how to give the type of customer care
you like to receive
by Aileen Wong.
We all want to be a valued customer – someone who is important enough to be listened to and respected.
It feels good when your input is not only heard, but appreciated.
Most of my life, I’ve been the customer. It was only recently, when I started selling my jewelry online, that I began to consider the other side of the buyer-seller relationship.
I began to consider what good customer service consists of and how I might provide the best possible customer care so that one sale might turn into repeat sales!
I sat down and made a list of what I look for in a seller, whether they are a mass chain store or an individual jewelry artist. These are the tenets that I hold dear as a jewelry artist because I know just how important good service can be. Imagine that you are the customer.
Accurate product representation
As a customer, I don’t appreciate being misled, either deliberately or inadvertently.
As a seller, I take photographs that are clear, relatively devoid of props that take the attention away from the item. I take photos from different angles if I can and list all measurements to the best of my knowledge.
I note any inconsistencies in the make-up of the natural gemstones that I use if that is the case, because I know that if the customer doesn’t notice it on the computer screen, they will surely find out once their item arrives in the mail.
Clear sales policies
This includes fabrication time, ship time, returns and or exchanges.
I am careful to spell out every detail of a transaction; nothing is too big or too small to be mentioned. Clear policies can help you to avoid or alleviate any potential problems down the road.
In correspondence, I never write as if I am writing to my best friend from grade school.
No matter how rushed, I always address the person with a “Dear” and end with a “Yours truly” and my signature. Your own style may differ, but the point is to maintain a professional boundary that your customers will appreciate.
Although I do think of my customers as friends, I realize that in my very distinct role as a seller, there are many professional courtesies to be observed.
I respond to all e-mail inquiries within the hour if I can, because any longer than that, I may actually end up forgetting about it altogether.
If I can’t answer right away, I make sure to go through my inbox each evening just to make sure that all e-mails are answered within 24 hours.
This is intertwined with timeliness, but deserves its own category.
I have streamlined my product packaging process and mailing protocol to the point that each package can be assembled in less than 5 minutes (from gift wrap to stamped bubble mailer) and mailed out the following business day.
As a customer, once I make my payment, I expect that the product will arrive in a timely manner.
As a seller, I learned that the greatest roadblock to getting the product to my customer can be the packaging process.
Put everything you need in one location so that you don’t end up forgetting about the order when you are hunting for packing tape – and then get distracted by the many other elements of your life.
Sometimes, I still cannot quite believe that my hobby has turned into a small home business.
I never take an order for granted and will probably close my business if that ever happens. It is so important to feel appreciated as a customer – and as a seller, it takes very little time but can mean a world of difference.
I thank my customers in every bit of correspondence that we exchange, check and double-check my products to ensure quality, pack every order with care and attention to detail, and always send a nice handwritten thank you card to extend my gratitude for their support.
I realize that as an artist, I am nothing without my supporters.
Your customers are your number one fan! Treat them with care and they’ll notice the difference between you and other brands.
In an ideal world, nothing will ever go wrong with a transaction. The customer will love your work and tell you so, refer all of their friends to you, and your business will be a hit.
But in reality, there will be snags that really test your commitment to good quality service.
I had my own episode recently, when a customer had changed her mind and decided that it wasn’t what she had expected. Although I had made every effort to take accurate photos, it wasn’t what she had hoped it would be.
Of course, it saddened me greatly, but then I realized that it wasn’t personal. It’s a matter of business, and every business encounters these moments at one point or another.
I also realized that it was a test of my commitment to these ideals. I followed through on the transaction by referencing my sales policy that did include returns and thanked her for her honesty.
I refunded her the amount as soon as I received the product, then I sent her a little note with a percent off code to thank her for her trouble.
Good customer service never ends, no matter what.
At the end of the day, we are both sellers and buyers.
In the vast marketplace of jewelry arts, we can expect that good customer service is what distinguishes us from the next seller.
For me, the best part is in knowing that it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Think about your own experiences as a buyer. In what ways do you feel valued?
Author Aileen Wong’s Truly Enchanted designs are inspired by the great beauty of the Southwest United States, where artistic inclinations were awakened. Work includes observations of nature, such as the Rain and Planets collections, as well as bridal and everyday wear.