MLM Customer Service Guidelines

The ServiceQuest® system was established to fulfill a substantial need for companies lacking sound MLM and Party Plan customer service and internal operations systems in their quest for delivering on their promises.

In working with and visiting scores of customer service operations all across the nation, the founders of ServiceQuest are often struck by a surprising situation. The companies have not documented any customer service policies, or if such policies have been formulated, those employees who must implement them: (a) are not aware of the rules applying to their jobs; (b) are functioning under some outdated policies not in effect for many months or even years, or (c) don’t know how or where to find the applicable policies. In addition, when employees don’t know the ground rules, one should not hold them at fault. Management is deficient.
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Rebuilding Goodwill & Perception Kickers

Acknowledging that we make mistakes, being proactive about building goodwill will distinguish your company from the competition. This article offers tested and proven recommendations for building goodwill throughout the MLM and Party Plan organizations (and hence, a sound reputation) as well as re-building goodwill when you have goofed.

[box] Key Concepts

  • One effective, caring goodwill gesture can compensate for as many as ten poor-service experiences
  • Empower your service staff with the tools for rebuilding goodwill
    1. Teach them to spot opportunities to rebuild goodwill
    2. Establish “goodwill” accounts for them to spend on rebuilding goodwill
      1. Discretionary dollars (with guidelines and accountability)
      2. Discretionary product give-away (with guidelines and accountability
    3. Regularly report goodwill accounts
      1. Track goodwill dollars as a percentage of sales
      2. Track and report by rep (in order to give rep the feedback about how they are doing versus guidelines and departmental standards)
  • Make sure that customer service employees are selected for their “people” skills (good communicators, empathetic, reliable to follow through, intelligent thinkers and analysts, etc.)


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Are You Satisfying Your Customers?

When you think you are doing a good job of handling inquiries, complaints, and adjustments, and you are processing all customer mail in one or two days, and calls are coming through at your determined standard with a low abandon rate, how else can you be sure your MLM distributors and customers are truly satisfied and that your MLM customer service objectives are fulfilled?

A survey conducted by Consumer Dimensions of North Brunswick, NJ, a company specializing in consumer relations, showed that 52 percent of all consumers were “disappointed” “annoyed,” or “angry” with the responses they received after contacting a company to complain about a product or service.
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Building An Initial Field Sales Force

Multilevel marketing (MLM) and Party Plan companies thrive and survive on relationships, and because their continued existence depends on the customer service environment that you create within your culture, you must make the commitment to become the undisputed leader in service and support.

Working in a customer service or returns department can be satisfying, nerve wracking and even amusing. Frustrated field reps and customers often take very unusual actions. Here are some examples:

  • Returned merchandise is enclosed in a large package that also contains the sender’s garbage.
  • The complainer works in a computer department, so she prepares the complaint in the form of a floppy disk that must be fed into a computer for translation into plain language. When translated, it reads, “I can’t get anything accomplished with humans, will you please help me?”
  • The complainer makes many photocopies of his original complaint and mails one each day until he obtains a satisfactory answer.
  • A business reply envelope is returned with hundreds of dead flies and insects.
  • A complaint is written in poetry with the hope that it is more likely to get attention.
  • A letter is taped to a 10 foot by 10-foot piece of plywood with the notation, “I am sure this won’t get lost in your system.”
  • Bullets are enclosed in the envelope with instructions to the president of the company to “blow his head off.”

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The Secret is in the Sort

This article addresses sorting of incoming mail for MLM and Party Plan customer service departments. For companies whose practice it is to simply assign incoming mail by number of pieces to each correspondent, the question arises as to the equitable allocation of work and whether this practice is an inefficient distribution of the workload. Some employees end up with a preponderance of easier problems while less-experienced personnel often have to grapple with matters beyond their capabilities. This article discusses how to distribute the mail.

If there is one aspect of structuring a response group that has to be emphasized, it is the importance of the “Sort.” The business axiom of “plan your work then work your plan” has far-reaching implications in this step of your business cycle. Because the sorting function is so important, it should not be assigned to the most-recently-hired or lowest-paid employee. Those assigned to sorting the mail in the customer service department should be among the most experienced and best-paid workers in the group. In a small operation, the manager should perform this function. In some other operations, the team leaders perform the overall departmental sort. Thus, the first step is to assign the sorting function to the right people.
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