Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Customer Service and Consumer Protection at Richer Sounds.

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Customer Service and Consumer Protection at Richer Sounds.

Customer service is the amount to how a business satisfies its customer’s needs. Customer service consists of offering fair prices, products etc. clear information, efficiency within the business, responding to enquiries and many more. There are two types of customers; they are internal and external customers. Internal customers help the business to supply high quality products to their outside customers. External customers are the buyers of the goods and services for their own use. Richer sounds’ target customers are a very large group as they use the internet, which means that people can contact them from all over the world. Having such a large target audience means that there has to be a lot of work put into the customer service.

The Importance of Customer Service.

To gain or retain customers a business must provide something that another one does not. This might include longer opening hours than a competitor or a money off voucher for the next time they come to the store. Making the display window of a shop appealing is also another good way to gain more customers.

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The consumer will want to know about the product or service before they buy it. This means that there needs to be clear and easy to understand information about it. There also needs to be a price by the product or service, as customers will get put off if they have to keep asking the price of something, especially if the shop is busy.

If a customer buys something from a business, they will expect it to be easy. The consumer will not want to wait a long time for cues or the transaction of payment and they do not want to find that a store has run out of stock, or feel unwelcome. If a customer is satisfied when they leave a shop they may start to use it regularly and become loyal customers.

To increase sales revenue and profits a business will want to gain more and more loyal customers, they will then be able to slightly increase their prices, but they must make sure that customers feel completely satisfied while buying and after having bought something from the store.

For a business to keep its market share it must make sure that the proportion of its sales compared with its competitors does not fall. If the customer service of a business is highly �quality then it can help keep the market share steady, as sales and reputation will both be high.

If customers feel satisfied with a service or product that they have bought then they will recommend the business to others. This means the company will win new customers, keep old ones and the name of the business will be known as a highly regarded one.

How Richer Sounds meet their Customer’s Expectations.

Richer sounds tries to reach its customers expectations in many ways and its owner, Julian Richer believes that the success of his business is down to putting the customers first. Richer Sounds brings good value products to its customers, and often compares prices with other stores to try and maintain being the best value for money electrical shop. Sometimes the prices for a product may be more expensive but the quality will then be better as Richer Sounds is proud of its quality products.

If there are any enquires then Richer Sound makes a point of responding to them quickly. Julian Richer encourages customers to write directly to him at a freepost address so that he can be in touch with his customers.

Richer Sounds always give clear and honest information, as they know that this is what consumers want. They understand that if the consumers trust the business then they will become loyal and Richer Sounds reputation will grow.

If a customer is not sure which product to buy then richer sounds will give them information about several different makes of the product so the customer can then decide which one will be best suited. All of the staff at richer sounds are familiar with the stores products and they can advise customers on which one to choose.

Richer Sounds likes to deal with individual or general issues thoroughly to make sure that the customer fully understands an issue. If there are any questions that a consumer has then staff are very happy to help them sort anything out.

The staff at Richer Sounds make sure that there are one to one conversations with customers as they feel better when they can talk directly to someone who will understand their queries. Richer Sounds encourage this as they can also gain important feedback.

Richer Sounds offer good after-sales service as they have a separate department that deals with returned goods or faulty ones. They also offer free servicing on some products for a certain period of time.

Consumer Protection

Consumer protection can protect customers in several different ways. There are a number of laws concerning health and safety such as

· Health and Safety Act, 147 - this is the main law and protects consumers by regulating packing and labelling of dangerous substances.

· Food and Drugs Act, 184 � this law states what can and cannot be added to food.

· Food Safety act 10 � this law says that it is illegal to sell food of a poor standard this applies to farmers, restaurants and shops.

· Consumer Protection Act, 187 � this law covers dangerous products that may be harmful to a consumer.

Consumer protection laws looks after the consumer when they buy goods or services the laws on this are

· Sale of Goods Act, 17 � this says that products must be undamaged and in good working order when sold.

· Consumer Credit Act, 174 � this stops businesses charging very high interest rates on loans.

There also has to be laws on the labelling of products such as

· Labelling of Food Regulations, 170 � under this law all pre-packed products must have a list of ingredients and if they have more than one percent of genetically modified ingredients then it must be stated.

· Weights and Measures Act, 186 � this says that all weights and measures must be accurate and be stated on the packaging.

· Trade Descriptions Act, 168 � This law makes it illegal to put misleading information on advertisements or packaging.

There are also laws on how confidential information is used by businesses, such as

· Computer Misuse Act, 10 � Under this law it is illegal to look at or use classified information without proper authority.

· The Data Protection Act, 18 � This is a major law which stops business passing on information about consumers without their agreement. It also states that the information must be stored securely.

Measuring Customer Satisfaction Techniques

Measuring customer satisfaction helps a business to know if customer’s expectations are being met and if the customer service techniques being used are working. Assessing customer satisfaction can help a business work out what they can do next to improve the business.

There are several ways in which a business can find out customer satisfaction, firstly they can analyse sales performance. This requires a business to look at the past few years sales figures and compare them to see if sales are up. This is a very simple way to check customer satisfaction.

A business can compare itself with another business to find out how well it is doing. Comparing the number of sales, number of customers, amount of complaints or returned goods with other companies lets a business see how satisfied its customers are.

If any complaints and returned goods are recorded then this can help a business to find out whether customers are satisfied. If there are lots of complaints on one issue then the problem can be assessed and changed so the customers are happy. If perhaps customers return a certain product regularly, then a business can contact the products firm and inform them of the problem which they can then sort out.

Methods of Collecting Customer Feedback

Collecting customer feedback is a vital way to find out what customers want. A business can get its sales assistants to ask customers questions while dealing with their purchases. This way customers can give their views directly to the business. This is also a useful way when products are returned because the business can find out exactly what was wrong.

If a business watches customers it can gain quite a bit of information. You can see whether a new display attracts the attention of a consumer, or having an usher at the entrance of the store invites more customers in.

Having questionnaires for consumers to fill in is a very common way of trying to gain customer feedback. The information received from these can be very useful if the right questions are asked, however this method is not always successful, as many consumers will not have the patients to fill them out.

A business can hold customer panels or interviews in which small groups of consumers report back to a business regularly. This is a very effective method of customer feedback as detailed information on advertising, customer service and products can be received. Businesses can also gain ideas from these consumers about special offers, displays, shop layouts and more.

Business websites are a good way to retrieve customer feedback and online shopping helps this as well. There is usually a customer view page, which can provide helpful information from customers. This is also linked with e-mail as a business can contact and be contacted by consumers 4 hours a day from anywhere in the world. E-mails from consumers can be offering their views on good aspects of a business or about problems, which can then be sorted out.

Customer Service arrangement within Richer Sounds

For Richer Sounds customer service to work effectively it has to be arranged so that everything can run smoothly. Richer Sounds take pride that their products are of a high standard and they only stock the best goods around. They make sure that the equipment has passed safety tests and is labelled well. Any warning signs are made clear and other information about the product is easy to read. There is also information about the product next to it so the customer can find out features of the product. Richer Sounds offer very high quality products and there are no real downsides to them.

The staff at Richer Sounds trained to a high standard and are presented well. There is a Richer Sounds uniform worn by sales colleagues in the stores and their name badges. They also have all colleagues looking clean and smart and they insist on personal freshness. The staff are trained how to approach customers in the stores, cope with indecisions, health and safety and consumer rights. However the stores do not have ushers or greeters at the entrance to their stores.

Richer Sounds make sure that the stores are clean and well laid out. This gives a good first impression when customers enter the store. They also lay the stores out so that they are easy to get round and there are sections of different types of product. There are no doors on the stores and there is a bell to push if a person in a wheelchair needs help to get up some steps, this is a job for a manager so that he can help with store persons as well as running that particular store. However Richer Sounds could offer wheelchair access that included ramps instead of help from mangers as this could make a person feel uncomfortable.

Richer Sounds have a delivery service although it is at an extra cost. They can deliver with a one day notice so it can be useful if you need something quickly that cannot be carried. Richer Sounds also offer this service for free if the customer is disabled. Deliveries can be sorted out over the phone, online or in the store and they will deliver anywhere in the UK. As Richer Sounds delivery part of the business is not very large sometimes customers may not be able get next day delivery. Next day delivery may also not be possible as stock has run out, however Richer Sounds will contact the next nearest store and ask for the product to be delivered.

Richer Sounds offer several different after-sales services. They have a dedicated service and repairs section with qualified engineers who carry out repairs. All the repairs are covered by a three month warranty and all customers are contacted by telephone or post if the repair is not completed within five days. They have a 100% satisfaction guaranteed or money back scheme which lets customers return any product for any reason within 14 days providing it is in its original condition. They also have full access to technical back-up or spare parts from all manufacturers. Richer Sounds also offer a three-year supercare package, which provides three years cover this includes free routine servicing/maintenance checks. The only weakness of Richer Sounds after Sales service is that they do not offer to pick up goods if they want to be returned.

Richer Sounds offer other good features such as their range of payment methods. They will accept cheques (up to £000), cash (Pound Sterling and Euros), debit cards and credit cards. Richer Sounds offer special phone lines to deal with general enquiries, customer service queries and to provide technical information. They also have a dedicated phone line to order catalogues. There are many ways in which the staff at Richer Sounds can improve how they work as there are many different training programs available.

All of Richer Sounds Customers are protected under the many consumer laws. These include health and safety laws dealing with products and instore problems. The customers are covered by the sale of products laws and also the misuse of information and the labelling of products acts.

Recommendations for Richer Sounds Customer Service

There are several ways in which Richer Sounds could improve its customer service. Firstly they could offer a points system, which could be collected on a card and then the collected points could be redeemed against another purchase. This would improve customer loyalty. With a lot of new technology being developed I also think that perhaps there could be an e-mail address which consumers could send any queries about a product to and receive information back helping them out. The business website could be improved by perhaps adding a chat section which between certain hours there could be a trained engineer or sales person who could answer any questions from online consumers. These are ways in which Richer Sounds could improve its customer service.

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