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Customer Service » Earthlink Customer Service

Customer Service Basics

Customer service is a component of every business whether your business is a small retail shop, a personal service company, a manufacturer or a non-profit organization.

Customer service encompasses any type of contact with your customers - telephone, fax, Internet, face to face, walk-ins, appointments, written communications, verbal communications, advertising and your employees.

Even your company policy affects customer satisfaction – exchanges, returns, payment options, fees, hours of operation, organizational structure and rules that can frustrate customers.

Some factors affecting customer satisfaction are not so obvious:

Is your business environment safe for your customers?

Is your business clean and inviting (inside and outside, including the parking lot)?

Is there enough parking? Is it free?

Do you have enough product on hand to meet your customers needs?

Do you know what sizes, colors and package sizes your customers want, or just what they're buying from you because they can't get what they really want?

Will you make exceptions to accommodate your customer or do you rigidly stick to your company policy at the expense of your customer?

Are your employees well trained to “help” your customers, not just “wait” on them?

Can your employees think on their feet and problem solve when you aren’t around?

Are your employees as knowledgeable as you are about your product or service?

Are customers greeted when they enter your business? And thanked when they leave?

That's all fine and dandy you say, but I already have a successful business and we're doing just fine. Are you? How do you know? Are you willing to risk your future profit on it?

Here are some facts you may want to consider:

1. Your customers ALWAYS have a choice on where they spend their hard-earned dollars, and if they are unhappy they will take their business (and their money) to your competitors.

2. For every customer who complains to you, there are nine more who will not complain AND half of those will never patronize your business again even if you “fix” the problem.

3. Customers regularly patronize and are loyal to businesses that treat them well and where they feel their patronage has been appreciated.

4. Happy customers tell their friends, relatives and associates about your business.

5. Employee turnover is lower in customer friendly businesses. Remember your employees are customers too.

6. Good customer service is not expensive but it is a big commitment and has to be in place all the time - even when your business is closed.

7. All the advertising and “customer appreciation” gimmicks in the world will not help you keep your customers if they are unhappy.

The most frequently conducted marketing research survey is to evaluate customer satisfaction. If you aren’t constantly evaluating and adjusting your customer service, you may be missing the mark with your customers and not know it.

Remember your competitors might be evaluating and actively refining their customer service to take your customers away.

Kathy Lehan is the founder of R.W.C. Consultants, a marketing research consultantcy in Plano, Texas specializing in food related product research, customer service evaluation and the over 40 market (Baby Boomers). She can be contacted at: rwcconsultants@earthlink.net.

Source: www.articlesbase.com