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Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett

How To Develop a Low-Tech Customer Relations Management System

Our newspapers often arrive late or missing sections. Sometimes, they do not arrive at all. With newspaper subscriptions plummeting, this is a serious misstep. Each customer interaction is an important customer touch point. Make sure each customer touch point creates a positive experience. This will help you win repeat business and earn good referrals.

  • Treat your employees well, and praise them and reward them for providing good customer service. Satisfied employees interact more positively with customers and prospects than dissatisfied employees.
  • Respect each customer's time. Do not keep people on hold for 10 or 20 minutes. Do not make customers wait two days until you return service calls. But, also allow enough time. I recently asked to create a new password for a new online service. The permission timed out after 5 minutes.
  • Use your own time strategically. Follow up immediately on meetings and calls. Send proposals promptly to prevent clients from finding another provider or dropping the project.
  • Personalize. No two clients are the same. A prospective client tried to log on to a new software program but couldn't talk to a live person. FAQs were generic and inadequate. A quick call to a trained representative would have quickly solved the problem.
  • Maintain accurate, up-to-date client information. This will save you and the client time and aggravation. In May I received a letter listing my 2017 monthly health insurance fee--five months late. In addition, another paragraph in the same letter listed a different monthly fee. Finding out which fee was correct required three time-consuming phone calls.
  • Provide clear, complete directions for using all products and services. My new USB port came with incomplete directions. The port has six USB slots and two cables, each with two ends. But, the directions cover just three of the ends. Where does the fourth end go? The company's rudimentary website does not provide directions or manuals for its products, and it does not provide contact information. I resorted to Googling "free online manuals."
  • Provide a good mechanism for returning unsatisfactory items or satisfying dissatisfied customers. A friend ordered a single clothing item, but the company sent two. The company would provide a refund if my friend would split the shipping cost with the company, which is located in China! Half the shipping cost exceeded the value of the item.

As the above examples illustrate, good customer relations begin with good company values and procedures and with trained staff. CRM software and other technology solutions will not replace indifferent staff or poor procedures. Make each touch point a favorable experience for your clients and customers. Build customer loyalty.

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Winett Associates helps companies understand their customers and markets.

Copyright ©7/17 Ruth Winett. All rights reserved.

 

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