What is Customer Care?
Customer Care is how a business looks after its customers. This includes everything from the moment a customer makes contact with or enters your business; at point of sale; during the provision of a service and after sales care.
Why is it important?
Consumers are more aware of their entitlement to high standards of customer care. When deciding where to purchase goods and services, good customer service can often be as important as pricing, location and range of choice.
A happy customer is more likely to become a loyal customer, willing to recommend your business to friends and family.
Improving Customer Care
In the following sections we offer a guide to:
- presenting the right image
- customer care: principles and practice
- handling customer complaints
- refunds, complaints and customer care policies
- staff awareness and training
- sources of help with complaint handling
Understanding your customers’ needs
Understanding the needs and wants of your customer are an essential part of providing good customer care. This section provides information and additional sources of guidance relating to:
- consumers with a disability
- consumers from ethnic and minority groups
- older consumers
- young consumers
Presenting the right image
Research has shown that it takes just four minutes for a customer to form a lasting impression about your business.
How their telephone call is answered; how staff greet and acknowledge them or what the customer sees or hears whilst waiting in reception will influence their opinion about your business.
A customer-focused business will:
- Make ALL customers feel welcomed, respected and valued (see Understanding your customers’ needs)
- Place the customer’s needs at the heart of business practice
- Give staff training and encouragement to deal with customer care issues and complaints in a consistent and confident manner
- View customer complaints as valuable feedback
- Provide services at a time and place that suits customers, making premises accessible and offering a range of communication methods eg face-to-face, telephone, textphone and online.
Making the customer feel valued:
- Avoid leaving customers unattended
- If you have to leave a customer unattended, use eye contact and a smile to let the customer know you have seen them and will come to them
- When you are able to attend to the customer, be sure to apologise if you’ve kept them waiting
- Give the customer your full and undivided attention, (ie don’t look over their shoulder at the queue behind or up at the clock!)
- Take pride in your job – this attitude will communicate itself to the customer as clearly as if you had put it into words
- It may be the 100th time you’ve been asked the same question, but don’t forget it will be the customer’s first time of asking
- If you’ve promised to do something – do it! If there is a problem or delay, keep the customer informed
Above all, WANT to help. If you want to you will!