Customer Care | Customer Relations | Business Improvement

Customer care is crucial for business success. Everything from your telephone manner to the efficiency of your order-fulfilment systems, affects the way your customers view your business Over the last little while I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the topic and thought I would share some of the valuable resources that resonated with me.

The Canada Business Network guide, Manage Your Customer Careoutlines what customer care involves. It explains how you can use customer contact, feedback and loyalty programs to retain existing customers, increase sales to those customers, and how to  win new customers. It also covers how to prepare for the inevitable customer complaint.

The Canadian Business article, Secrets of Nordstrom’s Customer Service is also an interesting and worthwhile  read as wasThe Nordstrom Way by Robert Spector in which he suggests that more businesses should follow Nordstrom’s example. Among the key lessons in the book is how Nordstrom empowers its employees. New “Nordies” are presented with a card that outlines the only rule they’re told they must follow: “Use good judgment in all situations.”

All employees are given an unusual degree of latitude to make their own calls about how to handle problems. “What it boils down to is we give employees complete freedom to take care of the customer,” McKibbin says. “And we say, if you’re going to make a mistake, let’s make sure you make it in the customer’s favour. The Nordstrom Way shows the direct link between empowering employees and creating a long-term relationship with customers.”

Also on my reading list is “Working Towards Customer Satisfaction”.  Customer service is diverse and covers a multitude of industries and businesses. The article states that regardless of the type of contact that you have with customers, whether it is over the phone, face-to-face, in a restaurant or shop, in an office or financial institution, in the entertainment or tourist industries, good customer service skills help everybody. A happy, satisfied customer is likely to return and/or tell others about the good experiences that they had when dealing with your company – word of mouth recommendations from friends and colleagues are very valuable.” The article also offers tips to share with employees to improve your customers’ experiences.

Good customer service requires work.  What do you do in your business to enhance your customer’s experiences?

– Pat Sargeant