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How to contact customer care

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Customer care is a crucial element of business success. Every How to contact customer care your customers have with your business is an opportunity for you to improve your reputation with them and increase the likelihood of further sales. From your telephone manner to the efficiency of your order-fulfilment systems, almost every aspect of your business affects the way your customers view your business.

But there are also specific programs you can put in place to increase your levels of customer care. This guide outlines what customer care involves. It explains how you can use customer contact, feedback and loyalty schemes to retain existing customers, increase your sales to them and even win new customers. It also covers how to prepare for receiving a customer complaint. Customer care involves putting systems in place to maximise your customers' satisfaction with your business.

It should be a prime consideration for every business - your sales and profitability depends on keeping your customers happy. Customer care is more directly important in some roles than others.

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For receptionists, sales staff and other employees in customer-facing roles, customer care should be a core element of their job description and training, and a core criterion when you're recruiting. But don't neglect the importance of customer care in other areas of your business. For instance, your warehousing and shipping departments may have minimal contact with your customers - but their performance when fulfilling orders has a major impact on customers' satisfaction with your business.

A huge range of factors can contribute to customer satisfaction, but your customers -both consumers and other businesses - are likely to take into account:. In How to contact customer care trading, How to contact customer care a high level of customer care often requires you to find out what your customers want.

Once you have identified your most valuable customers or best potential customers, you can target your highest levels of customer care towards them. Another approach, particularly in the consumer market, is the obligation to treat all consumers to the highest standard.

See our guide Know your customers' needs. "How to contact customer care" important that you draw up a plan about how customer information is to be gathered and used in your business. Establish a customer-care policy.

Assign a senior manager as the policy's champion but make sure that all your staff are involved - often the lower down the scale you go, the more direct contact with customers there is. You can manage your customer records using a database system or with customer relationship management software.

Where possible, put systems in place to assess your performance in business areas which significantly affect your customers' satisfaction levels.

Your customers and employees will be useful sources of information about the KPIs which best reflect key customer service areas in your business. Make sure the things you measure are driven not by how your business currently runs, but by how your customers would like to see it run. There are important areas of customer service which are more difficult to measure. Many of these are human factors such as a receptionist's telephone manner or a salesperson's conduct while visiting clients.

In these areas it's crucial that you get feedback from your customers about their perceptions of your customer service. Customer surveys, feedback programmes and occasional phone calls to key customers can be useful ways of gauging how customer service levels in your business are perceived. Customer feedback and contact programmes are two ways of increasing communication with your customers. They can represent great opportunities to listen to your customers and to let them know more about what you can offer.

Customer feedback can provide you with detailed information about how your business is perceived. It's a chance for customers to voice objections, suggest changes or endorse your existing processes, and for you to listen to what they say and act upon it.

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Feedback is most often gathered using questionnaires, in person, over the telephone or by mail. The purpose of customer contact programs is to help you deliver tailored information to your customers.

One example is news of a special offer How to contact customer care is relevant to a past purchase - another is a reminder sent at the time of year when a customer traditionally places an order. Contact programs are particularly useful for reactivating relationships with lapsed customers. Do your best to make sure that your customers feel the extra contact is relevant and beneficial to them - bombarding customers with unwanted calls or marketing material can be counter-productive.

Newsletters and email bulletins allow you to keep in touch with useful information. While good overall service is the best way of generating customer loyalty, sometimes new relationships can be strengthened, or old ones refreshed, using How to contact customer care loyalty schemes.

These are programs that use fixed or percentage discounts, extra goods or prizes to reward customers for behaviour that benefits your business. They can also be used to persuade customers to give you another try if you feel you have successfully tackled past problems with your customer service. For example, a car wash might offer free cleaning every tenth visit or a free product if a customer opts for the deluxe service.

A mail-order company might seek to revive the interest of lapsed customers by offering a voucher redeemable against purchases -response rates with such vouchers can be improved by setting an expiry date. You can also provide key customers with loyalty cards that entitle them to a discount on all their purchases.

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Employees who deal with customers' orders should be fully aware of current offers and keep customers informed. Sometimes brochures and other marketing materials are the best way of getting word out about a new customer incentive. Don't forget though that your customers' view of the overall service you provide will influence their loyalty much more than short-term rewards will.

Your existing customers are among the most important assets of your business - they have already chosen you instead of your competitors. Keeping their custom costs far less than attracting new business, so it's worth taking steps to make sure that they're satisfied with the service they receive. Existing customer How to contact customer care are opportunities to increase sales because your customers will already have a degree of trust in your recommendations.

Cross-selling and up-selling are ways of increasing either the range or the value of what you sell by pointing out new purchase possibilities to these customers. Alerting customers when new, upgraded or complimentary products become available — perhaps through regular emails or newsletters - is one way of increasing sales.

To retain your customers' trust, however, never try to sell them something that clearly doesn't meet their needs. Remember, your aim is to build a solid long-term relationship with your customers rather than to make quick one-off profits. Satisfied customers will contribute to your business for years, through their purchases How to contact customer care through recommendations and referrals of your business. Every business has to deal with situations in which things go wrong from a customer's point of view.

However you respond if this happens, don't be dismissive of your customer's problem - even if you're convinced you're not at fault. Although it might seem contradictory, a customer with a complaint represents a genuine opportunity for your business:. Complaints should be handled courteously, sympathetically and - above all - swiftly.

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Make sure that your business has an established procedure for dealing with customer complaints and that it is known to all your employees. At the very least it should involve:. If you're proud of the way you rectify problems - by offering no-questions refunds, for example - make sure your customers know about it.

Your method of dealing with customer problems is one more way to stay ahead of your competitors. Our information is provided free of charge and is intended to "How to contact customer care" helpful to a large range of UK-based gov. Because of its general nature the information cannot be taken as comprehensive and should never be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice. We cannot guarantee that the information applies to the individual circumstances of your business.

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You should consider seeking the advice of independent advisors, and should always check your How to contact customer care against your normal business methods and best practice in your field of business.

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Guide Manage your customer care Share on: What is customer care? Understand your customers Customer feedback and contact programs Customer loyalty schemes Use customer care to increase sales How to deal with customer complaints. For any inquiries, please contact our information agents. Related terms Entrepreneurship Create your business Manage and grow your business Managing Customer relationship Guides.

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