8 Steps of Customer Service: A Practical Guide

Chayanika Sen
October 17, 2022
min read
September 19, 2023
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Want to build a repeatable customer service process for your brand? Here's a step-by-step guide to building your customer service process.
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Ideally, every business wants to acquire a customer and retain them forever. But that’s not always the case! With so much competition, customers don't think twice before leaving a brand if they feel unsatisfied with (or not valued by) the service. 

But you can turn the table by implementing a strong customer service process in your organization. How? We have talked about the different steps of customer service and how you can implement them in this practical guide. Let’s dive in.

What is customer service?

Historically, customer service teams had always played the role of firefighters in organizations when they had to quickly jump in to resolve customer issues when the customer faced any trouble with the product or service they had purchased. Although their role was critical (saving the bottom line!), the effort remained low and insufficient. 

However, today the role of customer service has evolved from what it was a few decades ago. Today to build a successful business, you not only need to have a great product but also a successful customer service team. As Zendesk rightly mentions, 

“61 percent of customers switch brands after having a bad experience.” 

Strong customer service has the power to change this scenario.

What is the function of customer service in customer success?

Customer service teams focus on resolving product-related issues. They are the first point of contact to educate the customers on how to use a product and how to resolve any issues that may arise while using the product. They gather customer feedback and work closely with the operations and development team to help improve product features. 

Customer success teams proactively work with customers to understand their ultimate goals and suggest ways to find success using the product. They aim to increase the lifetime value of the customer. 

While customer service and customer success teams have different job roles, their ultimate goal is to help the customer and create a fantastic experience with the product. 

Why is it so important to have the right customer service process?

Customer service process offers a set of guidelines for the customer service team to follow and operate. You may argue why you must set guidelines and develop a process for the customer service team. That’s because building a positive customer experience leads to customer success, and you can't be haphazard and leave it for the team to figure it out. 

You need a predefined set of guidelines for the team to operate in (more on this later).

As we mentioned before, to build a positive customer experience, you need to have the right customer service team. When done right, a customer service process can bring in lots of benefits:

Improved customer support

With the growing demands of customers in a digitally complex landscape, you can't ignore having a customer service process. 

Your customers today are not just satisfied with a great product but demand the greatest attention from you. So, when there is an issue with the product, 90 percent of customers would demand an immediate response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 

steps of customer service
(Source: HubSpot)

Create a consistent customer experience 

Your customer service team is the customer-facing people, and they are the representative of your brand. When your customers speak to the customer service team, they consider it as speaking with the brand and not some individual employees working in silos. 

A strong customer service team regulated by a defined process means creating a consistent customer experience. 

Better visibility

When you have a set process, you have better visibility of what’s happening right and wrong. This helps you to pinpoint the areas that need improvement and double down on things that are working right for you. 

Improved communication

Communication is the key to the success of any business. Having a process defined for how to communicate with the customers helps you to manage the expectations of the customers. At the same time, your customer service team members know how to respond to a customer, when to escalate an issue, and service the customer respectfully, managing their anxiety and frustrations. 

A positive work environment

Having a clear process for your customer service creates a positive and collaborative work environment for the team. While no one likes to be micromanaged, having clearly defined norms make the team operate more confidently. Not just that, a clearly defined process helps the new hires and trainees understand what is expected and gives them a direction to work towards it. 

Build accountability

A customer service process helps you to build accountability within your team. When a set process is there, it is easy to measure the performance of the team and how each team members deliver against the process that has been set. 

What happens when you don't have a customer service process?

Without a customer service process, your customer service team members won't know how to handle a grievance of an unhappy customer. 

They are left guessing who in the team will address the issue, if the issue needs an escalation, and how to minimize the customer's anxiety. 

This can lead to a delayed response and increase the customer's frustration level. Consistently failing to address customer issues can force your highly dissatisfied customer to leave your brand —- the last thing that we want to happen. 

What does a customer service cycle look like?

Usually, customer service procedures have four steps. These are:

  1. Initial contact: When a customer gets in touch with the customer service team to communicate their problem. They can use any communication channel like chat, phone calls, or social media to reach to your customer service team.
  2. Gathering inputs: At this stage, your customer service representative listens to customer carefully and gathers information regarding their problem in order to offer a resolution.
  3. Problem-solving: In this stage, the customer service team analyzes all the information collected and finds the most viable solution for the customer.
  4. Resolution: At this stage, the customer service representative will ensure that the problem is resolved and the customer is back to their usual functioning mode. Leave the customer with a happy and positive impression. 

8 customer service steps to improve your customer service program

1. Scrutinize your existing process

Before anything else, scrutinize your existing process. Find out how your team is functioning now. What are the different steps they follow?

Identify areas that can be improved and minimized for a faster response rate. 

You can also survey your customers to find out gaps in the process, what they think of your current process, and what are some painful areas for them.

For example, they could wait in a long queue before reaching a customer service executive they can speak to. Similarly, gather inputs from your customer service teams as they have the most valuable insights into the process that you otherwise may overlook. 

2. Leverage data

Take a peek at your internal process by leveraging data. Which is the busiest time of the day when your customer service team gets the maximum calls? 

What is the average response time? How fast can the agents resolve a query? On average, how many escalations do you receive per day? Look at your data and take action from them. 

3. Set up your team for success

Everybody wants to do a great job, provided they have the right resources. If your customer service team is unaware of where to look for solutions, they won't be able to help your customers even if they want to. So set up your team with the right education, process documents, and FAQs. 

For example, you can use Scribe and Scribe Pages to create quick process documents that can help the customer service team resolve issues quickly. 

Scribe is process documentation tool that turns your work into a step-by-step guide. All you have to do is run through a process, then watch Scribe work its magic — turning every step you took into written instructions with annotated screenshots.

Here's a Scribe in action — that only took 15 seconds to make!

And with Pages, you can build even stronger documentation. Combine Scribes with images, video and more. Like this intro guide to Zendesk!


4. Determine the KPIs

Set metrics so that you can evaluate your teams’ performance and set the benchmark. 

Some of the customer service KPIs you can include in your process are — time for resolution, average query processing time, the number of tickets resolved per day, percentage of resolution overdue, types of tickets generated, and cost per ticket. 

5. Personalize your customer service strategy

Make customer service personal. Don't make the messages sound like bots speaking to your customers. Leverage social media and make it like actual people are talking to them. 

Be always available for your customers, especially if they are at different time zones, by extending your work hours. One of the best ways to be close to your customers is to create communities and nurture a relationship. 

6. Leverage technology to improve the customer service process

Gone are the days when customer service had to pick up phone calls to answer customer queries. Today technology plays an important role in shaping your entire customer service process. 

Help your team to be more productive by leveraging technology. Technology can help answer customer queries through chatbots, customer analysis tools, ticket tracking software, email tracking tools to ensure you are responding to customers on time, and CRM software to manage customers on time. 

7. Keep provision for customer feedback

The best way to improve your customer service is by listening to your customers, noting their feedback, and taking action on them. 

Use customer feedback to track customer service metrics, act on them by offering your team the right kind of training, and help them do their job better. 

8. Analyze your process regularly

Last but not least, analyze your customer service process regularly. See what is working and what is not, and what areas of improvement are. 

Reviewing the process from time to time helps you keep your process optimized. 

Checklist to create and improve your customer service process

  • Evaluate your process.
  • Leverage data for actionable insights.
  • Set up your team with the right process documents. Scribe can help you create process documents in minutes.
  • Determine the KPIs to measure.
  • Personalize the customer service strategy. Be more human.
  • Make use of technology.
  • Take customer feedback and work on them.
  • Review your process from time to time.

Finally, we're here! Hope we've been able to show you how you can improve your customer service process. If you’re serious about getting started, you may want to explore Scribe and Scribe Pages to create your first process document to help your customer service team to resolve issues quickly. Go ahead and give it a try. 

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Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.