Five Elements of Great Customer Service

5 Essential Elements of Customer Service to Guide Your Growing Business

These five elements of customer service lay the foundation for company growth, client success, and customer happiness at growing small businesses.

Our company’s core values guide our entire business.

We hire, train, and motivate team members according to these values.

When we decided to expand our customer support team, we set out to create a document specific to customer needs.

We came up with these five elements of customer service:

  1. Respect
  2. Patience
  3. Personalization
  4. Empathy
  5. Responsiveness

They dictate how we expect our customer service representatives to treat clients. And how we expect the rest of the team to treat our customer service reps.

For the past several years, these elements have proven their value to both our customers and to our business at large. The end result ensures customer satisfaction and team-wide harmony.

Here’s a closer look at the five components, what they look like in the workplace, and how you can implement them at your own company.

1. Respect

Customer relationships rely on respect. The Groove mentality encourages treating customers like colleagues.

We don’t dumb things down or hide behind marketing jargon. Rather, we explain issues and product updates with the same level of trust and intelligence we would expect from our teammates.

Congruently, if we’re going to “treat our customers like our colleagues” then we better treat our colleagues well. Respect is the only way to do this.

This means trusting the opinions of customer service experts and giving them the tools they need to deliver great service.

2. Patience 

Patience remains a critical component of great customer support. No matter how many proactive automations or UX improvements you make, customers will inevitably be confused.

Customer support will always be the place to go for a hand to hold and a lesson to learn. Customer service team members are tasked with explaining new ideas in a digestible format.

Even when the ideas are very old to them.

Your team spends every work day looking at the same website or working on the same product. To them, it’s obvious that the button on the right sidebar opens up a full menu of options—To customers…it’s not.

Customer support teams need to look at their product or service with fresh eyes every day, practicing patience with those who aren’t as familiar.

And remember, customer service reps act as the voice of the customer for internal decisions. It’s not uncommon for non-customer-facing team members to misunderstand their perspective. But this is where patience becomes an even greater element of excellent customer service.

Every department must listen and understand each other’s varying perspectives in order to ultimately build a more successful business.

3. Personalization

Personalization lifts customer service into the more holistic customer experience space.

The notion of impersonal, robotic support stems from treating customers like tickets. We will never do that at Groove. It’s bad for business.

Instead, we merge personalization with automation. You don’t need to sacrifice speed or growth to cater to the customer journey.

When retention and engagement play just as big of a role in customer metrics as new growth, you can focus on more personal customer care.

4. Empathy

Empathy enables you to become the customer. You see the product through their eyes and explain things with their knowledge level (not yours).

Often when we speak of empathy, it’s an emotional understanding. But in customer service, empathy requires action.

You describe how a customer views a webpage on their browser, rather than your own. You interpret messaging from their understanding, rather than your intention.

Customer support team members represent the customer internally. It’s your duty to speak up when features or product changes are made without the customer in mind.

5. Responsiveness

We measure responsiveness by both speed and accuracy. In Groove’s shared inbox, this is defined as “response time” and “resolution time.”

Quick response times ensure your customers feel heard and prioritized. Efficient resolution times signal that you’re actually solving their problem. Whether you just reply to a common question or fully resolve a customer problem, every interaction impacts responsiveness.

Through the years, your goals for responsiveness metrics will change. Generally, you want to see them go lower over time. As long as you’re heading in that direction, your service will continue to impress customers.

Image: Elements of customer service

Here’s a visual of all five elements of customer service:

five elements of customer service

With these elements at the core of your customer service playbook, your team can continue to expand without sacrificing quality.

Add on or edit as needed to make this guide work for your business.

Wrap up: Using these elements in the workplace

At Groove, we put these five elements of customer service to work everyday. They’re part of an underlying rule book that moves us through each customer interaction—no matter how brief or how complicated.

Here’s an example of what it looks like at our company:

John Smith, the founder of a growing e-commerce company, has been using Groove for two years now. He sends an email to our support team saying, “I can’t edit the Snooze options.”

elements of customer service example one respect
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We start with respect. This feature isn’t working the way he needs it to, and it’s not the first time we’ve heard this feedback. We let him know he’s not misunderstanding the UX, but rather this is a flaw with the feature right now. We’re working on an update.

elements of customer service example two patience
The Groove inbox enables us to use canned replies, reference past conversations, and access knowledge base articles all in one place.

Then, we move to patience. We show him a workaround for editing Snooze in the meantime. And we tag the conversation to continue tracking this request. We patiently wait while our developers build this new feature.

elements of customer service example three personalization
Using an integration, we connect Groove with our ticket tracking tool, Trello.

Next is personalization. We notice John’s e-commerce business grew a lot this year. He added two new customer service representatives to Groove. And the number of customer conversations doubled. We add a note at the end checking in—how are your new team members liking Groove? Need any advice scaling your support operations?

elements of customer service example four empathy
Reference past conversations in your shared inbox for more context when talking to customers.

Empathy comes up in our understanding of his ultimate objective with customizing Snooze. We think about why an e-commerce business might need to flag a conversation for follow-up on a certain date.

Likely, he knows the exact date a product is set to arrive and wants to use a specific date for Snooze to follow up with customers rather than our placeholders.

This adds more context to our response to him. And allows us to give more insight to our Chief Product Officer. We can continue to build this feature with real customer stories in mind.

Responsiveness ties this whole interaction together. Of course, we respond to his initial query with a direct email. But the real resolution comes later when we release the new Snooze options.

We tagged his conversation with “product request: snooze” so we could easily follow-up when it went live.

elements of customer service example five responsiveness
Use tags and canned replies to follow up when new features go live.

These elements go far beyond how to provide customer service or how to respond to emails. They set us up for thoughtful and customer-centric ideation at every level of our business.

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