Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Hendrickson, William J.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Education and Administrative Services


Customer services; Mail-order business


The purpose of this study was to determine the policies and procedures used by selected mail-order firms in order to facilitate profitable sales and to maximize complete satisfaction of mail-order customers. This, investigation sought to determine policies and procedures establishing and facilitating customer services, how policies covering com-via lives were implemented, the systems and procedures used in processing orders, and the nature of follow-up procedures used to determine the success of mail-order operations and the satisfaction of customers. A thorough search of available marketing literature was conducted in the initial stage of this investigation. Exploratory interviews were conducted to acquire pertinent background information in the areas of mail-order selling and customer service. A preliminary questionnaire was designed on the basis of the information acquired from secondary sources and the exploratory interviews. Executives of five selected mail-order firms were interviewed in order to evaluate the preliminary questionnaire. Personal, interviews were conducted, using the final structured questionnaire. with executive from 24 selected mail-order firms located within a 25-mile radius of Chicago. The findings of the investigation showed that the policies and procedures establishing and facilitating customer services were concerned with credit, order acknowledgement, payment of transportation charges, guarantee of delivery, C.O.D. purchases, and customer inquiries. Customer complaints were regarded as one of the most significant types of mail received and were given top priority and consideration at all times. The systems and procedures of the selected mail-order firms for handling their customers' orders were similar; however, their systems and procedures were designed to meet the needs of their respective operations. Follow-up procedures were used to enhance customer satisfaction and to determine the success of their mail-order operations. Mail-order firms recognize the importance of customer service policies; however, it appears that there is a need to review, evaluate, and revise the implementation of these policies. There is a common pattern of the kinds of customer complaints received by the selected mail-order firms. The procedures for resolving customer complaints were generally based on such factors as the value of the merchandise to be returned, the cause of a customer's dissatisfaction, and the nature of the guarantee communicated to the customer. Standardized systems for processing orders have been developed by the mail-order firms included in this study. Efforts seem to be made to review and improve upon these systems in order to facilitate improvements in order handling. The mail-order firms included in the study appear to be innovating varieties of follow-up procedures to determine degrees of customer satisfaction, to implement satisfaction, and to devise opportunities for future business with their customers.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-86)


vi, 111 pages




Northern Illinois University

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