You might hesitate or even refuse if you were asked to fly on a plane whose crew had only been "told" what to do without clear guidelines and instructions.
This is similar to how many organizations operate without realizing that it can lead to inefficiencies, lost customers and reduced profits. To avoid these negative consequences, it is important to provide employees with written step-by-step instructions in the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs).
These SOPs clearly outline how routine operations should be performed, helping employees to understand exactly what is expected of them and to work more efficiently and effectively.
In this article, we’ll cover everything about customer service SOPs and provide you with a ready-to-use template. Read on.
What is a customer service SOP?
A customer service standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of guidelines that outlines the steps employees should take when interacting with customers.
It provides a consistent approach to customer service and helps ensure that customers receive the same level of service no matter whom they interact with within the organization.
The customer service SOP may include details on how to handle customer inquiries, complaints and requests, as well as how to resolve issues and escalate them if necessary. It is an important tool for ensuring that customers have a positive experience and that their needs are met effectively and efficiently.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are essential for customer service because they provide a consistent approach to handling customer interactions. This is especially important in organizations with a large customer base, as it ensures that all customers receive the same level of service no matter whom they interact with.
SOPs also help to ensure that customers' inquiries, complaints and requests are handled efficiently and effectively, which can help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
In addition, SOPs can help to reduce the risk of errors or misunderstandings, as they provide clear guidelines for employees to follow. Overall, SOPs are important for assisting organizations to deliver high-quality customer service.
Here’s what Brandon Chopp, the Digital Manager of iHeartRaves & INTO THE AM, says about the importance of customer service SOPs:
“Having an effective customer service SOP helps ensure that customers have consistent and successful interactions with your business, no matter whom they interact with or when they do it. It also allows your team to provide more efficient responses due to having a clear framework of processes in place.
Additionally, having a standardized process for handling customer inquiries can help reduce the risk of errors or misunderstandings between customers and employees. Ultimately, customer service SOPs create a positive experience for both the customers and the company by establishing clear expectations for everyone involved.”
What are the components of an SOP?
Technically, SOPs will consist of five components:
Each SOP should have the following information on its first page or cover page: a title that clearly describes the activity or procedure, an SOP identification number, the date the SOP was issued or revised, the name of the agency, division, or branch to which the SOP applies and the signatures and signature dates of the people who wrote and approved the SOP.
For SOPs kept in a computerized database, electronic signatures are permitted.
Table of Contents
A “Table of Contents” is required for easy reference, especially if the SOP is lengthy. It can also be used to indicate modifications or updates that have only been made to specific areas of an SOP.
The following subjects may be suitable for inclusion in SOPs for customer service:
- Objective (identifying the intended use of the process)
- Applicability/Scope (indicating when the method is to be followed)
- Summary of Procedure
- Definitions (definitions of any terms, expressions, or acronyms with particular significance or use)
- Personnel Qualifications/Responsibilities (listing any particular skills or expertise that users should have, such as a certification or prior training, as well as any specific people or roles that are in charge of the action being described)
- Criteria, checklists, or other requirements that must be followed during the process
- Records management
Quality assurance/Quality control
Describe any checks and balances as well as any measures for review or supervision before the product or deliverable is accepted. This can involve executing test plans, such as software verification and validation plans, or running a "spell-check" application on the completed document.
Cite all the sources mentioned in the SOP's body. Any references that were quoted but are not easily accessible should have an attachment to the SOP.
Creating your own customer service SOPs using Scribe’s template
Scribe is a hassle-free tool to create while saving hours. So leverage this tool and create your customer SOP using this customer service SOP template within minutes.
How to build your own customer service SOPs?
“To create effective customer service SOPs, you need to start by defining the specific needs of your organization and your customers. What do you want your customers to experience when interacting with your company? What areas do you need to improve? Once you have those goals in mind, you can create a streamlined system tailored specifically to your needs. Some key steps include setting up clear communication channels and protocols for responding to customer requests and complaints, establishing a training program for your customer service team and incorporating customer feedback into your SOPs.
Then, you will need to take a systematic approach to create your SOPs. This can include developing templates for the different types of interactions that your customers are likely to have, establishing clear guidelines for handling specific situations and incorporating feedback from your team members into your process. When developing your SOPs, keep in mind that they need to be a living document constantly being updated and evaluated. Hence, begin with the end goal in mind and think critically about the needs of your organization and customers, as well as the ways that you can improve those processes over time.” — Joey Sasson, Vice President of Sales & Logistics, Moving APT
Here’s a 5-step easy process to create your customer service SOP.
1. Define the objective
To begin creating a new procedure, it is important to communicate the reasons for its development to employees. This can help them understand the motivation behind the procedure and why it is necessary. In order to do this effectively, you may want to consider answering the following questions:
- Why is it important to follow this procedure? What benefits will it provide?
- What are the potential consequences of not following the procedure?
- How does this procedure fit into the larger goals and objectives of the organization?
By addressing these questions, you can help employees understand the purpose and value of the new procedure and how it fits into the organization's overall strategy. This can help ensure that the procedure is followed consistently and effectively.
2. Get opinions
Even though you may have a solid overall idea of what the procedure entails, there's a considerable chance that you are unaware of all the minute but crucial elements that could have a significant impact on the result.
Speak with your customer care staff members who carry out the method on a daily basis if you want the process stated correctly.
They will feel more personally invested in the growth and performance of the business if you let them participate in the process.
3. Write clearly
To ensure that employees can efficiently follow procedures, it is important to clearly and concisely present the steps in plain language. This means using simple, easy-to-understand terms and organizing the information in a logical and straightforward manner.
By providing clear answers to the questions "What should I do?", "In what order?" and "Where do I get more help if I need it?" employees can quickly and accurately complete their tasks, even if they are in a hurry.
Using plain language in procedures helps to ensure that all employees, including new hires, can understand and follow them.
4. Make it accessible
Employees should be able to easily access procedures whenever required. However, since these SOPs require ongoing changes, it becomes hard for you and your employees to keep up with all of them.
That’s why you need a solution that allows you to create SOPs fast without wasting your time and enables you to edit them as per your requirement without having to make them every time from scratch.
And, with a 4.9 rating on both G2 and capterra, what can be a better solution than Scribe?
Scribe automatically captures your entire screen process and creates step-by-step SOPs with annotated screenshots, text and links, which you can always edit and customize as per your future needs and share with a shareable link or export in multiple formats.
Here’s a practical example for you to understand how easy it is:
Here’s what our users say about us:
5. Strengthen processes
If good habits are not regularly reinforced, it can be easy for individuals or teams to develop bad habits. To prevent this, it is important to regularly review procedures with your team to ensure that they are being followed correctly.
This helps to maintain a high level of efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. By reviewing procedures on a regular basis, you can identify any issues or loopholes for improvement and take steps to address them before they become a disaster.
Let’s create your customer service SOPs!
Your support team will have a clear grasp of how to handle both frequent and uncommon support inquiries if you have specific SOPs available. This will help you give rapid, effective service to every customer during every engagement.
However, building a process from scratch is time-consuming. That’s why Scribe has already developed a customer service SOP template you can customize and use. Get started for free!