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Ten Ways to Help You Improve Your Customer Service

1. Stay in contact with customers on a regular basis. Just
as it is bad news to send out too many emails to customers,
it is just as bad to not stay in contact with them.
Customers don't want to feel abandoned. So don't.

Here are three things to help you stay in touch.

(1) Offer them your ezine subscription at least once a
month.
(2) Ask customers if they want to be updated by e-mail when
you make changes to your Web site.
(3) Follow-up after each sale to see if they are satisfied
with their purchase. Send an e-mail out a few days after
their purchase, another in a week or two, and then another
in a month.

2. Create a customer focus group by inviting 10 to 20 loyal
customers to meet regularly. Alternatively, send out a
monthly survey to this group asking for ideas and input on
how to improve your customer service. Give them a reward.
Pay them, give them a gift certificate, or send them free
product.

3. Have a web site that is easy to navigate. Add a
frequently asked question's "FAQ" page and explain anything
that might confuse your customers or visitors. Follow-up
with an electronic survey with questions on how to increase
your site's user-friendliness.

4. Resolve customer complaints quickly and completely.
Answer all e-mail and phone calls within a few hours. This
will show your customers you really care about them.

5. Don't make your customers or visitors hunt for your
contact information. Make it easy for them to contact you.
Offer as many contact methods as possible. Hyperlink all
your e-mail addresses so they don't have to find or type it.
Offer a toll free number.

6. If you have strategic alliances or employees, make sure
they are familiar with your customer service policy. Give
your employees bonuses or incentives to practice excellent
customer service. Tell employees to be flexible with each
individual customer, each one has different concerns, needs
and wants.

7. Give your customers more than they expect. Send thank you
gifts to long time customers. E-mail them greeting cards on
holidays or birthdays if you have their address or online
cards if you only have their e-mail address and name. Give
bonuses to your customers who make a big purchase or
multiple purchases.

8. U-welcome, please, and thank you and can never be over
used. Be polite no matter what. Admit and apologize for
mistakes quickly and make it up to them in BIG ways if you
want them to continue being a customer.

9. Reward in points -- give customers a point for every
dollar they spend. Set up a points-earned sheet. E-mail the
customer an update monthly. If they send you a referral they
get 10 points, if they buy something add 10 more points.

10. If your business is local, invite customers to your
office for lunches, parties, barbecues, dances, seminars or
other special events.

It isn't what you perceive as valuable but what customers
see from their eyes. Yet, sometimes, you just can't please
some folks. If that occurs, do you best and then let it go.
You don't want them for clients anyway.

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &
Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internet
writing and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newsletters and
articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.com
blog: http://abundance.blogs.com

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