How to Develop Outstanding Customer Service Policies

shopkeeper serving customer in delicatessen shop

Betsie Van Der Meer / Taxi / Getty Images

To be competitive, all businesses must adhere to outstanding customer service practices and policies. If your business does not have a customer service policy or needs to revamp existing ones, start by creating an outline.

What to Consider When Developing Your Policies

The following questions can serve as a foundational guide for developing your business plan, feasibility study, or business model to create or improve customer satisfaction. Use these to create your outline:

  1. Do you have a return or exchange policy?
  2. How will you resolve customer complaints?
  3. How can customers resolve problems, place orders, or reach you with questions? (For example, will you have an autoresponder or will customers receive a personal response?)
  4. Will you join the Better Business Bureau, professional associations, or other groups or associations that can boost your credibility and visibility?
  5. What is your privacy policy? (All websites must have a privacy statement if you capture or exchange any kind of data about your site visitors or customers. If you capture medical data, you may also need to comply with HIPAA confidentiality laws as well.)

How to Lose Customers

Attracting customers is half your goal in business. You also need to focus on developing strategies for customer retention because repeat and referral customers are vital to sustain and grow your business. To accomplish this, it is essential to have customer service policies in place.

Treat Customers, Employees, and Stakeholders Equally

Customer policies and relationship standards should be part of your mission statement. Customers should neither receive substandard or preferential treatment over employees, contractors, or even stakeholders. This concept of treating all as equal has received much attention and has become a business model for success for many mega-corporations.

In "Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit From Passion and Purpose," authors Rajendra Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, and Jagdish N. Sheth write, "Successful companies [that] spend millions of dollars less on marketing and advertising than their industry counterparts, but have found tremendous success by following a business model that values stakeholders, employees, and customers equally."

Successful Business Tip

If you have customers, you absolutely must have a customer service policy in place. If your business has a website, information regarding your customer service policies and privacy practices should be clearly and prominently stated for your customers—not buried deep within your website.