A ‘Real World Look’ at Customer Service Policies
Different kinds of catalogers should have different customer service policies, according to Timothy Holody, COO of Seta Corp., which markets through the Palm Beach Jewelry catalog and ships 1.5 million to 2 million units of jewelry a year to customers. “But whatever your policies are, they have to be set up in such a way that you can measure their effectiveness, and their impact on your bottom line.”
Holody’s presentation at the recent National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Schaumburg, Ill., was a case study, “A Real World Look at Customer Service Policies,” which focused on how Palm Beach Jewelry handles various customers service situations and, most notably, how much those policies cost. “The goal is to offer great customer service, but at a level that you can afford,” he said.
Palm Beach Jewelry uses three major reports to track reship and refund costs:
1. a reship analysis,
2. an adjustments summary and,
3. a refunds without returns report.
These all can be handled on a regular basis by any company, either daily, weekly, monthly or year-to-date as the situation warrants, Holody noted.
Another important aspect of customer service is fixing the level of authority of first-line CSRs. “They should know what they can do, and more importantly, what they CANNOT do for a customer,” he said. At Palm Beach Jewelry, for instance, first-line CSRs have the authority to issue refunds of up to $50, but not more than that. “It’s actually excellent customer service to get the customer away from the first-line rep if that rep doesn’t have the authority to handle the problem.”
Track Trends, Tweak Policies
Customer service policies are changeable, however. “Look for trends and tweak your policies as needed to satisfy the financial needs of the business as well as customer needs,” Holody said.