We’re here with practical marketing information for your business.

A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

Handling customer complaints - checklist

From having a clear complaints-handling procedure to training staff and improving systems, use our checklist to better manage customers' complaints.

  • Actively encourage feedback from customers - including complaints if they are dissatisfied.
  • Establish a clear complaints-handling procedure. Ensure that all employees who come into contact with customers understand it.
  • Respond as quickly as possible, especially when the complaint occurs on social media.
  • Be polite and sympathetic, and avoid knee-jerk reactions or anger. Listen to what the customer has to say.
  • Take ownership of the complaint. Give your name as a contact even if you will have to involve others in resolving the complaint.
  • On social media, give a polite public acknowledgement and then take the matter private straight away: do not allow things to play out in public.
  • Establish the facts. Consider whether any internal investigation is needed to gather further information.
  • Record the details of the complaint, including when it was made, customer name and contact details.
  • If possible, deal with the complaint immediately. If necessary, agree a deadline for getting back to the customer.
  • Carry out any necessary further investigations.
  • If the complaint has potentially significant legal consequences, contact your legal adviser.
  • If the investigation takes a long time, keep the customer informed of progress.
  • Once you have established that the complaint is justified, make appropriate restitution. Apologise for your error.
  • Be prepared to reject unreasonable complaints or demands, but in a positive way: explain what you can offer.
  • If appropriate, take internal action to prevent the problem recurring, for example, by training staff or improving systems.
  • Follow up by contacting the customer to check that the complaint has been resolved to their satisfaction.
  • If the complaint was posted online, consider asking if the happy customer would remove it or post a follow-up stating that the matter is now resolved.
  • If a negative comment stays online, consider how to reassure other customers. For example, by stating what measures you've taken to improve the issue or posting testimonials from happy customers.

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