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Create a Customer-Service Culture

There is a high correlation between customer service and customer loyalty. A study by the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business found 70% of online customers rated themselves "very likely" to make repeat purchases from e-commerce companies that respond to and resolve issues. Below are the basics of customer service. Consider whether your organization is doing all it can to enhance the customer experience:

Start at the top. A customer-service culture starts with the CEO and should be encouraged throughout the organization. In this culture, the customer is the core of all managerial, financial, and operational decisions. Management consistently demonstrates its customer commitment to all employees.

Be respectful of time. Prompt responses to telephone calls and e-mails show respect. Review internal processes and remove roadblocks and delays. Publicly reward customer-service heroes. Consider the lifetime value of your customers.

Get it right, right away. Satisfaction levels drop each time a customer has to follow up on a request or an issue. Try to thoroughly and accurately address customer queries the first time.

Hire and keep the right people. Good service requires good people. Make sure your organization offers competitive training, salary and incentive programs, and state-of-the art equipment.

Vincent D’Agostino

President and founding partner

Norwalk, Conn.

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