Monday, August 9, 2010

Putting the Service in Customer Service

Recently I had read a post on another blog about Customer Service.  (I'm sorry, I wish I could remember who's blog and where the post is... but I forgot to bookmark it.)  The author was discussing how 98% of your customers are happy with their purchase and very appreciative... but... the other 2%.  Well that's the 2% that will make or break your business.  Especially in this digital age where bad publicity travels 10x faster - and farther - than the good publicity and advertising you pay for.

I wanted to share a personal experience I just had 2 weeks ago.  I sent a package down to a brand new customer that had purchased from my Ebay store.  Through no fault of theirs or mine, the post office delivered the package looking like it had been run over by a bulldozer - and it was torn open.  The product obviously was damaged beyond use.  When I shipped, I did not get insurance because A. I hadn't had a problem before and B. The value of the items wasn't high enough to warrant it.

So upon receiving the product, the buyer e-mails me and sends photos of how the package arrived.  I immediately felt terrible, I put myself in his shoes and knew I'd be upset if I received that package.  Now on ebay, each store has a different policy.  As I sell cosmetics, I have a no returns policy for obvious reasons.  But this was the exception to that rule.

I responded immediately to the buyers e-mail, apologizing profusely and offering to ship new  products to him or give him a full refund.  He had purchased the product for his wife & daughter, so after checking with them he asked that I send new product.  I put together what they ordered and an extra little something for each of the ladies - double bubble wrapped the product - packaged it up and immediately went to the post office to BUY INSURANCE :) and ship it.  Just in case this too was damaged, which I didn't expect - but just in case, I'd now be covered.

Skip ahead 5 days and I sent a follow-up e-mail to make sure the package arrived safe & sound.  I received this e-mail back.

"Everything arrived undamaged this time, I thank you so much for help making my wife and daughter more beautiful.  We will check with you when we need more.  Thanks for treating us like customers used to be treated."

I felt so relieved, but proud too.  Proud that I could give small business owners a positive review in the eyes of this gentleman, his wife & daughter.  Yes, it was my cost to re-ship the item with insurance and yes, it was more product out the door.  BUT for me to have a happy customer that is willing to communicate with me about a problem and then be satisfied enough to offer their repeat business is priceless.

I really wanted to share this experience because I know as entrepreneurs we encounter challenging and negative situations often.  Some people snap back and then potentially lose that customer's  business forever.  Not to mention the negative reputation and remarks that the unsatisfied customer can put out there about you and your business practices.

Custom Birthday Gift Wrap
On the flip side, with my jewelry designs, my goal is to exceed customers expectations from the beginning.  If they are getting one of my custom designs as a gift for someone I am more than happy to gift wrap the jewelry and send it directly to the recipient if necessary.  From many brides in particular with their bridesmaids' jewelry, when I send them a box with each set completely gift wrapped and decorated with curly ribbon.  So many brides have 10,000 things to do before their wedding and the last thing they have time for is wrapping 5 or 10 little bitty gift boxes.  So it's just part of what I do, and I love doing it! 


Shannon said...

Very well said! I am just starting on Etsy so I will keep this in mind should anything happen to an item.
For My Sweet Daughter

slmpetersen said...

I'm a little late to the party, but very well stated my dear! And I know you have treated me and my custom needs well! Have a great day!

Deb said...

It's the little things and going the extra step that keep customers happy. These little things are sometimes forgotten by small business owners or were never understood. "Big box" stores don't have the flexibility to provide the same level of customer service - they have too much bureaucracy that's out of touch with their customer.

Designs by Dawn Marie said...

Thanks so much for all of your comments. It is the little things... and it's so refreshing when I get to talk or correspond with a local person to do business rather than getting a call center half-way around the world.

I appreciate all of your feedback! Look forward to chatting with you soon!


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