technical issues to tech specialists.
    Benefits: The decrease in the number of escalations and decreased call times will allow specialists to be more productive and handle more calls. Proper training can also increase first call resolution rate and overall customer satisfaction.
  • Best Practices (#106) / Customer Service / Amount Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Provide a detailed service level agreement (SLA) to the customer upon account setup to demonstrate confidence in the company’s ability to deliver world-class customer service.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Stress the importance of achieving and maintaining high customer satisfaction during scheduled training sessions and staff meetings.
    Benefits: Sets strict standards and expectations for customer service quality, improves customer retention and eliminates any ambiguity that might have existed in customer expectations.
  • Best Practices (#107) / Customer Service / Account Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Manage accounts by ranking each on a scale that measures their customer lifetime value and focus on those accounts which have the highest value. Assign accounts to account managers according to this scale and based on their knowledge and skill level.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Assign new accounts to individual account managers based on each associate's account load.
    Benefits: Improves customer retention by focusing on building relationships with the clients whom offer the company the most value. Streamlines each account representative's knowledge in dealing with their accounts assigned priority levels.
  • Best Practices (#108) / Customer Service / Customer Incentive & Rewards

    Best Practice (Good)
    Perform analysis to determine the most profitable payment method (online, mail, phone, auto-debit, etc.) and provide customers with incentives to transition to that form of payment.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Allow customers to determine their payment method of choice arbitrarily and offer no incentives to use one method over another.
    Benefits: Reduces expenses related to payment processing and gives the customer a benefit that otherwise might not exist.
  • Best Practices (#109) / Customer Service / Customer Incentive & Rewards

    Best Practice (Good)
    Focus on enrolling customers who are most likely to make substantial purchases and are frequent buyers into the rewards programs.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Target every customer with your incentive program, regardless of their shopping habits, to publicize the program to the largest volume of customers possible.
    Benefits: Increases enrollment conversion rate for enrolling customers in the incentives program and also decreases the amount of marketing resources used to promote the program to customers who are not likely to enroll.
  • Best Practices (#110) / Customer Service / Returns & Warranty

    Best Practice (Good)
    Use a returns processing module which can be seamlessly integrated with the warehouse management system (WMS) and allows for real-time inventory allocation, instant picking from the returns area, and cross-docking to a shipping dock.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Have multiple groups within the Returns Management Group handle each return, including distribution, warehouse operations, customer service and finance with little visibility at every level of the returns process.
    Benefits: Decreases return process cycle time for the customer, improving overall customer satisfaction. Allows for a greater visibility of returns at all stages in the process in real-time.
  • Best Practices (#111) / Customer Service / Returns & Warranty

    Best Practice (Good)
    Train Returns & Warranty Group staff to focus on return claim data validation and analysis, rather than simply processing claims as quickly as possible.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Encourage warranty teams to focus on quick claims processing and reducing receipt-to-process cycle time.
    Benefits: Decreases percentage of rejected claims due to incomplete or inaccurate data and time spent on reviewing invalid claims. Minimizes claims processing cycle which in turn improves overall customer satisfaction.
  • Best Practices (#112) / Customer Service / Incident Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Segment call lists based on account risk (higher account balance = higher risk) and configure automatic dialers accordingly. Target these high-risk customers more frequently and through different contact methods (phone, email, physical mail).
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Segment call lists based on the number of days that the account has been past due (30, 60, 90, 120, 150 days, typically). Configure all automatic dialers in this manner.
    Benefits: Improves the likelihood of collecting on high-risk accounts and eliminates wasted time calling low-risk (lower account balance), low-value accounts repeatedly.
  • Best Practices (#113) / Customer Service / Incident Management

    Best Practice (Good)
    Provide all Incident Management and Analysis employees with a knowledge base (online database or similar) to see how problems have previously been solved and determine the best practice resolution method.
    Typical Practice (Bad)
    Rely on tenured Incident Management employees and training programs to educate employees about best practices related to handling certain situations.
    Benefits: Reduces risk (loss of accumulated knowledge) related to employee turnover and also improves average handle time, first call resolution rate and overall customer satisfaction.

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