8 Pillars of Good Customer Service

Jayadeep Subhashis

Surbhi Nahata

February 2, 202410 min read

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Today, customer loyalty hinges not on products or services alone but, crucially, on the quality of customer service. Recognizing this reality positions your company for success in the competitive realms of customer acquisition and retention.

According to customer experience statistics, 68% of customers admit to switching service providers due to subpar customer service. If you suspect your business falls within this category, now is the opportunity to reevaluate your customer service strategy.

The industry's commitment to providing accessible and frictionless customer experiences is evident in the growing emphasis on global support and the seamless integration of real-time communication channels, including social media. This recognition highlights the importance of revisiting the foundational pillars of customer service to meet the evolving expectations of today's consumers.

As you navigate through this blog, refresh your understanding of pillars of customer service, glean insights from industry-leading examples and learn expert tips to align your existing customer service operations with prevailing industry standards.

Table of Contents

How do you define good customer service?

Customer service is the support you provide customers over voice, chat, SMS, email and social channels for troubleshooting their issues, offering them information and keeping them engaged with the company. It plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall customer experience by minimizing friction from the customer journey and significantly influencing customer satisfaction and retention rates. 

It's crucial to recognize that customers typically reach out when they encounter issues with your products or services, need help finding answers in your knowledge base, face challenges with self-service options or experience delays in receiving promised value or refunds.

Whether driven by impatience or frustration with existing inconveniences, customers universally seek swift resolutions. Thus, good customer service involves three critical elements: timeliness, convenience and first-contact resolution

In other words, good customer service can be any customer service instance that not only fixes the customer's problems but does so in a way that leaves customers satisfied and eager to engage with your business again.  

The eight pillars of customer service

Price and quality drive purchasing choices. But, the experience derived from customer service influences the purchasing decision. Here are the key pillars that uphold customer service in any industry.  

1. Accessibility

With the rising competition and proliferation of digital customer service channels, staying available to customers 24x7 has become imperative. Here are the key customer service channels customers prefer to contact most often. 

Voice: The term is traditional, but voice is still the most preferred and powerful medium for customers to connect with customer service teams one-on-one. It preserves the human touch in customer service that can be lacking in modern contact center channels.  

Whether resolving complex issues or seeking clarifications, the voice channel fosters a direct and authentic connection between customers and customer service teams.  

 💡Pro tip: Longer average hold times and complex IVR can be a real patience test, especially when customers grapple with time-sensitive issues. If you experience high call volume regularly, then offering a prioritized callback option not only reduces the call abandonment rate but also significantly improves customer experience.

Email: Email customer service offers a formal and comprehensive means of customer communication. Timely responses, personalized interactions and clear resolution steps are essential in delivering effective customer service through email.

Social media: Super convenient and accommodates multimedia communication. Customers frequently turn to social media channels to seek assistance, share experiences and express concerns. 

Maintaining an active and responsive presence on platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook is crucial to swiftly addressing customer inquiries and demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Must Read: Social Media Customer Service: How To Do It Right 

Live chat: Immensely popular among GenZ, live chat provides real-time, convenient support for customers navigating your website or online platforms. Engaging in chat conversations often feels more natural for individuals compared to the formality of traditional writing. Email support requires customers to articulate their issues clearly and furnish all pertinent details — a task that not everyone excels at. 

In contrast, live chat support simplifies these interactions by breaking them into manageable segments. It enables support agents to guide customers through the process by asking pertinent questions logically. What might otherwise evolve into a prolonged, days-long exchange via email can be streamlined into a concise 10-minute chat session. 

💡 Do you know: For D2C businesses (like e-commerce retailers), modern live chat software is non-negotiable since it offers proactive prompts based on user behavior, enhancing the shopping experience and reducing cart abandonment. Its ability to resolve issues in the first interaction leads to a remarkable 40% increase in customer service ROI. 

Live chat software powered by Sprinklr Service

Self-service: Empowering customers with self-service options, such as a robust knowledge base or intuitive FAQs, is integral to the modern customer service landscape. A well-structured self-service platform not only resolves common queries but also enhances customer satisfaction by providing instant access to information, promoting autonomy and reducing reliance on direct support channels. 

 💡 Good to know: Modern knowledge base software helps you deliver a superior self-help experience across the digital channels customers prefer — reducing agent contact volume and empowering customer service teams to leverage proven, consistent information to drive faster resolutions. 

Integrated Self-Service with Sprinklr

2. Product and service knowledge

In-depth product and service knowledge is foundational to good customer service. Because it equips service representatives to deliver accurate, informed assistance, instilling confidence and trust in customers. A comprehensive grasp of your offerings ensures problem resolution and cultivates a customer-centric approach, contributing significantly to overall satisfaction and loyalty.    

Begin by establishing a robust training program that delves into the intricacies of each of your products and services, covering features, benefits and potential challenges. You can also utilize interactive and hands-on training methods, such as simulated customer service scenarios and real-case examples, to deepen agents' understanding.   

3. Personalization

The ability to recognize and address customers by their names, understand their preferences and tailor interactions to their specific needs is a skill not mastered by everyone.  

Utilizing data analytics, you can personalize customer interactions, make tailored recommendations, and run targeted marketing, delivering a more personalized customer service experience that stays.  

Watch: The Human Touch: How Personalized Experiences Can Drive Business Growth   

4. Empathetic support team

Customer empathy begins with the ability to comprehend and acknowledge the emotions customers are experiencing. A skillful support team recognizes that behind every query or concern lies a customer with unique feelings and expectations. Understanding these emotions is crucial for providing not just support, but genuine customer service.  

Good Read: How to Show Empathy in Customer Service   

5. Responsiveness 

Keeping customers informed throughout the resolution process is crucial. A responsive customer service team provides timely updates on the status of ongoing investigations or issue resolutions. This transparency not only manages customer expectations but also demonstrates a commitment to keeping them in the loop. 

💡 Pro tip: Streamline your customer service workflow by implementing automated notification systems for sending reminders and alerts. This not only reduces manual efforts but also ensures timely communication, enhancing responsiveness.  

Learn More: Mastering the Flow — Steps and Tips for Designing Effective Guided Workflows 

6. Customer-centricity 

In cultivating a customer-centric approach, the pivotal tool is customer journey mapping. It involves identifying touchpoints, scrutinizing customer interactions and anticipating potential pain points. By visualizing the entire customer journey, you can seamlessly align your offerings and services with customer expectations at every stage. 

Moreover, it's imperative to recognize that a customer-centric approach goes beyond individual departments. It necessitates cross-functional collaboration, where teams work harmoniously to provide a cohesive and consistent customer experience. Un-siloing your contact center is essential to ensure that valuable customer insights are not confined but shared and utilized across the entire organization.  

7. A focus on preventive care

Leveraging predictive analytics enables you to forecast potential issues based on historical data and customer behavior patterns. This proactive approach allows for the implementation of preventive measures before problems arise, contributing to a seamless customer experience. 

Also, preventive care extends to educating customers about product features, usage tips and potential challenges. A well-informed customer is less likely to encounter difficulties, and providing educational resources showcases a commitment to customer success. 

8. Contact center CRM tools 

As per Forrester, integrating contact center CRM can yield substantial improvements in customer service quality and efficiency, resulting in a 30% higher customer satisfaction (CSAT), a 20% reduction in call handling time and a 10% increase in sales numbers. 

Contact center CRM systems excel in tailoring interactions based on a customer's history, preferences and previous engagements. By storing and tracking customer interactions, these systems empower departments across your organization to leverage relevant information.  

💡 Good to know: With Sprinklr AI+, you can listen to unstructured conversations taking place on social media and capture authentic customer sentiment and brand perception. Also, Sprinklr AI+ integrates 9 distinct layers of machine learning to process unstructured customer data to derive structured, actionable insights that can help you create better customer experiences across marketing and customer service use cases. 

9. Clarity and transparency

While the enthusiasm for satisfying customer needs is commendable, it's imperative to train your agents to avoid making overly optimistic commitments. Over-promising, whether unintentional or not, can lead to unmet expectations and customer dissatisfaction. 

In situations where unforeseen challenges may impact service delivery, managing crisis communication becomes paramount. Keeping customers informed about potential delays or limitations not only showcases a commitment to integrity but also opens the door for collaborative problem-solving. 

💡 Pro tip: Schedule comprehensive contact center training for customer-facing teams at regular intervals to enhance their communication skills. This includes techniques for setting realistic expectations, handling challenging conversations and ensuring consistent and transparent communication. 

Examples of good customer service 

Now that we've explored the pillars, let's look into that real-world examples that illustrate these principles in action. 

Adobe: Proactive customer care 

Adopt a proactive strategy by pre-emptively addressing and apologizing for potential issues. Follow the lead of Adobe, which effectively acknowledged a problem on social media and skilfully diverted attention with an engaging dog video. 

Adobe informing its customers about technical issues with a puppy video

Source 

Integrating such a quirky communication style into your approach will not only garner positive perceptions of your brand but also mitigate the potential surge in calls to your inbound contact center

Additionally, Adobe's practice of accepting feature requests and responding to negative comments is commendable.  

Adobe promptly acknowledging user feedback and assisting customer on X

Source  

2. Zappos: Personalized email reply 

Zappos, a shoe and clothing brand, exemplifies the importance of every customer by using a fun and friendly approach. Although the CEO may be occupied, the team is always ready to address concerns. Instead of settling for delayed email responses, seize the chance to delight your customers with personalized replies.

A customer praising Zappos for sending personalized emails

Source 

Learn More: 13 Golden Customer Service Email Etiquette to Remember  

3. Chewy: Showing kindness and compassion 

Chewy, a pet products brand, excels at customer service by showing compassion to pet parents during difficult times. Chewy's customer support team offers support and assistance when a pet is lost. Their dedication to helping customers in their time of need has helped build customer loyalty.  

A happy customer praising Chewy on Twitter

The result? Happy customers who just can't stop talking about the brand. 

Customer praising Chewy for providing good customer service

Source  

Deliver memorable customer service with Sprinklr Service

As customer expectations soar and businesses grapple with an array of service channels, the challenge lies in understanding customer service pillars and in seamless implementation.   Enter Sprinklr Service, it equips your agents with AI-driven tools, elevating daily interactions, minimizing errors and maximizing customer satisfaction. Further, enhance your service ecosystem with:  

  • Quality management software for agent performance insights 

  • Conversational AI platform for real-time intent recognition 

  • Sprinklr AI+ for empathetic interactions and compliance adherence 

To learn more about the platform, schedule a demo with our experts today. If live demos are not your cup of tea, sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial and explore at your own pace.  

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