As a business executive you are probably well aware by now that customer service is a top competitive differentiator. In fact, according to a recent report from research firm Walker, quality of customer service will overtake price and product as the single most important differentiator by 2020.

While that is certainly useful information, it’s doesn’t do a lot of good for businesses that don’t know how to improve their customer service practices. For those organizations, it’s a little like being told by a personal trainer to “get in shape” and getting no further instruction about how to do it. Of course on this blog, we are here to help provide perspective into creating great customer experiences. So here are some of the most effective strategies your company can employ to become a customer service superstar:

Embrace the Omni channel environment

The time when customers accepted a phone call as the only means of reaching out to a company is long gone. We live in a multi-channel world; if your customers feel limited in their options for a service request, they may not stick around.

Focus on Communicator development

Your contact center Communicators are often the first point of direct contact for customers and the determining factor in the impression they form about your company. With that in mind, you need to feel confident that every inquiry that comes in is handled by an experienced Communicator that has received robust training and understands the image you want to project.

Invest in a multichannel marketing partner

If training Communicators and refining contact center best practices are not part of your core competencies, it might seem like an overwhelming challenge. If that is the case, you can get the help you need by partnering with a multichannel marketing organization that focuses on nothing except providing excellent customer service. A full service partner provides your company with Communicators company-specific training before they interact with customers, meaning they are fully prepared to tackle any situation.

Adopt business intelligence

You might be tired of hearing about data analytics by now, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Every customer interaction, and every piece of information you extract from that interaction, helps your company improve customer service for the future—but only ifyou have the tools to make sense of it all. Great customer service is about personalizing the experience for the customer. You can’t do that effectively without data analytics.

Be transparent and honest

Nothing puts customers at ease like transparency—and nothing frustrates them more than dishonesty.  Think about your experiences with delayed flights. Wouldn’t you rather be given an honest estimate of your wait time rather than an unrealistic promise that gets broken every 20 minutes when departure is pushed back again? Everyone appreciates timely communication to help manage expectations.

Putting all of these plans in place at once may be overwhelming, so consider taking baby steps and implementing one at a time instead. Even if you don’t turn your customer service around 100 percent immediately, your customers will notice you are making strides—and they’ll appreciate the effort.