I recently asked our Facebook fans to weigh in on the topic of customer service:
“I like fast replies and concise answers with a personal touch, but I’m not high maintenance or anything…”
– Bethany Buckles Learn
“I love the personal attention you get from small business owners. I know within one minute of talking to someone (99% of the time) what their business is like, or how my experience will be. I think this is the gateway of satisfaction, and I wish more business owners realized this. Love fast replies. Love when people go out of their way to make you feel special. Love extras when they can, and honest and sincere emails when they might not be able to. When it takes FOREVER to get a response or someone to actually follow through on a request to speak to someone, that is trouble. Blatantly wrong information is one of the toppers for me, along with wasting a significant amount of my time. Follow through is absolutely everything today, and ZERO desire to address simple issue with your customer service, or even to have a conversation means a loss of my business.”
– Morgan Bullard Vanderwall
“If a restaurant doesn’t allow strollers, they need to offer some sort of infant seat holder. I just ate at a fancy place that made me leave my stroller around the corner, then I had to put my 2 mo in his car seat on the floor. For as much as we spent on lunch, I expected more…and better/faster service.”
– Heather Atkinson
1. Be passionate about your business. Great customer service starts with enthusiasm. If you are excited about your product your potential customer will be too.
2. Be timely – Return voicemails and e-mails within 24 hours, if possible. If the customer needs details about a certain product and you are short on time, send them a quick note telling them you will send them more details within the next couple of days.
3. Ship products within 24 hours – if possible.
4. Enclose a Tthank you – handwritten is even better, if you have the time.
5. Add a small gift – it doesn’t have to be anything expensive – just a little extra could go a long way for future sales. Example: If you sell children’s items, why not print off a few coloring pages and toss in a small box of crayons for the kids.? (Note: If you shop the “back to school” sales you can pick up boxes of crayons for .25 cents – a cheap investment for you, but the customer will love it!)
6. Gift Wrap (for free), if possible. I send all my pottery to the customer gift wrapped at no additional charge. I use purple tissue paper, that I purchased in bulk for pennies and my customers are thrilled when they open the box to see the extra special touch.
– Leah Derewicz
I could write an entire post about customer service (like Leah!) but for now I’ll stick with this: COMMUNICATE. I’ve found over the years that communication goes a long, long way. I try to reply to emails within 24-48 hours. If I can’t help the person, I offer an alternative solution to their problem/question. If I can’t get work done as promised, I explain why. I send a quick note updating the client or customer letting them know why I’m side tracked, busy, delayed, etc. People really appreciate a simple heads-up. Ignoring someone only serves to hurt you. Most people are rational and logical and will understand why you have been delayed in shipping their products or getting their work done. Open communication is always the better way to go.
– Shara Lawrence-Weiss