In a recent discussion with an executive from American Express, I was delighted to learn that customer service is one of the company’s core values. In fact, it’s encapsulated in its mission statement: “We have a mission to be the world’s most respected service brand. To do this, we have established a culture that supports our team members so they can provide exceptional service to our customers.” How does having the right mission statement guarantee you’re delivering the level of customer service your customers expect? Here’s a closer look at four ways creative brands can use their mission statement as an anchor for outstanding customer service.
Document your vision. Every business may have a different vision of what excellent customer service means, even within the same industry. Case in point: Zappos and Famous Footwear deliver and create great experiences for their target audience. However, each is positioned in a unique way—despite the fact that both companies sell shoes. Use your mission statement as a way to clearly spell out your company’s definition of exceptional customer service. This provides a foundation for both customer facing policies and for training your team.
Incorporate your mission into onboarding and ongoing training. Each of your employees should be able to recite your company’s mission. This is particularly critical for your Customer Service staff. Ensure that your company’s mission is part of your onboarding and ongoing training plans. For Customer Service representatives and Contact Center managers, make sure there is a clear understanding of how that mission translates into the day-to-day service you provide.
Empower your team. Empowering your team to deliver on your mission is critical to capturing its full benefits. For example, if your mission statement guarantees that no customer will be unhappy with a purchase, it’s important to ensure that your team can authorize refunds. You don’t want every call to end in a refund being processed, which underscores the importance of training your team to offer a range of different solutions to resolve problems before resorting to accepting returns and issuing refunds. However, fundamentally empowering your team to make the best decision for your customers will keep team members productive and customers feeling that their needs are met.
Revisit your mission statement. Companies change, customer expectations change, and the market evolves. It’s important to periodically revisit your mission statement and your commitment to how you deliver customer service. For example, the blanket refunds a brand offers may no longer be viable in today’s marketplace. Conversely, if all your competitors now offer a no-questions–asked, 60-day return policy, it may be time to reevaluate your own approach. Revisit your mission statement—and your customer service commitment—on an annual basis to ensure you’re meeting brand expectations.
Your mission statement captures what you do in the world and why. But it also articulates how your customers can expect to interact with your brand. Look at your mission and vision to incorporate a clear promise of the service you’re offering customers, and use that as the foundation of your customer service initiatives.