How to Put Customer Service at the Heart of Your Leadership Strategy

Customer Service Manager at work

As a business leader, it is up to you to set the agenda and decide what to prioritize when formulating your strategy.

If you want to make good customer service an integral part of the way that your business works, then you need to lead by example. Here’s how.

Define Good Customer Service

If you want your employees to be providing your customers with the best customer service possible, then you need to define for them exactly what that entails. As we will come onto, putting customer service at the heart of your employee training is vital if you want it to sink in and stick with your employees. If you don’t have a clear definition of what good customer service is, then you’re going to find it very difficult to communicate with your team.

Not everyone who applies to work for your business will have previous experience in delivering customer service. If they are learning about how to handle customers from scratch, the learning curve can be quite steep. If you don’t already have a template to work with, it’s going to be an even slower and more laborious process.

Think about what defines good customer service for you. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers, consider the most common problems that they encounter with your services, and then think about how you can best address these. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can then consider in more detail exactly how these goals are best achieved and how you can communicate this to your customers.

Make it a Core Part of Employee Orientation

You can’t assume that everyone who comes through your business will be coming to you with a good working knowledge of best customer service practices. You are going to have to be prepared to work with most of your employees to bring their skill level up and to orient them to your way of doing things. Making customer service training part of your core orientation rather than just an afterthought will make sure that all your new recruits become familiar with your customer service approach as quickly as possible. It will also give you an opportunity to ensure that customer service training is intertwined with the rest of your employee’s orientation, further emphasizing to them that you consider customer service to be a core part of your business ethos.

Once you’ve clearly defined exactly what good customer service is, then it should be relatively easy for you to establish how to best communicate this to new team members. Remember, just telling your staff that customer service is important is not going to accomplish anything in and of itself. It is certainly worth emphasizing to them that you care about customer service, but this needs to be paired with some practical advice on how that can be achieved.

If your employees are going to be interfacing directly with customers, then it is important that you emphasize the value of maintaining a good demeanor and a positive attitude. However, even if your staff will only have remote interactions with customers, it is still important that they understand how to communicate with them appropriately.

One of the benefits of using people to communicate with your customers as opposed to automated messages is that people can bring a more personal touch, offering context as well as the potential for interaction. But if you don’t train your staff properly on how to communicate with customers, you will not be able to enjoy these benefits.

Ensure That Your Staff Have the Skills That They Need

As well as training new employees on the importance of customer service within your business, you also need to ensure that your existing employees are brought up to speed on your new policies and procedures. In some cases, you might find this more difficult. Your most experienced team members may well be set in their ways and already feel that they know what’s going on when it comes to customer service. However, if you intend to make customer service a core part of your business ethos and the way that you would expect your business to be run at all levels, you are going to have to be willing to break some old habits.

Make sure that you clearly communicate to your managers exactly what it is that you are expecting of them and of those that they are responsible for with regard to customer service. If you do not give them a clear set of expectations, you cannot expect them to adhere to them. More importantly, without clear guidelines, there cannot be a consistent approach throughout the entirety of your business. Achieving consistency is vital if you want to make sure that these changes are a part of your corporate culture in the long-term.

Provide Leadership Training

It is well worth investing in leadership training for your managers and other people working in leadership positions. For a modest investment, this leadership training course found at can teach you and other leaders within your business the skills that they need to effectively lead within your business and disseminate information and training to those under their charge. Find Courses can connect you with leadership training courses, as well as numerous other courses that are useful for business leaders. You can search their website for other courses that you think will benefit you or your team.

If you want customer service to be at the heart of your business, and an active consideration at all levels, then you are going to need to get your managers and other key personnel on board. Without them pushing the message to those that work for them, the message is unlikely to penetrate through the ranks of your business.

Providing customer service training to your managers along with leadership training is the best way of ensuring that your customer service message makes it through to everyone in your business.

Regularly Evaluate Customer Service

As with everything else in your business, if you are trying to institute long-term change, then it is a good idea to check in now and then and see how things are going. If there are any areas in your business where customer service standards are slipping, then it is important to identify and rectify this as soon as possible. If you aren’t paying attention, it is possible for minor issues to snowball into something far more serious.

Whenever you ask your customers for feedback – something that you should be doing anyway – make sure to ask them about their customer service experience. Anyone who contacts your customer service through email, phone or through your website, should be able to report their experience to you and give you feedback.

Invest in a Proper CRM System

As always, having the right tools for the job is essential. If you don’t have a proper CRM system in place, you are going to struggle to effectively manage your customer service as your business grows. On the other hand, a CRM system makes managing customer service a breeze and ensures that you are able to address their most pressing cases as a priority.

Customers’ expectations surrounding customer service have changed a lot in recent years. To keep up with your competitors today, you need to have a dynamic system in place and always be available when your customers need you. Putting good customer service at the heart of your business and everything you do will pay off in the long run through improved customer loyalty and an overall better reputation for your business.

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