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19 Types of Customer Service Improvement

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Customer service improvement is change to an organization designed to increase customer satisfaction. This is a process of engaging the customer to learn where you are earning the customer's trust and where you are failing. Failures are an opportunity for improvement. Approaches that are working are scaled out and baked into your processes, tools, training and culture. The following are common ways to improve customer service.


Customer service is a talent that is difficult to develop. Recruiting talented individuals and investing in training is a cornerstone of service improvement.

Performance Management

Setting objectives and measuring the customer experience to reward those who make customers happy. Quickly communicate underperformance to give individuals a chance to improve.

Qualitative Assessment

Regularly evaluate customer service interactions using the qualitative judgement of customer service leaders who have proven their ability to consistently impress customers.


Building principles into your culture such as the customer is always right.

Feedback Loop

Improvement requires listening to customers. Establish customer driven metrics such as ratings and ways for the customer to reach you with feedback.


Allow customers to complain to management without obstacles. Regard this as valuable feedback.

Lessons Learned

Review failures big and small to discover valuable improvements.

Customer Advocates

Pay certain employees to represent the customer as opposed to your firm. Such employees drive change to products, services, processes, training, environments and experiences on behalf of customers. For example, if customers find a software feature annoying customer advocates will go on an internal campaign to have it removed.

Customer Personas

Capture different customer needs and perceptions as customer personas. Part of the complexity of improving customer service is that customers have very different backgrounds, needs, preferences and behaviors. As such, customer personas are an essential element of training and improvement efforts.

Employee Satisfaction

It is generally impossible to have miserable employees and happy customers. As such, the solution to poor customer satisfaction isn't to increase pressure on employees.

Organizational Culture

The difference between organizations with high customer satisfaction and those with low often comes down to the culture of the organization. For example, openly venting about "bad" customers can lead to a culture of disrespect for the customer.

Customer Recovery

Attempt to recover the confidence of customers who are unhappy. This is an opportunity to learn where customer service is failing.

Managing Expectations

Managing customer expectations upfront is a common way to improve customer satisfaction. For example, an ecommerce site that promises 7 day delivery but averages 4 days will typically have higher customer satisfaction than a site that promises 2 day delivery and averages 4 days.

Customer Relationships

Take every opportunity to treat customer engagements as a relationship as opposed to an interaction. For example, a customer asks for directions to customer service and the employee walks them there and stays with them until their request is handled.

Message Framing

Framing of messages communicated to the customer is a common area of improvement. For example, authoritative statements such as "sorry that's our policy" are unlikely to be as well received as explaining the reason behind a policy such as "we can't except this form of payment because they charge us high fees, we're trying to keep our prices as low as possible."

Common Courtesies

Common courtesies such as apologies and addressing the customer with respectful language. For example, customer service representatives who apologize on behalf of a firm when the customer is inconvenienced, even if it is not the firm's fault such as an airline that apologizes for delays due to bad weather.


Working hard for the customer. For example, an employee who is genuinely interested in solving customer problems as opposed to giving quick, easy or scripted answers.


Professionalism such as flight attendants who avoid having personal conversations with each other in front of customers.


Giving frontline employees the authority to use their own judgement as opposed to applying rigid policies and procedures. For example, an employee who accepts a late return because it was a gift that wasn't opened until after the return deadline. In an automated world, customers are often impressed by the use of rational thought over inflexible rules.
Overview: Customer Service Improvement
Change to an organization designed to increase customer satisfaction
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