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41 actionable tips to improve your customer service strategy in 2022

Hricha Shandily
Hricha Shandily
Published on Jun 29, 2022
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Customer service is the face of your brand. Simple improvements in your customer service strategy can make you more money than a poor strategy would cost you.

Companies delivering a good customer experience enjoy 4-8% higher revenues than their competitors. Inversely, a bad customer service experience made 47% of customers switch to an alternative brand last year. (Read about more such statistics in this article by Fonolo.)

After all, your CS strategy defines how you directly interact with your customers and maintain a good relationship with them.

And it is 2022. With so many brands competing for your customers’ attention, they want to feel special to stay loyal to your brand.

Recommended: CX trends in 2022.

So, there are a lot of things to consider to create a winning strategy in 2022. We’ve divided them into four categories. The following flow chart will help. ⬇️

How to approach a great CS strategy

In this article, we will look deeply into these four categories and outline 41 tips to create/improve your customer service strategy.

Ensure the right communication with your customers

1. Know what your customers expect from you

You can only begin with improving your customer service strategy when you know who and what you’re designing for.

In short, you need to have an understanding of your customers' expectations and needs. This will help you define goals, systems, and KPIs for your CS team.

You should approach this in two steps:

  1. Take a look at your historical data. Identify your customers’ pain points, preferences, mindset, challenges, etc. Try to draw a customer journey map.
  2. Simply ask them or listen to where your customers hang out. Your go-to places can be social media and forums. If you want to do an active reach out, consider creating an email campaign or survey.

If you’re having trouble, these common customer needs might help you get started.

2. Optimize for a positive experience

Your customers would generally be interacting with you either because of a query or a complaint.

If they’re already frustrated, annoyed, or even neutral – they’re looking for a solution through your support. These negative feelings need to be turned into positive ones. That’s kind of the whole point of CS, right?

How your customers feel after interacting with you should be a concern of priority. It should be the goal of every person on your team attending to a ticket.

To ensure this, you should strongly consider incorporating these 5 things into your guidelines when building a CS strategy:

  • Always listen to your customer’s problems with full attention.
  • Show empathy to them.
  • Use reassuring words but don’t overuse them. They shouldn’t seem unnatural. You can try picking up keywords from their problem statement and use them in the solution that you are offering.
  • Give solutions quickly and avoid beating around the bush.
  • If you don’t have the solution to their problem yet, give them an ETA of when can they expect an answer. Adhere to it.

3. Ask for customer feedback

Customers want to feel heard and understood – before and after interacting with your brand. Letting customers provide feedback makes it easier for you to learn what needs improvement. The best way to improve your customer service is to ask the customer what they liked and didn’t like about it. It is encouraging to know that more than 80% of folks are willing to give feedback, whether their experience is good or not.

You should consider asking for customer feedback immediately after a conversation – through email outreach, or a form on the “Contact Us” page. You could run social media polls asking customers to rate their interaction with your brand on a scale of 1-10, and ask for suggestions for what more they’d like.

You might find this helpful: Customer Feedback Form Template

Ensure the right communication amongst your team

4. Share feedback with people outside your team

All departments at an organization work toward the same end – to make the customers happy with their brand. This is why customer feedback is like a goldmine for every department. Once you’ve got it, do share it across.

Parallelly, you want to be able to do justice with your support and provide solutions to customer issues. If it is an issue that can only be resolved by your frontend engineer, sharing the feedback becomes very important.

Also, the team can have monthly discussions around this feedback. You can also consider sharing these insights through the company newsletter if any.

5. Identify frequent complaints and their solutions

Once you’ve been handling complaints for a while and see feedback from your clients, you’ll be able to easily identify the main 3-5 common, recurring complaints people have. You can prioritize them according to how often they're brought up.

Once you know the top problems to be fixed, notify the appropriate departments and give them access to all the data they need. Make sure that they know the urgency of fixing the problems.

Fixing these commonly occurring issues will not only help your clients but also your team.

6. Setup and track the right KPIs for your team

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are important for your customer support team to stay productive. They are a good way to measure their performance and also bring some structure and objectivity to the process.

Moreover, these metrics will give you a better understanding of your customers' experiences with your products and services.

You can refer to this list of 10 important KPIs you can start setting up.

7. Set team goals

You can set up quarterly, monthly or even weekly goals for your team as a whole.

This will help everyone stay on the same page while working in harmony. They’ll also be able to understand the impact of their individual tasks on the wider goal of the team.

This in turn improves efficiency and productivity.

Some examples of team goals are:

  • Reduce customer contact volume by 5% in the coming month.
  • Reduce employee overtime by 10% in the next quarter.
  • Improve the overall CSAT score by 5% this quarter.
  • Get first contact resolution to 80% by the end of the year.

…you get the drift.

Examples of CS team goals

8. Set goals for each team member

Individual goals complement team goals. When you give your customer service reps goals to achieve, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work.

You should also encourage them to track their progress on a weekly basis. Visual indicators of progress could help them stay motivated.

All in all, when individual goals and team goals come together, it is a win-win situation.

Related Read: How to set goals for your Customer Support team

9. Cultivate a culture of honesty

Practising honest conversations with your team is one of the best things you could do. This includes providing quick and actionable feedback, whether it is positive or negative.

Honest feedback would help your team make instant required changes, learn from mistakes, and become better in their profession overall. This also opens the doors to more effective reviews and better results. It’s a win-win!

10. Set the customer service standards

Another way to ensure that your team is aware of your expectations is to set customer service standards. They help bring uniformity to the way you address your customers’ problems and act as guidelines for your team.

Service standards can be set up with checklists, inculcated through discussions, led by example, and measured through KPIs.

When drafting these standards, you can base them on things like:

  • How empathetic and friendly your agents should ideally be?
  • How should they handle rude customers?
  • What is the degree of transparency that should be practiced?
  • What a proactive reach-out should look like?
  • How to act in unfamiliar situations?

And so on…

11. Have a quality assurance checklist

Next, comes the quality assurance checklist. You can create your own checklist based on the kind of service you’d like to offer. Some common considerable checklist points are as follows:

  • Response time < 10 minutes
  • New conversations to be labelled
  • Greeting message to contain the name of the client
  • A customer is not to be kept on hold for more than 15 minutes. If not possible, communicate the same and reach out later on with a solution.
  • Ensure that you are communicating the latest information.
  • When transferring a ticket, make sure someone from the other department attends to it.
  • Politely ask to rate the conversation
Examples of quality assurance checklist for customer support

12. Give quality feedback to the team

When you are transparent and give regular feedback, you build trust with the people on your team.

If done thoughtfully, your team members will also get a sense of growth and ownership in their work – which are both great drivers for quality work.

Both positive and negative kinds of feedback are important to help keep the team on track. How it’s conducted is also equally important. We recommend going through this article on how to provide constructive feedback.

13. Create a learning environment

You are setting up customer service standards, implementing checklists, tracking performance and providing regular feedback to your teammates. The next major thing to pay attention to is to regularly mentor your team. What’s better? Try to create an environment where everyone learns from each other.

Advice, help and discussions instead of insensitive criticism will help build a team that’s stronger in every aspect. This brings positivity to the workplace along with a growth mindset. Something you can’t go wrong with, right? The only rule to follow is to not let the employees misuse this setup.

The best part: when your team is well-coached, they can not only respond to issues effectively but also prevent them from occurring in the first place.

14. Inspire discussions

Your team is on the frontline. They can share ideas and insights to improve the quality of the team’s work.

You should consider having team discussions around ideas, workflows, and improvements.

If you have one-on-ones with your teammates in place, you can also encourage discussions on personal career development and challenges they face.

Such communications not only give you new ideas to work better but also improve your team’s job satisfaction and retention rate.

15. Understand the pain points of your customer service reps too

If your reps are facing frequent problems, it is possible that something could be wrong with a product feature, your workflow, or policies. Getting an understanding of the same and working on a solution can help you bridge the gap between a highly effective CS team and an average one.

16. Use a suitable CS management software

Whether you receive 5 tickets or 500 tickets every day, having a management tool in place is always helpful. Both your customers and team want fast resolutions.

So, look for tools that best suit your use case. If you receive tickets through multiple channels, try to go for an omnichannel dashboard. These tools can also help your team be more efficient as well as constantly track the parameters of their performance.

17. Ensure the software is effective and user-friendly

When making a decision about a tool or software, it might prove to be beneficial to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well does this tool integrate with my existing business suite?
  • Does it offer an omnichannel experience?
  • Can I track the status and performance of my team members?
  • How well can I store contact information?
  • Are there any automation or chatbots that can improve the customer service experience?
CS software

Of course, Chatwoot has these and many more functionalities to offer.

18. Build an engaging training program

Engaged learners often become engaged employees, who can offer excellent customer service. With a little bit of thoughtful planning, you can create an engaging training program for your customer service reps.

Try to incorporate peer-to-peer learning, and fun sessions. Promote collaboration, encourage ideas, and give rewards.

19. Recognize and reward your CS reps

One other trick in the book is to recognize and reward your employees who do well at work. This not only helps them stay motivated but also encourages their peers to do better.

If someone is doing exceptionally well on the team, they would also be capable of leading others by example. All in all, encouraging a friendly competition might boost productivity and create a positive experience for both your team members and clients.

Happy reps = happy customers.

20. Make better hiring choices

This one is kind of obvious, but also overlooked at times. When you have huge processes and systems in place and your HR wants to meet their numbers, substandard applications might slip by.

It is costlier to work with customer service reps who don’t care about their work than not have them at all. So, try to talk to the candidates and evaluate them on these things:

  • Are they capable of empathy?
  • Do they enjoy helping people?
  • How good are they with communicating?
  • How much do they understand / are capable of understanding about the industry and the product?
  • How easily can they switch between conversations while providing the same quality of service?
  • Are they adaptable?
  • Can they be easily put down by negative words from customers?
  • What is their work ethic?
Things to consider when hiring for your customer service team

Related: How To Build a Top-Performing Customer Success Team

Build the right kind of processes around customer engagement

21. Establish an omnichannel customer service

Your brand is probably present on and can be contacted through multiple channels – Twitter, Instagram, website, email, etc.

If this is not true, you should probably register your accounts already. Reason: your customers are hanging out there. They wouldn’t think twice before sending you a message on those platforms. If you’re not responding to them, your competitors will.

Consider incorporating omnichannel customer service into your strategy. To make things more organized, use a tool that lets you manage conversations from all channels on a single dashboard. Chatwoot is one such tool:

Chatwoot for omnichannel customer service

22. Build a help centre

We have all looked for some sort of customer support at some time. We have also found the answers through a simple search function, saving the time for both ourselves and the customer service rep we never had to contact.

Conclusion: Try to understand your customer journey and what their possible questions could be.

Have a well-written and well-structured documentation in place. Keep updating your FAQs section as and when you identify new common queries. To make things more interesting, you can enable community discussions by creating a forum.

A well-structured help centre will:

  • Reduce the burnout of your agents
  • Provide fast resolutions and a good experience to your customers
  • Help you stay cost-efficient

Related: Creating and managing a knowledge base

23. Power play with chatbots

If you’re taking the time to improve your customer service strategy, you possibly cannot miss out on chatbots!

Chatbots can take your customer service experience one step further. A one-time setup can set you up for success.

You can also consider adding some character to your chatbot. Feed her answers, train her to handle new complaints, assign conversations, and function on machine learning. Over time, she’ll not only be the most reliable intern on your team but also could become a mascot.

If you need some help figuring this out, we recommend you spend some time on this article by G2.

Build the right kind of mindset around customer engagement

24. Solve customer problems the first time

If a problem is solvable the first time, make sure your CS agents are not procrastinating it.

Your customers need to know you care about them. This study found that 34% of their subjects weren’t interested in interacting with the brand again, based on just one bad experience.

So, a mindset about solving problems the first time needs to be built. This would help with good customer experiences, more loyal customers, and also a neat ticketing process.

25. Understand the customer journey

Customer service as a concept has evolved into something more meaningful – customer experience. And, providing a good experience to your customers (and hence, service) is more about understanding their journey.

Getting an understanding of your customers’ touch points is important because customer service fits into the picture, every step of the way. So when you know what are the larger problems you’re solving on a daily basis, you get a zoomed-out view of your CX and plan better for it.

26. Humanize customer interactions

Your customers came looking to talk to a human being. If your agents talk the templatized talk without being considerate of the specific situation, they stand the risk of pissing off the person on the other end.

Your team will be able to provide more quality experiences if they:

  • Practise active listening to customers describing their issues
  • Be proactive with customer info
  • Show empathy about a negative experience
  • Admit mistakes
  • Present a solution that suits the customer the best

27. Follow up after a problem is not solved

It is possible that a problem is not solved due to a lack of diligence or resources on the part of either the customer or the customer service rep.

It is always a good idea to send a nice email after you’ve figured out a solution. Or, you could ask your customer if they were able to resolve the problem. This level of customer experience is capable of creating loyal customers. They would never want to look at your competitors.

Here’s an email template you can save:

Hey {customer name},

This is {your name} from {your org’s name}. Yesterday, we left our conversation on {add context}.

I am happy to inform you that we’ve fixed the bug from our end. You should be able to {perform the specific function} now.

OR

I quickly wanted to follow up and see if you were able to try the possible solutions we discussed. I would be happy to discuss it further.

Thanks for your patience. Have a good day.

If your resources do not allow you to do manual and personalized follow-ups, you can set an automation rule in your CS management tool like Chatwoot, to trigger a standard email once a ticket isn’t resolved.

28. …Or solved

Your customers would love you if you send them a sweet follow-up email even after you’ve successfully resolved their issue. The only rule to follow is to not be unnatural and pushy with this.

So, you might want to follow up if you solved an issue about a data sync up in your SAAS tool or about a refund issue with a huge order of shirts; but not if it was a simple question about a how-to, or about a “where is my order”.

You could follow a general rule of thumb: When you’ve resolved a ticket but it also requires the customer to wait and see how things go, you might wanna follow up.

Continuing our examples, you could simply ask them if they’re able to sync up the data fine now, or if they’ve received the refund yet, and thank them for their time. Something you might do for a friend. This is where the humanization of customer interactions can be your winning point!

29. Try to be always available

Try to create a schedule for your team that allows at least one person to appear online at a given time. Tracking your busiest hours and assigning the number of agents to each slot accordingly could be helpful.

Recommended: How to Create the Ideal Shift Schedule for your Customer Service Team

If your team is small and this is not possible for you, be sure to include a “We’re away” message. Or you could say how long you’re going to take to reply. Set the right expectations.

30. Build a community

Consider collaborating with your Marketing team and creating an online community of your stakeholders.

You can provide a platform for your customers to interact amongst themselves and discuss ideas and solutions. You could also host webinars and contests to get your customers excited about your brand.

This would enable your organization to:

  • Get an insight into how your product is used and perceived in the market.
  • Give an easily accessible way for your customers to share feedback.
  • Drive product innovation.
  • Encourage engagement and build a brand value.
  • Take a little load off your team.

We love how Typeform has nailed this. Take a look for inspiration:

31. Use positive language

Improving your customer service strategy also means doing the little things. Using positive language goes a long way.

To illustrate: “We will be supporting this functionality by the end of this quarter. I will make sure to personally inform you when it’s available.” sounds better than “Sorry, we don’t have that feature right now.”

32. Understand your ticketing system completely

Your ticketing system helps your team stay organized, focused, efficient, and effective.

Getting a 360-degree understanding of how it functions for both your team and your customers can remove ambiguity and speed up a lot of processes. You may also want to consider getting feedback from your employees and updating your ticketing system time-to-time.

33. Have a deep knowledge of your product

First instance resolutions, good customer experience, and even employee satisfaction – Everything eventually boils down to having a good understanding of your product.

Your customers are talking to you because you know something about the product they’re having trouble understanding. Keep up-to-date with product changes and know where to turn if a question becomes too technical or complex for you.

34. Be solutions-focused

You want to be able to trust your customer service reps and make them as independent as possible.

Therefore, every time they feel stuck, try to teach them how to look for the solution instead of giving the solution itself. It might feel a little uncomfortable in the moment but will pay off beautifully in the long term.

35. Be willing to learn from your mistakes

When you and your team are experimenting with new ideas to grow, it is natural to make some mistakes along the way. What’s important is to not hold a gun to the head of your team and learn what not to repeat the next time around. Of course, if someone keeps repeating a mistake, you might want to have more than a talk with them.

36. Keep your loyal customers happy by rewarding them

Loyalty programs are a great way to have your happiest of customers keep coming back to you. Whenever your team sees an opportunity, enable them to reward a loyal customer with free credits, or an exclusive membership to your invite-only loyalty program.

Here’s a sample message:

I am really glad I could help you today. As a token of my appreciation for being an invested client, I would love to offer you $500 worth of credits.

Who wouldn’t like this, right?

37. Respond on social media

Like it or not, Social Media is an inseparable part of your customer service experience. It is very convenient for your customers to share feedback or complaint on there. But it is even more important for you to respond as quickly as possible because it is a public platform.

Long story short: Social media has to be included when planning improvements for your customer service strategy. You should strongly consider switching on alerts for your Social Media channels. Your marketing team would be primarily responsible for handling Social Media. Collaborate with them to let your team handle complaints that pop up. And try to do it within 60 minutes.

38. Spice up your auto-replies

Auto-replies are a great way of sparing your customers the trouble of wondering whether you’ve received their support ticket or not.

However, it is a good idea to add a little personal touch to these auto-replies. If possible, include the customer’s first name and an ETA of when someone would attend to them. If relevant, you can also include links to your help center articles or videos to save everyone time.

If you want to get a little creative, include a count-down timer or a link to some nice music!

39. Provide a 24/7 customer support

This is a classic one. To ensure that you can offer customer support 24*7, you can explore the following options:

  • Hire more full-time CS reps
  • Outsource CS to corporates or freelancers
  • Leverage chatbots
  • Build a help center
  • Create a ticketing system

40. Provide painless refunds

Being in customer support, you would be dealing with refund-related requests more than you expect. To save the trouble, have your refund policy well drawn-out with an easy-to-understand language.

Whenever you get refund requests, make sure to offer it upfront (if the request aligns with your company policy). Also, set the expectations right. Let your customers know where the refund would be credited and how long would it take.

If you cannot do that, it’s important to politely decline the request and explain the reason to the customer. If the reason seems a little unfair and similar issues keep propping up, bring it up to the management team.

Keeping the customers’ best interests in mind would automatically give you ideas to improve your customer service strategy.

41. Experiment with discounts

Discounts are a proven way of retaining customers, especially angry ones. 😡

Discount codes are one of the most effective ways to build customer loyalty. They also encourage customers to spend (and hence, save) more.

Pro tip: Whenever offering a personalized/special discount to a customer, create a discount code that includes their name. They’ll be very happy to see the excellent customer service being provided and share the word in their network as well. You can use a free random code generator to fasten the process.


Winding up...

In 2022, We have so many resources at our disposal. Improving your customer service strategy doesn’t have to be as hard as it used to be.

Let us know in the comments if you found this article helpful. We’re also regularly sharing helpful stuff around CS on our Twitter feed. See ya again! 👋