Effective customer service will be evident when you find you are having repeat customers. If you have a lot of earnings that suddenly drop off, then you’ll know you need to do something to pick up the pace as this is a signal to you that customer service needs some serious improvement.

To begin with, you’ll want to know how many of your customers are first time buyers compared to repeat customers. Once you have these facts you’ll be able to consider outside factors such as, “Is my business more seasonal?” or perhaps “too much competition in my area”.

Survey Your Customers

While many companies shy away from this form of information gathering, survey’s are a great way to find out how well your company is doing. There are a variety of ways that a company can get survey’s out to the customer. Email and phone calling are two common ways or you could have a short post card style form at each check stand in your business. Encourage customers to fill out a survey by providing some small incentive. Perhaps a small discount on a specific product or after they purchase so many dollars worth of product they will get a small discount.

Ask survey questions in an outcome manner so that customers give you a full response. Don’t ask yes or no questions unless they are very specific. Keep surveys “short, sweet and to the point”. Your customers will be more likely to answer shorter surveys.

Always Analyse Customer Complaints

Set up a system to keep track of complaints. If you’re receiving a lot of complaints regarding a certain employee or area of your business, it’s time to take a long hard look at the situation. On the other hand, if complaints are sporadic and not all in the same area of regarding the same employee, you likely have a thriving business.

Read the details of all of the complaints. Customers seldom complain about an average experience. You want to know if you’re doing well or need to improve. Don’t be defensive here, this is to help you succeed as a company.

If you need to, take immediate action to remedy a serious complaint.

This Phone Call May Be Monitored

Everyone has made a phone call to a business and heard the recording, “This phone call may be recorded for quality and training purposes”. This is a commonly used technique to ensure that quality customer service is taking place. These calls aren’t all recorded and the customer service representative answering your call won’t know whether or not their call is the one being recorded. This is to your advantage. You can easily review the calls and find out if your service representatives are doing a good job. If not, this is your clue that they need more extensive training in the area.

You’ll want to set up specific standards across the board so that everyone is measured in the same fashion according to what is expected from the employees.

Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is a unique technique that has been in places since companies began. Basically, an anonymous shopper comes into the establishment and asks questions or role plays a pre set scenario. This person is noting the answers that are given and evaluating the customer service of the business. The shopper will then leave and fill out a report either on paper or online and report back to the company as to how the employees acted and behaved during the interaction.

The shopper can never have been employed by the company they are shopping for and they must not know any of the employees personally. If they do, they can’t do the mystery shopping for said company.

Try a Variety Of Methods

By using the above techniques a company can easily see where they need to improve or if a specific employee needs to improve their service. Knowing what is wrong can help the company to fix the problem and improve their customer service thus bringing in more repeat business and first time customers. The better a company’s reputation, the more business they will get.

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Amy Rice writes about customer service, when not writing she enjoys swinmming and walking in the countryside.