Documentation is extremely important in every aspect of customer service. At a help desk, a call center, or during a sale, documentation provides the foundation for that lead in the future. In addition, documentation allows managers to see what is working for customers and what isn’t working.
Not all documentation is great, however. In some cases, customer service representatives lack the training or knowledge of proper documentation, resulting in wasted time and effort in the future. Here are three tips for better documentation, so your customer service is the best it can possibly be.
First and foremost, solid standards need to be set from the very beginning for the customer service department. In many cases, these standards can be set up from the business plan.
A business plan is an outline for the business before it is created, and it contains the basic principles and ideas that the business will implement for the rest of its life. If you are unsure about how to write a business plan or what a customer service section looks like, you can find resources on business plan templates online.
In the business plan or another foundational document, the satisfactory outcome for an interaction between a customer and employee should be outlined in detail. For example, if you have a customer who has a software issue, a successful process would look like this:
- Customer Calls Help Line
- Employee Identifies Problem
- Employee Installs Screen Sharing Program
- Employee Reinstalls Software
- Software Problem Fixed
- Customer Completes Survey
A guide like this will give the employee standards to uphold throughout their interaction. For each customer to employee interaction, in multiple situations, a successful process should be established in both documentation and in employee training.
One of the most important pieces of documentation is case documentation. A case is one unique interaction with a customer, usually assigned a case number for future employees to work on. For future employees, proper documentation on what the customer’s issue is, what steps have already been taken, and what further actions are needed.
A well-documented case will make the process for solving customer issues and making sales much faster and more efficient. Instead of having to basically restart each time the customer is transferred to a new employee, the employee will already have the information needed to solve the case.
In addition to steps former employees have taken, it’s also important to note issues the customer has complained about. For example, if a customer’s order arrived late, that should be notated in the case documentation.
In many cases, customer complaints are due to miscommunication; a customer may have never received a call about their order, but you find that they put an incorrect number on their contact information. In each case, proper documentation of previous customer experiences is vital to the customer journey.
Finally, proper case information can give you insight into who is the best on your customer service team. If one employee only solves half of a customer’s problem within a 2-hour session, but another solves the issue within 30 minutes, you know who may be better at that particular customer complaint. This can be a very valuable tool for segmenting work and calls in the future.
Now that we know the importance of standards and cases, what are some procedural tips to make documentation easier? The most important aspect of great documentation is clarity. A page-long paper on a customer is worth nothing if it doesn’t explain the complaint well.
In addition, another important factor is the length. Documentation should be as efficient as possible, so keeping notes to a paragraph at most is the best rule of thumb for case documentation.
Finally, documentation should be consistent throughout the team. If one employee uses different jargon than another employee, the documentation might as well be written in another language. In fact, avoiding jargon and setting up a common shorthand throughout the department is the best setup for a customer service manager.
With these tips, the documentation doesn’t have to be such a pain: it might even make the customer journey much more enjoyable.