Volume 10 Issue 2:
A successful commitment to customer service requires some planning. There is no doubt you have to be quick on your feet in dealing with your customers but you can’t overlook the advantages of thorough planning. In the early stages of this planning you need to develop an information base. This can be a basic journal or notebook done manually, or a simple database on a computer system. The computers and software in the market today are relatively easy to work with and can make it much easier to keep your information base current. They also provide options for improving your customer service by allowing you to do mailing labels, form letters and other communication functions.
a. Customer name(s)
The customer information is pretty straight forward but invaluable as you move forward to improve your service level.
a. Name of horse(s)
Once you have compiled your customer and horse information you can then put it to work. Communications, using the database, is the next step.
Billing. This may be the most important “communication” you have with your customer. Without it, you’re out of business. Make sure your billing is prompt and accurate. Try to do your billing by invoicing, at least once a week- don’t wait to do monthly statements. Monthly statements can be helpful - to be sure your customers know you know where they stand. The improved cash flow of billing as you go will be important to you. Make sure your customers understand the terms and meet them.
Maintenance issues. You need to communicate regular maintenance issues to your
Education. As you get more comfortable with the use of your database you can expand your services by sharing educational information with your customers. This can be something as simple as a single page on hoofcare tips or reprints of articles, newsletters or website information. Your position will be much stronger if you have tried to help your customers understand what you do to help their horses. You can start by sending information with invoices or doing two or three mailings a year.
Don’t expect the gathering and entry of data to happen all at once. Do it as you have time but work to complete the process in a reasonable timeframe. You are building a foundation; take your time and do it as thoroughly as possible.