Enhancing Customer Service
FastTrac, Kauffman Foundation
As part of your Marketing Plan, customer service strategies can build the reputation you desire for your business and for your products or services. No matter how carefully your company operates, sometimes customers will be unhappy. If you can resolve customer problems, you may win a customer for life. As part of your customer service strategies, establish policies for warranties, guarantees, and customer complaints. Industry standards for returns and service costs can serve as a baseline for determining what you might encounter and how others have handled these issues.
Employees are the face of the business to a customer; they comprise part of the brand image and its message. Train employees so they know exactly how you want them to treat customers. Most businesses do not adequately empower their employees to handle problems. An unhappy customer does not want to be told to wait until the employee can check with the owner.
Most customers like to feel appreciated or recognized for their patronage. Frequent-buyer punch cards and special sales for preferred customers are some of the ways businesses build customer loyalty. Consider how you will build on each first-time sale and create reasons for customers to buy from you again. As your business grows, you may also want to create incentives for customers to provide referrals. Don't forget to calculate the financial impact of these incentives on your cash flow and profitability. To plan for superior customer service, ask yourself these questions:
- How will I encourage customers to buy from me again?
- How will I encourage customers to provide referrals?
- What policies will I have about returns or complains?
- What types of warranties or guarantees will I offer?
© 2007 Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. All rights reserved.