According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the definition of a customer service policy is “the degree of assistance and courtesy granted those who patronise a business." A company that sells or provides a product or service to buyers or end-users should have a customer service policy in place in the event that a dispute with service should arise between the buyer and the seller.
Management and customer service policies defined as we know them today did not exist in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As exemplified in the book "Creating and Sustaining a Superior Customer Service Organization," it was not until after this time that business owners came to recognise that great customer service was the key to growing an organisation.
In its report "Delivering Effective Customer Service," the United States Department of Health and Human Services identifies five characteristics in defining a customer service policy: 1) identify the target consumer and 2) what this audience wants in regards to customer service, 3) establish a customer-focused culture and instil 4) internal and 5) external strategies for superior customer service.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there are several ways that business owners can observe their existing customers and the marketplace as a whole to develop a customer service policy that will address their customers' unique service expectations. Some ways to identify what needs to be addressed in the policy are by attending trade shows, nurturing a personal bond with customers to solicit honest feedback and interviewing both customers and employees on the front lines.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services cites the following external benefits of a successful customer service policy: happier customers, increased sales and increased customer referrals. These in turn, also provide the company a cost-benefit in the form of a reduced need for advertising spending. Internal benefits of a customer service policy that is successfully executed are increased employee morale and lower turnover.
In order for a customer service policy to be both experienced by a customer and executed by employees, a service culture must also be supported, lived and demonstrated by company leadership at all levels, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.