February 14, 2011

Great Customer Service Is The Key

Notice I said "great".  Good customer service is nice, but why settle for the standard when you know you can do better?

If there's one thing I've learned from these online handmade venues it's that I can provide customer service above and beyond anything companies and corporations can provide.  Why? Because I'm in charge.  I have control, I decide, I listen, I read, I respond and I take action.

When I had first started selling I wasn't really sure what to do when I made a sale. So I'd pack up the order and ship it out and wait for my feedback.  Then as I started buying items from others I started receiving thank you messages and notes about when the item would be shipped.

I was ecstatic! Wow, now here's something I hadn't thought of. And I came to appreciate and expect those messages.  I also adopted that small yet important service. 

Then, one day I did the scariest thing ever! I mailed out the wrong item for a freebie I had offered.  I received a message and they thanked me, stated it wasn't the same item they expected, but that they were happy to keep it.  OMG, did I really do that?

Yes, I did. I went through my inventory and found out I had mailed out a similar looking item. Oh man, now what?  It wasn't her fault I mailed the wrong item.  I didn't want her to be upset that I messed up. So I apologized, told her to keep the wrong item and would immediately send her the correct one.  Sure, she got the first item for free, but I made a mistake and the only way to make it right was to get her the correct item, for free. 

You're probably asking yourself, "why didn't you have her send back the wrong item?" Well, why should I make her go through all that for something that she had no control over?  No way was I going to make her pack up the item, go to the post office and pay for shipping, just so I could get my stuff back.  It wasn't worth it.  To me it was more important to make her even happier with both items.  I hope she was.

So, what's my point in all this?  Well, I'm sitting here waiting for a replacement item I ordered.  I was shipped the wrong item.  Of course, I didn't want the seller to be out and money, so I offered to send the item back, which they said to do.  But let me tell you how irritated I was with that!  I had hunt for packing tape because I found out I had forgotten to buy more when I used the last roll.  I had to use a purchased shipping label, I had to pay for shipping, and I had to get the package to the post office.  NOT happy, but I tried to be understanding.

That is, until I found out that the returned item has made it back to the seller some three days ago and I still have yet to see my replacement item!

I'm sorry, but that is just a kick in the ass to me.  Sorry for my bad language.  But first of all, they messed up my order, they wanted the wrong item returned, and I have to wait longer to get my item then they did for the return? Really?  And, still no reimbursement for the postage.

Needless to say, I will not buy from them again, no matter how good their prices are.  It would have been very easy to appease me in this situation.  Just a couple little things would have made a huge difference:
  1. Most importantly, pay me ahead of time for shipping PLUS some!!
  2. Ship the replacement item ASAP!
  3. Contact me to let me know when my item has shipped.
Does that sound unreasonable? I didn't think so.  So please, if you sell online it's so incredibly important to take care of the customer.  Little things make a huge difference! Remember: great customer service is the only thing you can offer that will make the difference to most people.


~~Sew Happy Designs~~ said...

Great post Jamie! I agree wholeheartedly about customer service!!

CharmN Jewelry said...

Of course great customer service is a key factor.If the product is good and the servicing done well then no one can stop the business from going great guns.

Gold Charm

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