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“Documentation is an important aspect of accountability that not only provides a record of the work being done but also recognizes efforts and reinforces the system.”-

Documentation in customer service is a quintessential part of customer data and information. Structured documentation in customer service ensures that details on customers are all in one place and accessed easily within the company by those who need it. Companies have all kinds of information on their customers – personal preferences, likes, personal details, birthdays and special occasions, buying history and other such information which when used will allow the company to enhance the level of personalization in each customer experience. Customers love the personalized feel – it makes them feel valued, special, and important, which in turn makes them want to keep doing business with the company and encourage others to do so too. Documentation in customer service enables a company to shape proactively future customer experiences – enhancing the experiences they may have had in the past.

Documentation in customer service is about maintaining records that would contribute to elevating the service standards and improving product quality. Documentation allows a company to keep track of every instance and every interaction a customer may have had with a company – for example in the hotel industry, if a customer complains about dirty linen or compliments the staff on their attentiveness – these instances form part of the record of the customer. They become part of the documentation in customer service allowing them to refer back to these whenever the customer visits again and use the feedback to serve other customers better.

 Documentation in customer service or in any other realm of business does not have a negative implication as traditionally believed. It should not add layers of bureaucracy and red tape thereby making it tough for customers to get what they want. Rather, documentation in customer service should be about taking care of the customer by using the data to understand completely their needs and expectations and consistently improve the offerings of the company. Since traditionally documentation was viewed as an interruption and something that was required only when there was trouble, a major change in the mind-set is required to ensure that everyone in a company realizes the criticality of documentation in customer service, from the standpoint of enhancing customer experiences.

Of course, customer experiences are largely subjective and now with advanced technology customers are able to make contact with a company through a much larger number of touch-points, it has become even tougher to manage experiences. Without documentation to refer back to each time a customer reconnects, it would be impossible to know anything about the customer – even something as simple as which medium they used to connect. When done right and in a structured manner, documentation in customer service can significantly raise the standards of service and allow the company to appear more customer-focused and committed towards the customer’s welfare.

Documentation in customer service is essential for any customer-centric company. As companies grow larger and expand their customer base, leaving customer information to memory would be self-destructive move. What methods of maintaining documentation, does your company use and what is the level of effectiveness achieved by doing so? Documenting information does not mean that everything should be recorded. Get experts to help you or arrange training programs for the customer service teams to understand how and what requires documentation and how the information captured may be used for the future.

As mentioned, every customer would have several interactions and experiences with the company. Without documenting those, it would be impossible to know what the customer expects or how to respond the next time the customer connects. Customers get highly irritated when they need to repeat information – it would save their time and effort if proper documentation in customer service were maintained, allowing all the information to come through at the click of a button. Remembering the customer’s history with the company itself makes for great customer service and it makes them extremely pleased when the company can offer solutions and answers based on these past interactions. Documentation in customer service allows for continuity – the customer could contact any service representative and each one would have the same information readily available, thereby ensuring that the customer receives an answer swiftly, which in turn elevates the experience.

Anyone in customer service would know that dealing with customers is no mean task. There are many potential opportunities for conflicts and customer ire – these would increase without documentation. Imagine locked in an argument with a customer – your word against theirs – without documentation in customer service, your company could end up losing customers, business, and goodwill. Documentation preserves facts – for instance if your company representatives repeatedly called a customer but did not receive an answer, they would have documentation to prove their claims of trying to serve the customer. While we are not suggesting that documentation be used to prove customers wrong, what does happen is that your company can protect its reputation and save itself from inappropriate complaints and criticism.

Documentation in customer service is vital to provide continuity and a link between members of the team. It creates a culture of pro-activity and focus on the customer and encourages a spirit of teamwork and helping one another. By consistently updating the documentation, a team member ensures that others have current information and the customer would not be inconvenienced due to any lapse in service. Maintaining well-structured documentation in customer service separates good service from a great one. Managing documentation is a skill that every member in the organization should have and it is the onus of the company to provide regular and pertinent training for the same.

We have mentioned earlier that even though not all customers are equal, it would behove a company to provide the best service possible to every customer – both existing and potential. However, without documentation to show the status of a customer, the company would not be able to differentiate between its best customers and those that are not as profitable. Customers that provide huge business volumes expect preferential treatment and deserve it too. Through documentation in customer service a company would instantly know the amount of business each customer provides and what their business would entitle them to from the company. It makes good business sense to treat your most profitable customers as celebrities rather than attempting to provide standard service across – even for on and off customers.

Documentation in customer service doubles up as training material. By using it newer members in the team would learn the ropes faster and become better at serving customers based on the experiences of their more knowledgeable team members. Such material provides first-hand information and reduces the opportunities for ambiguity while serving customers. Service representatives would feel more confident and appear more knowledgeable when dealing with customers, even the tougher and more difficult kind.

Documentation in customer service does not need to be like a big thick scary book. Simple notes and first hand experiences when written down can prove to be instrumental in evolving customer service to an art. Documentation helps to ease the burden for already stressed service representatives and sets the stage for proactive, efficient, and effective customer service, which in turn draws customers closer and engages them with the company for a very long time.

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