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Customer service is one of the most essential things to any business, since businesses are built and destroyed on their customer’s satisfaction. There are procedures any company can take to make sure that they keep their customer base satisfied. Having a face for the company as the first line of customer service is one way to make sure that your customers are taken care of. If this line fails a secondary line can be implemented to make sure that no unsatisfied customers fall through the cracks, this can be in either the form of a complaint center or customer support line. A third line could even be implemented in the form of a corporate PR department which could be a final resolution center to try to settle any problems a customer may have.

The first line of customer service: Customer Service Representatives! The grunts of the retail industry, yet one of the most important. Individuals who are knowledgeable about the product that is provided so that they can provide the best service to the customers. Likewise if a problem does arise they are there to help resolve the issue before it needs to be elevated beyond a store level. If they are unable to either supply or support the customer then level two would step up.

The second line of customer service: Help Desk Support! The support of the retail industry, always there as backup. Well trained individuals who are trained on the practice of troubleshooting. There can also be multiple levels within this one level with departments going from general knowledge to highly specialized knowledge, so that a variety of issues can be solved at this level. If issues can’t be resolved at this level then there would be a need to elevate it to the third and final level. Though this level is meant to resolve as many issues as possible so very few if any should go beyond this level.

The third line of customer service: Corporate PR Department! The last and final line in the retail industry. If things have progressed this far something has gone horribly wrong and the only way to fix the issue is to provide the customer with some sort of compensation. A lot of times what will be the course of action to resolve an issue at this stage would be to do a recall or to refund the customer, so that they are able save face and hopefully retain customers.

These are the lines and/or procedures a company and in particular a company I’d run would take to make sure that we could provide the best customer service to our customers. As long as you are aware that customers are what could make or break your company, then you can be aware to take care of them. Sacrificing customer service is never an option when making a successful business.

The cost of running all of these departments to retain customers and keep satisfaction can become a bit pricy but if it added into the cost of the product then it will not need to be added at a later time. Adding it into the cost of the product also gives the customers more gratification since it appears that they are getting something for seemingly nothing. On the other hand it is always an option to reduce the cost of the product to the customer which can also have positive effects on their perception of the company’s value of themselves. Meaning that if that if the company was to price their product cheaper it wouldn’t appear so expensive and quite possible less desirable to customers. Figuring out how to cover the costs of customer service for a company obviously has a lot more variables than the two that were discussed in this paragraph, such as what services should be provided to the customer.

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                Services provided to the customer are another factor of providing good customer service, it also plays apart in the overall cost of the customer service. It has to be factored in that the products that customers buy are going to break is the company going to provide repairing of devices and how are they going to cover the cost of such. Also are each of the three departments mentioned in the earlier paragraphs absolutely necessary to provide the best customer service and what levels of service should they provide. This is a factor that has to be determined by a Terms of Agreement that the customer has to sign before they any services can be provided. This informs them of the services provided and the limitations that the services have.

Now that I’ve presented what customer service is, different levels of it, and the challenges of establishing and managing customer services; I would like to describe how I would go about setting up a theoretical company. This will include everything from the initial planning process to making sure that all of the daily operations are managed in a particular way, so that I would be able to plan on what will be needed to start and maintain the business. Now to get down to the business planning and management part of the article, I will be using a mobile repair business as an example.

Why? An important question anyone who is considering starting a business should ask themselves, if they are unsure maybe it would be in there best interests to consider postponing until a concrete reason was established. Starting a business is something that involves a lot of risk and if you are unsure as to why then like previously stated a reevaluation may be in order. The reasons I would consider starting a business is that I would no longer have to answer to anyone but myself when making business decisions. Another reason to consider starting a business is that once you’ve become established and start making money as a business it can become quite lucrative, which can provide its owner with the income needed to live and expand a business.

What is it that you want to offer? Knowing what kind of business you want to start up helps the founder to decide what needs to be done to start up the business. Even just for the example of a business orientated towards mobile repair! For instance if the owner only wanted to gear his repair operations towards phones or tablets. This is a super vital question to ask yourself when starting the business because it will determines what needs to be done and managed. It will affect what needs to be stocked, what kind of clientele the business is geared towards, and what skills are needed to operate the business successfully.

Initial planning is an extremely crucial step when setting up a business if poorly planned the company could fail before it even gets off of the ground. There are many factors to take into account such as how start-up costs would be obtained, would they be come from saving or would it be from a small business loan provided by from a bank. The location of the business is incredibly important as well if it is in an area with low human traffic than the chances that people will learn about the business or stop to visit are less likely. Even with a good location people might not be tempted to stop and view the store or have no reason what the store is actually for, and this is where marketing comes into play especially when first opening a store a simple grand opening helps establish what the store is about and welcomes people to visit. Another thing to consider when starting up is what stock do you need so that customers can be provided with what they need in a timely fashion. Insurance is a big part of the startup as well in case anything goes wrong liability doesn’t fall on the business owner. These are some of the more important factors to consider initially but depending on the type of business there may be other things to take into account as well!

Like stated in the previous paragraph all the considerations for initial setup are things that need to be addressed and managed once the business is rolling. Once the funds for the start-up have been acquired, it’s required that repaying it so that once it completely returned in full it’s nothing but profits. This means that a budget needs to be created so that the business owner can figure the amount that needs to be paid monthly to meet the bills. Once this is figured out then figuring out the cost of services will become a bit easier to calculate. Of course there are other factors to consider when figuring out what the cost of services should be. This ultimately determines how much profit the business will make.

Location and marketing are easily combine-able into a paragraph since they both relate to how customers find and perceive the company. Being in a high traffic area will give the business a larger audience, of course since more people will pass the store and see it physically. Location also has to do with the kind of clientele you serve, it can change depending on what area the business is located in. Not to forget that marketing is a huge part of a business’s recognition. Marketing not only helps to get recognition for the business but it lets customers know what the business is all about!

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                Stocking up on product and supplies is vital! This will help to give customers the best service that you can. If you don’t have the parts needed or product that they desire most of the time this will reflect poorly on the business and next time they need the services they will go elsewhere to get their needs meet. This is another factor that needs to be considered in when figuring out the cost of the services that are provided to the customer.

Insurance, is incredibly important. If for some reason or another a customer’s product is damaged when in your care the responsibility to replace it can become extremely expensive. This should also be taken into consideration when figuring out the cost of the services that are provided since it is an expense that someone has to bear. Though without insurance imagine the enormous debt that me incurred if a fire where to break out in the building that you owned and all of the customers property where damaged along with it, not only would this hurt the business it could easily put the owner out of business.

This concludes my research into customer service and the business planning process. Though there is much more that comes into play when planning for both, variables need to be determined to choose the best option to meet needs and satisfy customers and make for a profitable business. Remember though one of the most important things to becoming a booming business is to make sure that the customers are happy!