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who must implement them: (a) are not aware of the rules applying to their jobs; (b) are functioning under some outdated policies not in effect for many months or even years, or (c) don’t know how or where to find the applicable policies.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.
If there is any aspect of the business that requires clear, documented, well-implemented policies, it is the customer service, fulfillment, returns, and commissions adjustment functions. Failure to set and monitor policies can result in unnecessary expense to the company and customer, and the ultimate loss of the customer and any goodwill. Customer adjustments, service and returns goods policies should include these nine aspects.
- Rules that apply directly to the customer, such as when the customer’s word will be accepted.
- Standards of performance for the department, such as requiring that all commission checks are mailed on a specific day, communications have a reply initiated within a specified number of working days, or that unprocessed returns not exceed a designated carryover standard.
- Time limits for effecting a customer adjustment. For instance, for how long a period after shipment will a return be accepted.
- Application of service techniques, such as when the customer will be called instead of written or when the company will initiate a UPS pick-up of a return or send a replacement by an expedited carrier.
- Refunds and other adjustments, such as when customer’s return postage will be reimbursed, how much of an allowance will be given for damaged products and when a customer will be sent a “gift” to rebuild goodwill or to compensate for aggravation or inconvenience.
- Filing standards. That is, deciding what customer correspondence and pertinent replies should be retained and for how long. In general, most companies keep too much correspondence, and what they do keep is difficult to locate when it is needed.
- Approval requirements. For example, deciding who, by job position, shall approve certain adjustments that exceed policy limits.
- Limitations and changes in procedures deciding who, by job position, shall approve any changes in techniques, particularly initiation of and modifications to forms, form letters and form paragraphs sent to customers, governmental agencies or consumer advocates.
- Insuring compliance with all government regulations pertaining to the company’s policy administration, compliance administration, order and commission adjustments, poison control reports (where applicable), returns activities, and similar practices.