Monday, April 21 2008
Good customer service is becoming more important to us in our daily lives due to the fact that we are continually being placed at the mercy of automation by companies that we depend on. One example is our banks. Banks provide many self service automated functions such as self-managed computerized banking, customer service via email (live chat had an early death). While the self-managed customer appreciates these features, that we are often charged for, there are other times when we really do need some old fashioned, good customer service.
Another example of customer service disappearance is that our private doctors do not take calls nor do their staff. We now must listen to long menu systems in order to chose the correct mailbox option, or to find out that your option does not even exist in the menu system, which is usually "I just want to talk to a staff member!"
With that said, I run an Internet-based leather accessory business. We make it our #1 priority to provide not good, but excellent customer service. It is really a rather simple choice to do so because as we know, our history follows us in life! At Leather Gift Items, we do a few things that seem to make a difference in our virtual 24/7 e-tailer business, which we would like to share with you.
1. We always respond to customer inquiries immediately, by phone if possible, otherwise by personal email, not an automated email. Tracking information and obvious communications such as order confirmations should be automated, for expediency and efficiency. However, that is as far as we take it. Each inquiry, each order, and each shipment is handled by a person and we try to interface with our customer personally, if at all possible.
2. Good customer service can come in the form of anticipating a customer’s needs. Examples of good, bad or excellent customer service lie in the answers to these type of questions:
* Can the International customer actually return an item in less than 14 days if they live outside the United States?
* Can a customer contact me by an althernate method than email? Is that contact information information easy to find?
* Do I provide enough information, pictures, description about the products I sell for a customer to feel confident about their purchase?
* Are my communications to my customer courteous? "Please" and "thank you" are alive and well!
* Have I done my homework about the road blocks to good customer service, i.e. do spam filters continually block my communications?
* Am I able to set boundaries for customers who may take advantage, so that bad situations do not spin out of control?
* Have I spelled out my policies in easy view so customers do not have to wonder what the rules are?
* Do I go the extra mile when a customer has a special request?
* Do my customers feel like a number or do they feel that they have made a connection when they do business with me.
* Do my customers know that their orders are insured?
* Do my customers know how returns are handled?
* Do I provide tracking information and a way for the customer to monitor the delivery of their order so they can be home to receive the product?
* Do I provide quality merchandise and does it match the customer expectations?
* Do I stand behind my policies?
Perhaps if each of us tries harder at our own customer service, we will have it returned to us. Give us a try! We try hard for you by providing the best leather accessories, leather briefcases, laptop bags and laptop cases by top designers at the right prices at http://www.leathergiftitems.com.