This research report discusses the uses of customer service policies by an organization. The report extends to draw a simple diagram of customer service policy. It also explains the process of evaluating a customer service policy.
According to Crouch (2004, p.12), customer service can be defined as the provision of efficient, friendly, and quick service to clients. It also entails the process through which an organization builds a strong and stable relationship with its clients. Key elements of quality customer service include handling of customer complaints and queries quickly and responding to all customer issues on time. It is the best way through which organizations thrive to keep their clients, thus ensuring profitability, growth, and long term business success.
Customer service is not new; it has been practiced for many decades. However, little has been discussed about customer service policy. As explained by Cole (2003, p. 22), customer service policy is a document that is written by an organization to outline the protocol that its employees must follow when dealing with customers. In particular, this policy is used for dealing with customers who are not satisfied with various aspects of the company’s product or service. In general, customer service policies usually include elements of the company’s ethical and operational procedures. It is a very important document in the contemporary business setting where customers play key roles in the company’s success.
ref. 1.1: Uses of Customer Service Policy
A customer service policy is an essential document in an organization because of its significant roles. As illustrated by Hayes and Dredge (1998, p. 32), a strong customer service policy can create huge potential for success in an organization. In addition, the use of strong customer service makes significant differences in businesses. When a business implements and maintains policies and procedures that directly encourage maintenance of strong ties with clients, it is able to protect its interests and customers. It acts as the first point of keeping customers to a business. There are many uses of customer service policies, some of which are discussed below.
(a) Business Promotion
One of the fundamental uses of customer service policy is business promotion. This important document can be used to promote various business activities, products, and services to its current and prospective clients. As explained by Lattin (2002, p. 10), the best way to promote a business’s service or product is through the word of mouth marketing. When an organization gives customers satisfactory and quality service, they will discuss it with their friends and at the end promote the business. This eventually leads to direct publicity of the company’s products and services.
(b) Shareholders Satisfaction
It is important for shareholders to be satisfied with the business activity. One way of ensuring that shareholders are satisfied is the use of quality and strong customer service policy. To shareholders, customers’ satisfactory response implies increased sales. This eventually leads to increased shareholder’s satisfaction. When shareholders are satisfied, they automatically increase their investment in the company. This eventually increases the company’s rate of return.
(c) Business Strategies
Customer service policy can also be used to develop successful business strategies. For example, a good customer service document should be designed to encourage consumers to give feedback and comment. This is an integral part of a quality customer service policy. The provided feedback and comments are then analyzed for strengths and weaknesses of the company. They are then used to develop a successful business strategy for the company.
(d) Increasing Business Growth
Customer service policy can also be used to increase the level of business growth. As illustrated by Powers and Borrows (2005, p. 33), when employees offer quality service to customers, the business automatically grows. This is because satisfied customers will increase their purchase of the product and promote the company to other friends and family members. In the end, there will be increased sales and business client base.
(e) Consumer Satisfaction
Customer service policy is used to achieve increased consumer satisfaction. As explained by Walker (2003, p. 44), the policy is used to identify consumers who are unhappy or unsatisfied with the company’s products and services. The company then develops strategies of improving their consumer satisfaction level. This eventually leads to increased sales and profitability. It will also lead to increased customer base, which is good for the business.
(f) Employee Motivation
A company may use customer service policy to motivate its employees to achieve maximum production level. This is because customer satisfaction directly influences the employee’s motivation and working environment. Chattell (1995, p. 34) explained that employees work in a comfortable atmosphere if there is decreased pressure on financial stability and meeting targets. Better customer service definitely increases sale thus reducing the pressure on employees to meet targets.
(g) Increasing Efficiency
Customer service policy can also be used to increase efficiency of the business. This is because good customer service comes with the benefit of increased business productivity. The organization can earn more revenues as sales increases due to the increasing number of satisfied customers. Managing the business thus becomes efficient and lean as much pressure on the employees is reduced.
(h) Reducing the Risk of Business Failures
Good customer service policy can also be used to reduce the risk of business failures. This is because the policy is used to identify various potential sources of risks in the business, as seen by the customers. The employees can use the policy to understand the mindset and expectations of its clientele and considerably reduce the likely business risks, failures, and losses.
Sample Customer Service Policy Diagram
A customer service policy diagram is a graphical illustration of the policy itself. It just illustrates the various elements of the company’s customer service as identified in the policy document. Although they are formed using the same principle, every company might have distinct diagram because they use diferent policies to meet their customer service goals. Below is a simple customer service policy diagram for a company that is operating in the software industry.
ref. 1.2: Evaluation of Customer Service Policy
Using a good customer service policy help the company maintains a positive relations with its clients. On the contrary, a poor one will simple spoil the relationship thus leading to loss of customers. When making a customer service policy, it is important to evaluate whether it will help the company achieve its goals especially in developing positive relationship with clienteles. According to Dawson (1996, p. 21), most companies keep on losing their customers because they are using inadequate customer service policy. Evaluating the document can help avoid this recurrent mess in an organization.
The evaluation is undertaken to if the program meets the client’s perspective of the business. In essence, policy assessment seeks feedback from the customers to determine the service delivery performance. Evaluation may also be done to elicit opinions from the company’s customers about how they should undertake various aspects of the business. Ideally, the evaluation should look at various strategic objectives, strategic plans, as well as other planning issues affect the service delivery. A customer service policy is evaluated using various management tools available to the business. Below is a guideline of how a company should evaluate its customer service policy.
(a) Vision and Mission
Look for the presence of company’s vision and mission. Ideally, this should be the first element clearly stated in the customer service policy. Company’s mission and vision should be clearly stated as it guides employees on the acceptable standards of service delivery.
A good customer service policy should also state how the company is committed to service delivery to its clients. The company should be committed to give good service that respects dignity, independence, equality, and integration.
(c) Training for Staff
A good customer service policy should also provide training for the staff. This is to ensure that staffs have the necessary skills for the required service delivery.
(d) Feedback Process
Also, assess whether the customer service policy has provisions for customer feedback and comments. The feedback process should include everybody involved such as clients and employees. The policy must provide channels through which feedback and comments are provided.
(e) Confidentiality of Information
Check for confidentiality of personal information. Good customer service policy must also provide for confidentially of private information. As explained by Goodman (2000, p. 22), all client feedback and comments should be treated as private and confidential.
(e) Customer Satisfaction
The policy must also illustrate how the company will achieve its required customer satisfaction level. There should be mechanisms of identifying whether customers are satisfied or not. In addition, there should be guidelines of ensuring that the company’s products and services satisfy customers.
A customer service policy is ideally an important document in today’s business. This is because of the business’s total overreliance on customers. Without customers, the business is no more. A business use customer service policy to implement and maintain procedures and policies that encourage strong ties with its clientele. A business also uses strong customer service policy to develop strong loyalty for its products and services. This research has established the numerous uses of customer service policy and identified its significance to a business. This document provides guidelines for protecting customers from defecting.
It is essential for every business to have strong customer service policy that directs them how to handle disgruntled customers. The exact nature of a customer service policy might vary significantly from one business to another. However, it must contain few common elements irrespective of the nature of the business. They include the common factors must be considered when drafting a customer service policy document. Factors such as customer satisfaction should be common to all policy documents. In essence, the document must clearly set out commitment of achieving maximum customer satisfaction from practice.
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