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Got Suggestions? How To Improve Customer Service

Author: Tom Borg   |   October 15th, 2009

Small Business Marketing TipsThe Canton Public Library in Canton, Michigan has an outstanding reputation for service. It is ranked as one of the top libraries in the state for the type of services it provides as well as its high number of patrons.

This library has everything from a receptionist who greets each person to a large reading room with a fireplace. What also adds to the atmosphere is a piano-shaped window section with a natural view that provides a great place to curl up with a book.

A very supportive library board and a top-notch library director, Jean Tabor, help make this library customer-oriented. The director was wise enough to tap the creative potential of her employees in designing the new library.

In addition to that, several surveys were conducted before the new library was built to find out what the public wanted. The results have been a library that has pleased both the staff and the patrons. This library is open 7 days per week and is always busy.

One of the main reasons this library is so successful is because of its willingness to find out what the patrons want. People using the library are encouraged to make suggestions that will help make it a better place.

A suggestion box is in plain sight, complete with paper and pencils. The steady flow of suggestions received weekly are reviewed and promptly acted upon. Each person who makes a suggestion is contacted and thanked. This suggestion box system works very effectively for the Canton Public Library.

The management of many organizations and companies com­plain that they’ve tried using suggestion boxes and they just don’t work. They probably don’t work because they are not properly administered.

In order for a customer’s suggestion box to be effective, management must treat it as an important tool that can improve the organization.

The important thing to remember is to make sure that all suggestions are responded to and the best ones implemented.

If you now have a suggestion box for your small business customers, consider how you can improve its effectiveness by answering the following questions:

1.     Is it in the best location for your customers to see and use?

2.    How could you and your staff and co-workers actively encourage your customers to make suggestions?

3.    What kind of an incentive can your company give to your customers for making suggestions?

4.    How does your company now respond to each customer making a suggestion?

a. Written thank you

b. Telephone call

c. Verbal communication

d. Ignore the person completely

If you don’t have a suggestion box, when will you get one?


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