There’s Always a Way to Improve Catalog Customer Service: My Top Five Tips for 2007
Continuing my discussion from the previous Corner View on companies’ treatment of customer service and CSR empowerment, this week I bring you my Top five catalog customer service tips, based on my observations throughout this past year. Some of these are more topical with the times; others are age-old issues that must be addressed.
It’s easy for someone in my position to demand catalogers do more of this and that in customer service. I realize that some — if not many — of catalogers’ limitations in customer service are budget-driven. So, I promise not to make any bold (and expensive) recommendations here. But considering that catalog shopping’s primary allure is convenience and a positive shopping experience, are you really in a position to skimp on service?
Upon reading this, I’d really like to hear back from you. Tell me what’s the most noteworthy change you’ve made in your customer service policies recently that’s worked for the better.
The 2007 Top Five Customer Service Tips
5. The precious catalog request. I actually start this list off with something that’s old and not directly related to customer service. But it’s an issue so simple and not all that expensive that I thought it was germane to this list.
Scenario: Prospect calls your 800 number to request a catalog. Your rep takes down the prospect’s information then says, “You’ll receive our catalog in the next seven to 10 business days.” STOP! Yes, it costs more than a dollar to stick a catalog in the mail First Class. Yes, it costs even more to overnight a copy. Yes, it’s a whole lot more efficient to make weekly bulk-batch mailings for catalog requests.
The mistake: Sure, you could save a couple of bucks by batch mailing your requests. But many of those prospects who go to the trouble of calling for your catalog probably want something right now. Send them a catalog next week and there’s a good chance they’ll have long since forgotten they wanted it. And an even better chance you lose the opportunity to gain a new customer.