Written by Alicia Smith as excerpted from the www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com
One unhappy customer will tell the world about inferior service while a happy customer rarely tells a soul. Your challenge as a business owner is to create a buzz so positive about your products and services that your clients and customers will become your raving fans and will tell the world about you!
Your lesson for today is to put pen to paper and write a rock solid customer service policy for your business. This policy should state explicitly how you will treat your customers at each and every turn. By answering the following questions, you will have covered the basics of your customer service program.
Are you ready?
- Who is your customer, and what are you doing to get to know him or her on a personal level?
Examples: Customer profile cards
One employee assigned to following the wins and wows of your customers
A bulletin board celebrating the events in the lives of your customers
- What is your return policy, and how are customers treated when they return an item?
Use the same courtesy you used when a customer purchased an item.
- What is your policy for returning phone calls and eMails?
Customers generally want a response within 24 hours, and this policy should be stated and posted.
- How does everyone in your company answer the telephone?
People want a cheerful voice on your end of the telephone. They also do not want a busy signal when they call.
- What is your policy for dealing with customers during a wait?
People love special treatment. Use this time to roll out the red carpet by offering a cup of coffee, a soda, or a glass of sparkling water.
- What is your policy for training staff on how to serve your customers?
Spend one hour, two times per month, educating your staff on how to treat your customers. This treatment could make or break your relationship with your customers.
- What is your policy for dealing with vendors and their products?
Your vendors are a part of your company, and the quality and care, which you request from them for your customers, should be exceptional. Remember…if your vendors are not providing you with outstanding customer service, your clients/customers will suffer.
- If you offer a guarantee or warranty, are you honoring this?
If your customer knows that your product or service is guaranteed but there are too many loopholes that make this null and void, you will lose trust with your buyers.
- Who is your benchmark?
Benchmarking is the continuous process of measuring products, services, and business practices of your company against the toughest and best competition in your industry. Your benchmark can be anyone and does not have to be restricted to your local region. What is the best company in your field doing that you are not doing or that you can do better?
- What is your policy for dealing with customer complaints?
People do not want excuses from you regarding poor service. They want help, and they want words that are empathetic such as “I can tell you are disappointed. I am so very sorry. Let me see if I can help you out of this jam.” If a customer thinks there is a problem, there is a problem. A customer is always right even when he or she is wrong.
- What is your shipping policy (if you ship products).
People want quick delivery, and they want their product delivered in impeccable condition. Work this out on paper and be prepared to tell a customer with confidence that he or she will receive the product quickly and in great shape!
- How do you keep a client updated when an item is on backorder?
Keep the lines of communication open by sending frequent updates on the status of a customer’s wait.
- What are your hours of operation?
This seems simple, but it is very important. People want to know when you are open and when you are closed. Post these on your website and add them to your voice mail greeting.
- What are the 20 ways that you add value to your customers?
Do you offer private sales? Do you offer discounts to current customers? Do you invite your customers in to sample new products and services before the general public gets a peek? Do your best to come up with at least 20 ways that you add value to your services, and deliver those with a wonderful attitude? Do you offer a kid’s corner, Valet parking, a Concierge service, or something that makes your customers go WOW? Think creatively on this question, and come up with at least 20 ways you add value to the life of your buyers. This could be something as simple as special soap in the restrooms or the most current selection of magazines in your waiting area.
- How often do you use customer satisfaction surveys to improve your business?
Surveys are a great way to find out what is on the minds of your customers. On Day 76, we will be asking you to develop a customer survey, so begin thinking about what it is that you want to know that will improve the effectiveness of your company.
© Copyright 2004 by Alicia Smith
Alicia Smith is a Coach and Trainer whose specialty is helping people Make Money Now. This article is derived from just one of the 90 lessons contained in her e-course, www.90DayMarketingMarathon.com. To learn more about that course and her other products and services, please visit the following sites. (You also can email her at [email protected].)