9 practical ways to build customer service mindset (+ 3 urgent reasons why you should)

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week
AI assistant helping customer

Are your customer service teams thinking about what’s best for your customer ― not just generally, but intentionally, for every customer they interact with, all the time?

If the answer’s yes, you’re in the small minority of teams nailing customer service mindset. If you’re reading this because you think there’s room for improvement (isn’t there always?), you’ve won half the battle already and on your way to mastering customer service mindset.

We’ve got 9 practical tips to help you get there 💪

TL;DR

  • Customer service mindset is making a conscious and consistent effort to prioritise the needs of your customers
  • It goes beyond the individual customer, scenario, or agent; consider it more an attitude that stays constant across the whole customer service team and organisation
  • Organisations who truly embrace customer service mindset find themselves with a distinct advantage over their competitors
  • It can start with developing a deep-seated sense of pride, training your teams, setting them goals, holding regular reviews, and encouraging your agents to be proactive
  • 61% of customer service professionals say most reps will use AI/automation in their role by 2024, so now is the time to lean on customer service mindset to help reshape your service

What is customer service mindset?

Customer service mindset means making a conscious and consistent effort to prioritise the needs of your customers. While it sounds straightforward, many customer service teams don’t have an intentional focus on this, and it takes dedication and continuous effort to achieve.

Once you’ve made a commitment to customer service mindset, you can maintain it by always considering what will bring the most joy to your customer in their unique situation.

Examples of customer service mindset

When I bought an iPad and realised after a couple of weeks of using it I should have gone for the Air laptop, Apple swapped it for me free of charge. Instead of having to stomach the expense of making a wrong choice, I’m left with a story I’ve retold many times to others.

This kind of boundless customer support is what Apple is known for and it helps grow their loyal fan base, but customer service mindset doesn’t have to cost you financially as a business.

When a three-year-old wrote to a leading grocery chain to point out their tiger bread looks more like giraffe bread, they wrote back to agree. The letter went viral and the supermarket went on to change the name of the bread and benefit from this positive PR to fuel their visibility and growth.

Is customer service mindset more than just good customer service?

While a good customer service experience is always welcome, the best support is consistently good. Customer service mindset goes beyond the individual customer, scenario, or agent. It’s an attitude that thrives across an entire customer service team (at every level) and stays constant.

Ideally, customer service mindset is supported and endorsed by the whole organisation.

Forming a customer service mindset is hard work

Once your teams have established customer service mindset, they’ll want to give your customers value for money at every opportunity. This keeps customers satisfied and loyal to your brand, so they buy more and repeatedly, give positive reviews, and recommend you to others.

Consistently helping your customers find success in whatever it is they’re hoping to achieve takes genuine effort, but when you take the right steps to nurture customer service mindset, it’s achievable. Read on for nine ways to do it.

9 practical ways to achieve customer service mindset

The concept of customer service mindset is frequently overlooked because it can be so hard to maintain. Yet, those organisations who truly embrace it find themselves with a distinct advantage over their competitors.

These nine practical tips help you successfully adopt customer service mindset within your support teams:

1. Develop a deep-seated sense of pride

Set your focus on outshining competitors through unparalleled customer service and aspire to be at the top of every customer’s preference list. Achieving this level of excellence starts inward, so think about how your organisation operates and the message it sends to employees.

  • Raise the bar: Encourage every customer service team member to consistently push for higher standards, helping to reduce customer complaints and encourage forward-thinking.
  • Focus on resilience: Whenever you come across challenges, view them as opportunities instead, to help foster a team culture that values perseverance and problem-solving.
  • Promote growth: Encourage self-improvement and continuous learning within your teams to help enhance personal reputation, but also boost team proficiency.
  • Acknowledge good work: This goes a long way to building high morale within your support teams and, don’t forget, this positivity naturally filters through to your customers.
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2. Give your agents hands-on training in customer service mindset

Training your team on how to use business tools, understand your products, handle conflicts ― it’s all part of the job. But learning how to adopt a customer service mindset is just as important. It won’t necessarily come naturally and takes more effort than people might realise.

Start training from day one

The best way to welcome new agents into your team is with a structured onboarding process. Introducing them to customer service mindset should be part of that, so your new team members can quickly learn and apply your unique approach.

Take a lively, engaging approach to learning

Role-play real-life customer scenarios and use everyday examples to make learning about customer service mindset fun and relatable. This can help your teams recognise how crucial it is to learn about and adopt customer service mindset.

“The ugly truth about not matching what your customers need and expect from your brand is they won’t necessarily complain before leaving,” says Omniconvert ― most “leave silently”.

So help your agents see how they individually contribute to your company, keep an eye out for any gaps in training and fix those along the way.

3. Prioritise customer satisfaction goals for your teams

Success is often driven by setting target goals, but let’s not forget one essential element: the Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). If it’s not already top of your list, consider pushing it up.

  • Happy customers are more likely to return and make additional purchases
  • They’re more inclined to buy your related products or services
  • There’s real power in them recommending you to their friends and colleagues

All of this means your company spends less time and less money on attracting new customers:

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You’re likely already using goal-setting formulas like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rely on these to track your progress, quantify your performance, identify areas for improvement, and measure success in a structured way. This gives you an attainable way to improve your performance and lift your customer satisfaction score.

4. Put customer feedback at the heart of your decision making

Who best to tell you how customers feel about your company than the customers themselves? If you’re not already collecting their feedback, you can quickly make a start.

  • Traditional surveys: Add a survey to your website, send an email (or even snail mail), or carry out interviews face-to-face to collate feedback.
  • AI assistant: For instant feedback use an AI assistant on your website, app, or any other digital channel to end every conversation with a request for real-time customer feedback.
  • Community groups: Give customers a space to talk candidly about your products or services, or if this doesn’t suit your work, use social media comments to garner feeling.

Act on customer feedback, don’t just collect it

There are many ways to collect customer feedback, but the crucial step is not collecting it, it’s taking action and doing something with it once you have it. Fixing problems and enhancing services often leads to higher customer satisfaction scores and, so, increased profitability.

Do better than your competition

A 2021 study of 5,300 people found a whopping “[t]hree-quarters ( 75%) of those surveyed report that brands are not listening to their feedback,” yet 83% said they would “spend more in return for a better customer service experience.”

Make the most of this willingness to spend by creating a group that’s specifically tasked with analysing and prioritising customer feedback. Design an action plan and follow through with it diligently to show you listen to and value the opinion of your customers.

5. Dedicate yourself to resolving customer queries promptly

Being attentive to customer needs might sound like a straightforward task, yet many organisations struggle to excel at this. On average, UK customers wait 35 minutes to get through to companies on the phone and 62% of businesses ignore email altogether. This poor record sends a clear message to customers: their needs and time are not valued or respected, and couldn’t be any further away from demonstrating customer service mindset.

These shocking figures present a golden opportunity for organisations like yours to stand out. By simply cutting down your wait times and responding promptly, your business can better satisfy customers and so attract more of them.

Use AI to combat long wait times

When Barking & Dagenham Council launched an AI assistant to automate customer queries, it independently resolved 10,000 routine queries for their contact team in the first six months, so they could focus on more high value tasks. Offering an instant 24 hour support service, the council also saved £48,000 and customer satisfaction shot up by 67%.

6. Teach agents how to express empathy for every customer situation

Empathy forms the bedrock of excellent customer service and actively making use of it shows your agents truly understand and connect with your customers.

Showing empathy doesn’t mean your agents have to experience the same emotions as your customer or claim to understand exactly how the customer feels. What it does require is an appreciation for the situation your customer finds themselves in and a genuine acceptance of their point of view to be able to do the best thing to help them.

If you feel there’s more you could do to hone this vital skill in your teams, there are lots of ways to teach empathy. From practicing acceptance and matching the customer’s emotion, to using empathy statements and hiring people with high emotional intelligence, there’s no shortage of techniques you can use to achieve empathy in customer service (with AI too).

7. Hold regular reviews to reinforce customer service mindset

Speaking regularly with your team about customer service mindset helps establish its importance. You could motivate your teams further by offering rewards, perks, or recognition for generating positive customer feedback.

  • Share performance results with your teams, so they know how they’re doing
  • Encourage agents to offer ideas for improvements, since they know the customer best
  • Celebrate every win, big or small, for individuals as well as teams
  • Give agents time to recharge their batteries and refocus their mindset

That last one is super important because being continually attentive to customers is taxing; agents need to attend to their own needs too to keep their stamina up. Absorbing a lot of emotional energy from customers ― sometimes negative, can lead to agent burnout. Showing you recognise that and want to protect your teams can encourage long-term agent retention.

8. Encourage agents to be proactive and exceed expectations

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company gives their customer service employees a budget of “$2,000 per incident, not per year, to rescue a guest experience,” says CTS. While that’s a generous way to improve customer service mindset, you don’t have to allocate a budget to encouraging agents to go the extra mile for your customers.

  • Let agents know they can spend extra time on customer problems if they warrant it
  • Encourage them to be creative with their responses to find new solutions to old problems
  • Give awards for good results, like a high customer satisfaction score or positive online review

Remove unproductive tasks from an agent’s workload

Agents tent to be more proactive when they’re motivated and morale is high. Using an AI assistant to handle repetitive routine queries and eradicate low value tasks can help with this.

  1. Use AI to eliminate unrewarding or repetitive queries
  2. Assess the unresolved issues and automate as many of those as you can
  3. Proactively work on resolving the stubborn or more complicated problems that can’t be automated to enhance the customer experience

Before you know it, your teams are dealing with far more rewarding and high value support issues that inspire them to do well to maintain your excellent reputation for customer service.

9. Customer service leaders: Show your teams the way

Speed up progress on achieving customer service mindset by showing, rather than simply instructing your customer service teams on what to do. This removes any possible resentment that builds from having to do the hard work alone, gives your employees confidence to follow your lead, and inspires action to work harder on mindset and excel in their performance.

3 reasons why now is a crucial time to reinforce mindset

The way we deliver customer service is changing ― fast. “61% of customer service professionals say most reps will use AI/automation in their role by 2024,” reports HubSpot. It brings many opportunities for customer service teams to boost productivity, increase accuracy and be more proactive.

When ContactBabel asked if AI will be used to help contact centre agents, all of their research respondents said yes with 66% agreeing strongly, but there’ll be a lot of disruption along the way. It’s important to pull tightly together with your teams now to establish customer service mindset and use it to guide you while you reshape your support services:

1. Soaring customer demands in the AI era

Customer demands have skyrocketed thanks to interactions with AI-driven systems. Using a next-generation AI assistant, you can answer customer queries instantly 24/7, make sure they get the right information every time, and connect with them on any digital channel at their own convenience. When customers get this service elsewhere, they come to expect it from you too.

2. Personalised 24/7 service is a necessity, not a luxury

Today’s customers want support that caters to their every specific need and around-the-clock. They’re getting it too, thanks to AI. Using an advanced AI assistant you can tailor every interaction to each person, leading to happier customers, less backlog, and reduced stress for your agents. Personalisation isn’t just a nice-to-have, customers are insisting on it.

3. Switching is a breeze for today’s customers

With an overflow of comparison sites, reviews, blog posts, personalised ads, and now enhanced AI-powered services, it’s incredibly easy for unhappy customers to scout around for alternative providers if they feel your service isn’t quite up to scratch. Customer service mindset keeps leaders focused on staying one step ahead of their rivals.

Ready to make a start?

Start today on developing and maintaining an active, focused customer service mindset to improve your services.

  • Give every customer value for money
  • Help your agents do their best work
  • Improve customer satisfaction scores
  • Increase brand loyalty and staff retention
  • Boost the profitability of your organisation
  • Beat your competition on service every time
  • Use AI to empower your agents to deliver that unbeatable, first-class customer experience

You can launch an AI assistant in just 10 minutes.