An Executive’s Guide to Achieving Inclusive Customer Service Excellence

Unfair treatment of older workers can lower job satisfaction, destroy team dynamics and hamper workforce performance. Don’t let this happen at your company.

Inclusive customer service goes beyond good service—it treats all customers equitably, removing barriers that may hinder their access to goods, services, and facilities. This article provides insights into what inclusive customer service entails and offers practical tips to help deliver exceptional service that meets the diverse needs of every customer.

A single negative customer experience can tarnish a company’s brand reputation, and you certainly don’t want to be the cause of customer discrimination in accessing what they need. That means inclusive customer service is important at all times, not just when it’s convenient, because:

• 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.

• 70% of consumers will buy “exclusively” from brands that understand them on a personal level.

• 68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences.


The Importance of Inclusive Customer Service

Inclusive customer service means placing the customer at the center of decision-making and acknowledging that certain methods may not work for everyone. It involves taking responsibility for adapting to the diverse needs of customers and providing a range of service delivery options. Moreover, inclusive customer service continuously strives to meet the 8-Inclusion Needs of All People.

Every customer has unique needs, including specific requirements that make their interaction with your organization easier or better. Inclusive customer service encompasses more than just considerations for individuals with disabilities or those who speak different languages — it aims to remove all barriers and provide equitable access and support where it’s needed to meet the needs of every person.

In working with organizations (as disparate as retail, healthcare, telecommunications, transport, and government) on their inclusive CX, uncovering the inclusion needs of people across all identities and intersectionalities has broadened their understanding of what diversity is — and resulted in innovations not just across the customer journey — but innovations in their product and service offerings to reach new markets.

Inclusive customer service should be offered at every customer touchpoint, spanning from initial brand encounters to the final customer service interaction. Some touchpoints to consider are online presence, advertisements, website experience, retail stores, and contact with the customer service team. Ensuring inclusivity across all touchpoints is crucial.

Consequently, creating an inclusive customer service environment is the responsibility of every individual within the organization. Regardless of their role, every employee influences how customers perceive and experience interactions with the company.


Practical Strategies for Delivering Inclusive Customer Service

Whether your organization engages with internal or external customers through phone calls, emails, live chats, or face-to-face interactions, here are four practical strategies to help you deliver inclusive customer service:

1. Expand your organization’s understanding of what diversity is to include all identities and intersectionalities.

2. Seek to understand the unique and common needs of diverse customers (existing and potential) in the context of your product or service offering.

3. Evaluate your customer journey through the lens of the 8-Inclusion Needs of All People to uncover potential barriers or undue effort required for people to engage with your organization.

4. Set an inclusive customer service standard that ensures access, physical and emotional safety, equal opportunities, diverse representation, necessary accommodations, suitable language use, respect, and additional support when needed.

By prioritizing inclusive customer service, you can elevate your organization’s customer experience, tap into new markets, and foster a culture of inclusivity. Implementing the strategies outlined in this article can not only help you meet the diverse needs of all customers but also contribute to long-term customer loyalty and business growth.

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