Late payment practices continue to adversely affect UK small businesses and self-employed...
From demonstrating that you understand your customers to handling complaints promptly and effectively, learn how to set up a customer care programme.
- Learn as much as possible about what your customers want - encourage them to provide feedback and make it easy for them to do so.
- Demonstrate that you understand your customers - for example, by keeping records of their purchases on your CRM system and only offering them products which suit their needs.
- Design systems which suit your customers, such as easy online ordering and fast delivery. Give them options such as next day delivery - there will be an extra cost, but they may be happy to pay it.
- Set clear service standards and train employees to meet them.
- Keep your promises and exceed expectations - provide advance warning of any problems or changes.
- Ensure all employees understand their role in satisfying customers - consider offering incentives for good customer care performance.
- Regularly contact customers - personalise emails and letters, provide information useful to them and express your appreciation for their business.
- Make it easy for customers to contact you by providing a named contact or account manager - answer phone calls and reply to emails promptly.
- Delegate authority to customer-facing employees to allow them to make decisions and resolve problems.
- Handle complaints promptly and effectively.
- Keep records of all customer contacts, and use them to improve your understanding of individual customers and their requirements.
- Ensure that all customer-facing employees have easy access to customer and product information.
- Analyse the profitability of different customers or market segments - provide superior care to your most profitable customers.
- Consider offering valued customers extras - for example, first choice on special offers, loyalty bonuses, a service helpline or entertainment.