Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Still Harping on Customer Service

I know I sound like a broken record lately but I'm amazed that in a relatively small sector business, one that is so close knit, it's almost incestuous, that a vendor can afford to treat anyone poorly.

The frit vendor (there, that narrows the curiosity down to less than 10) I've been dealing with is a crystal clear vision of how NOT to treat customers!

Things to consider:

1) Your receipts and letterhead - is your contact info on there? It should be! Make it easy for customers to contact you!

2) Email - Do you answer it promptly??? You better! Someone may order from you once but if they feel ignored, they will shop elsewhere.

3) Problems - Do you address them head on or ignore it? See #2.

4) Shipping confirmation - Do you send these to your customers? USPS will do it if you add the customer's email. Paypal also does it. Artfire allows you to post the number into your customer notes, which the customer sees. All of this reassures the customer that the package is coming.

5) Processing orders - Do you fill them fast or take your time? All sorts of issues here. It's ILLEGAL to take money before you ship but Paypal suggests turning orders around in three days. A few days is forgivable...weekends, holidays, lots of orders... things happen. More than that is NOT.

6) Out of Stock / Custom work - If something is out of stock, how do you handle it? If you make the item you sell to long does it take to ship it? Again, you can get into murky legal water here. If you can't ship that order in three days or less, you MUST let the customer know AND give them the option of a refund or waiting. If they opt to wait, to protect yourself, keep a copy of the email where they say that they are willing to do that.

With custom work, I never take payment upfront unless there is a large outlay of cash. Then I ask for a deposit against final payment.

There's a lot to think about with good customer service but it's not that hard! Bottom line, how would YOU like to be treated if the shoe were on the other foot?

1 comment:

ocmist said...

This is good info to know. Thanks for writing it out and sharing it. I've been thinking about doing so selling on Etsy and not just on Ebay.