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We all do it. If we get good service or order a product we like we order from the company again. However, if there is something we don't like or are dissatisfied with the service in any way, shape or form, we never bring it to the attention of the company. We simply don't use their services again and think that solves the problem.

Let me share with you something that happened here locally to me. A new pizza shop moved into the neighborhood and I decided to try them out. When I placed my order I informed them that they had been highly recommended and this was my first order. When I picked up the pizza and brought it home it was HORRIBLE! I couldn't believe I actually paid $14 for the thing. It wasn't even worth $2 in my opinion.

Naturally, I had made up my mind never to order from this particular pizza shop again _ but a few days later the owner called me to ask my opinion on what I thought of the pizza. (He had got my phone number off the check I paid my order with.)

Feeling a little embarrassed and reluctant to tell him how horrible it was, I said, "It was okay but not something I would order again." The owner became very interested and asked me to give him more specifics. I explained that the sauce was too tangy and there was not enough cheese or pepperoni on the pizza even though I ordered double of both items. He asked me to give his pizza one more try, but this time it would be free of charge. I accepted.

And guess what? The quality was greatly improved and I am now a steady customer. You can use the same situation for your mail order business. Only you can't afford to call everyone that orders from you. That is where the "Customer Response Card" is vital to your growing business. You hardly ever see them in mail order because people don't think they really work. That's because they have never put them to use. That's where you can be different and innovative _ and profitable _ all at the same time.

"Customer Response Cards" can easily be typeset by any competent typesetter. They should ask such questions of the customer, as: How do you rate our service? Was the quality of our product or service excellent, good, fair or poor? What would you suggest for us to do in order to improve our services? Would you order from us again? Any additional comments?

Lines should be left for the customers' name, address and telephone number. In addition, the "Customer Response Card" should be pre-addressed with your address and preferably pre-stamped for their convenience.

If you decide to use "Customer Response Cards" they will serve a very important function in your daily business. First of all, when customers receive them they will know you are concerned about them and their order. They will feel important that you have asked for their opinion and will feel free to make helpful suggestions, complain or brag about your company.

However, you must keep in mind that a complaint is NOT a reflection on you personally. A complaint should be an indication that there is some unfinished business to take care of. Almost 90% of the time, if you listen and try to understand a customer complaint _ the customer is more than satisfied.

Then, if you offer to make up for the difference or offer them free services or a money-saving coupon on their next order, they will be much more than satisfied. Not only have you kept a customer but built a trust with them at the same time.

Solve complaints from "Customer Response Cards" as quickly as possible. Customers may make a complaint on a postcard more readily than calling you or writing you a letter. This helps draw your attention to problems before they get out of hand problems you might not even know existed!

And never forget to thank your customers for providing you with their opinion. You could send them back a discount coupon to use on items you sell on their next order or simply send them a "Thank You" card. Remember that a customer's opinion is worth its weight in gold. There are professional marketing firms that are paid $1,000's of dollars per year by companies to find out what people really think of their products. A "Customer Response Card" is a very low-cost way of determining trends and interests that your customer market has. If you keep on top of things, you will never have to hire these high-paid professionals. You'll know more than they do!