Customer Service Problems Happen – Just Deal With Them as They Happen.

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WfriThe myth most business owners believe: Being a manager and small business owner means solving problems as they happen.

The truth successful business owners learn the hard way! Most problems occur repeatedly due to a deficiency in your operating system or in the training of your employees. And, most problems result in a customer service problem that often leads to a lost customer. So developing a system of tracking problems and solving problems is a key component of improving customer service.

When you are small this is a simple as keeping a log of all mistakes. Weekly or monthly it is important to review this log and look for repeat errors. Now, analyze the root causes of these errors and solve the root problem.

We prepare over 600 returns and at least 99% are completed correctly the first time. But, tax law is a complicated area with frequent changes and keeping errors from happening is a continuous battle. A few years back I noticed that when a client failed to give us a 1099 for retirement income we failed to notice this three times. I put in a procedure so that the reviewer looks specifically for this and worked with all preparers so that they understood the importance of looking at last year’s returns in order to look for items that the client fails to give us. The result: These errors, and many like it, have disappeared during the last two tax seasons.

As a company grows and adds more employees it is no longer possible for the owner to keep track of all the problems and customer service errors that occur in a business. But, solving these problems becomes more vital to keeping customers happy and returning. At this point it is important for the business owner to develop a “customer service ticket” to track these errors.

You should review these employee prepared “customer service tickets” weekly to determine 1) that all customer service problems are resolved promptly and 2) to look for problems that are re-occurring.

Lesson learned:  Problems have root causes and will happen repeatedly if you fail to address these root causes. You need a system to identify customer service problems in order highlight the problems that the manager needs to solve.