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Vital Customer Service Policies

February 26, 2014

Business advice for women entrepreneurs and small business owners


Blanketing the news this morning were a few stories with a common thread. The first was a local radio station offering $500 to two Duke fans kicked out of the Carrier Dome at last week’s Duke vs. Syracuse University basketball game. The second one was about Chevrolet admitting mechanical errors in six cars that caused numerous deaths and a promise to help the families. The final one was about Arizona legislation that passed a bill last week to deny service to gay people based on religious beliefs of the business owner. The common thread that stood out to me in these three stories was the significance of customer policies and the public relations that surrounds a major customer service situation.

In the first case, Syracuse University offered to refund the ousted Duke couple the face value of the tickets but the fans were unhappy with SU’s response because the face value wasn’t close to the $500 they paid for the tickets. Whether or not the Duke Couple takes Radio Station TK99 up on the $500 offer which also includes them never coming back to the Dome is still undecided. What do all these 2 public outreaches say to these two people? You are welcomed back or you aren’t welcomed here?

When Chevrolet publically admitted to the grievous errors in their car’s key system and offered to assist the families who suffered death at the hands of their automobile, what did the corporate response say to these customers? We care about you or it’s too bad this happened figure it out on your own?

When the Arizona legislation passed a law giving business owners the right to deny service to gay individuals, what did that message say? We can’t stand who you are and refuse to accept your money or we are all one community?

It’s obvious these three entities had a choice to put their customers first or last on their priority list. Although most women entrepreneurs don’t manage multi-million dollar operations and have less of a chance for major customer situation to arise, we need to contemplate our own customer policies and public relations procedures periodically. How will we treat a customer if they raise a major issue about our company? Are we prepared from a customer service, communications and public relations perspective?

Today’s blog post is to motivate you to think about your customer service policies. Do you have any? Have you ever had to handle a tough customer complaint? How did you handle it? Were you proud of how you handled it? What did your reaction send as a message to those clients? Did you then list that new policy on your website or literature to prevent future issues? Does your customer service policies say, “You are welcomed back or you aren’t welcomed here anymore,” after a situation arises?

The best time to plan for how you’ll treat clients, who you accept as clients and your public message in the marketplace, is before something unfortunate happens. You owe it to yourself and your clients to create and then maintain a strong, positive customer service policy since customers are the lifeblood of your enterprise.

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