Why is a customer service charter so important?
A customer service charter is a key tool that can help to improve your customer experience and thus profits/revenue across your business. The set of written promises outline the standards that you intend to uphold whenever and wherever you deal with customers. It acts as a guide for both your staff and your customers, letting your staff know what you expect from them and your customers know what to expect from you.
A customer service charter allows you to put customer experience at the heart of your organisation, by doing two important things:
Keeping your staff motivated
Any business can make a vague commitment to uphold strong customer service standards, but with a customer service charter, you are clearly defining just what good customer service looks like to you and enthusing your staff to meet these standards. All staff, at all levels, from your warehouse operatives to your frontline sales team, will know what is needed from them.
Allowing you to grow your relationship with your client
By letting your customers know what sort of service they can expect to receive at every touchpoint, and by performing to these standards, it can improve customer engagement and they may be more likely to choose you consistently over your competitors and become loyal brand ambassadors.
What should your customer service charter look like?
To create a charter that truly meets the needs of your customers, you will need to base your promises on customer experience insight. You should listen to what your customers are saying at every point of the customer journey, look at where you are currently letting your customers down, and the sort of improvements that would make a difference for them. Only once you understand your customers, can you go about designing an effective customer service charter:
- Outline your areas of focus – it’s not enough to simply say “we promise to deliver excellent customer service”. You need areas of focus, specific to your business and sector, for them to be promises your customers can relate to and your staff can commit to.
- Set your standards – you need to outline what customers can expect whenever and wherever they interact with you – a customer wandering into your store is just as important as one that asks a question on social media. Where possible, be specific with your standards, whether this be defining how long they can expect to wait for an answer or specifying who they can contact if they wish to escalate a complaint.
- Consider offering a guarantee – this demonstrates to customers that you are serious about your commitment to good customer service and may encourage them to choose you over competitors.
They aren’t a client, but we think household energy providers SSE are a good example of a comprehensive customer service charter.
It is all well and good writing a customer service charter, but it is essential to properly action it by sharing the document with all employees, routinely discussing it in company meetings, making it part of the company starter pack, or use it as a living, breathing document that is regularly updated based on feedback from staff and customers alike. Once implemented, you will begin to see improvements in customer retention, engagement, and your profits.
…And fail if you don’t
Good customer experience is about activation. As for any tool to improve customer experience, failure to do so can not only hold you back but have detrimental impacts on your business. In this instance, if your customer service charter is not properly actioned, you will fail to meet the promises outlined. This will work against you and cost you loyal customers, as expectations are high and customer trust is damaged.