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How to set up a customer care programme

Checklist

  1. 1 Learn as much as possible about what your customers want; encourage them to provide feedback and make it easy for them to do so.
  2. 2 Demonstrate that you understand your customers: for example, by only offering them products which suit their needs.
  3. 3 Design sytems which suit your customers, such as easy ordering and fast delivery.
  4. 4 Set clear service standards and train employees to meet them.
  5. 5 Keep your promises and exceed expectations; provide advance warning of any problems or changes.
  6. 6 Ensure all employees understand their role in satisfying customers; consider offering incentives for good customer care performance.
  7. 7 Regularly contact customers; personalise letters, provide information useful to them and express your appreciation for their business.
  8. 8 Make it easy for customers to contact you by providing a named contact or account manager; answer phone calls and reply to letters promptly.
  9. 9 Delegate authority to customer-facing employees to allow them to make decisions and resolve problems.
  10. 10 Handle complaints promptly and effectively.
  11. 11 Keep records of all customer contacts and use them to improve your understanding of individual customers and their requirements.
  12. 12 Use technology to ensure that all customer-facing employees have easy access to customer (and product) information.
  13. 13 Analyse the profitability of different customers or market segments; provide superior care to your most profitable customers.
  14. 14 Consider offering valued customers extras: for example, first choice on special offers, loyalty bonuses, a service helpline, or entertainment.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • find out as much as possible about customer requirements
  • tailor your service to individual customers
  • design systems to make life easy for your customers
  • set and achieve service standards
  • communicate regularly

Don't:

  • assume all customers are the same
  • make unrealistic promises
  • waste expensive care on unprofitable customers

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