How to Take Customer Service Up A Notch
So let's, move on to this next section here of how to get those repeat customers. Seventy percent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they're being treated. So I go back to my analogy of that restaurant, right? If the wait staff don't do a good job with their route to you, they're slow to perform. If they're slow to get to you, you're probably not going to come back or at least I know a lot of people don't or won't. So in this section here, we're going to be talking about customer service stuff, ok? And I know this can be kind of a hot topic it's really subjective, but I'm going to share with you some of the best practices I've used in my own business, and it has worked out really well, so some customer service essentials for you amazing customer service brings past customers back to shop with you again and again. When customers know that they can depend and rely on you, they're going to keep coming back to you for more of their shopping, especially if you sell so...
mething that that they don't have to buy just for one time, if you can connect with your customers on that level regard. When I mean customer service, I don't just mean by when they send you an email and how you how you interact with them, but I mean, in social media standards, how do you interact with your fans? So if you provide your fans, if you provide your customers a great experience shopping with you, they're going to learn toe like you, they're going to learn to trust you and that card ability will build on itself in marketing there's this huge thing with how someone who is someone who is going to buy from you needs to first know you like you and trust you. And that has always been true. If they don't know, you won't feel they don't know use there's not going to find you and buy stuff from you, but if they don't like you, they're also not going to buy from you. And if they don't trust you, they don't trust that if they buy something from you that you're going to ship it on time, they don't trust that you're not going to just steal their money. When you give people amazing customer service, you're spreading word of mouth about your shop when you give them an amazing customer service experience, as I mentioned before, loyalty needs to be earned. And otherwise, people will start shopping at places that are cheaper than you and or who's shipping is faster than you, and they won't have any incentive to come back to your shop. So some of these customer service mindsets that I want to be sure we're all on the same page with I'm in a lot of facebook groups where everyone's talking about ok what this customer said to me today, and this is how I handled it and I'm always like, no, no, you should have said that, and this is how you should sit instead. So let's talk about some of the customer service mindset I believe you should have in you could take my advice or you can leave it it's totally up to you first and foremost, be personable, be friendly and warm to build connections with customers so no corporate speak and what I mean by this is you. I don't know if you write like this. I've met some people who write like this. I used to write like this. My tagline was expertly crafted scented food, jewelry and it's just expertly crafted this talk, right? Like you would talk in person, so a great way to do that in a practical way is used I instead of me. If if it's just you, that is right there's no reason why you should kind of fake it that like there's more than just you if it's just you just stay I and that is a lot more transparent to people and people like that so use contractions instead of I am going to I'm going to it's a lot I've seen people writing like this and I'm not saying that this is like just this is how you should write period, but I'm saying in general, if your emails can be transformed in these easy ways, your e mails are going to start sounding a lot more friendly and a lot more kind of like you're just talking to a friend so don't try to use to big words no corporate speak don't try to impress people in that way I think at some point in marketing a small business there used to be some talk about how like you have to be professional and yes professional to certain extent respectful to a certain extent but that doesn't mean you have to be boring. That doesn't mean you have to be solis you know you have character, you have personality show that through e mails when it comes to customer service, keep your promises if someone asks if you could ship something faster and if you say you can you better make sure you do everything you can to make teo, keep your promise and ship when you say you will ship or do whatever it is they've asked you to do and when you said when you promised you said you would do that and this is a great concept that I learned from mike mccallum, wits and his great book the pumpkin plan I really recommend everyone to read it may not necessarily be entirely targeted to small business owners, but definitely a lot of tips we can take away as well. But a great concept that he introduces in this book is in giving people great customer service amazing customer service under promise and overdeliver. So to give you a really concrete example on my own web site because all of my jewelry and for those of you guys who are joining us, you're not familiar with who I am. I make a line of scented food jewelry at tiny hands online dot com it's little necklaces and charms that look and smell like food. So because of the nature of it all being handmade incented they all have to be made to order. So I only create the item when an order has been placed for the item. So as you can imagine, that will take time to do and then shipping on top of that takes an extra so in so days, so on the check out page, what I like to do and pretty much everywhere I plastered everywhere my made to order policy it will take two weeks at least or at a maximum for us to make our your jewelry for you two weeks is a long time it's a long time especially in today's standards where amazon's shipping in like two to three business days I tell my customers two weeks but we almost always ship in less time than that and we normally always ship three days after we get the order because even though I say it's need to order we started building inventory and we started keeping stock so that once we get that order the customer is expecting it in at least two weeks later but we're able to ship it so much faster and to the customer that's a great feeling when they're expecting their order to come through weeks after they place it but when they get it in the mail the week after they're like wow that's really fast shipping and so if you're able to in some way please your customer like that and delight them like that they're going to remember you so much more they're going to be like they're going to talk to their friends about you. So think of some ways for example, if you're doing commission art if you're doing custom art work, if you're a graphic designer and making a logo for someone, give yourself a ten percent bufferin estimations and you know, give you a quote on the high side your quote for your timeline or the quote for how much it is to be and then you make it less than that and you know your program gives them give it to them faster give it to them less than what you had quoted for. For example, I also want you to remember that it's not personal when you get those angry e mails when you get that negative feedback just remember it is not personal it's almost always the case that someone else has a bad day and they're just taking it out on you and it's not fair but that's just how people are a great way that I found for you too if you know it's easy to say it's not personal yeah, but how do I make it not personal a great way I thought and I had to learn this the hard way it took several years, but if you can separate yourself from your shop and pretend that you're just an employee and the product is kind of the boss, the product is the face of your brand. But you were just the employees that makes answering e mails and answering angry customers a lot easier because when we can separate ourselves from the product and think about the customer in that way we can empathize a lot better and we can we can then deliver a more stellar customer service experience to our customers. This is a general rule, but in most cases when you can respond quickly even on social media, that's half the battle and they think this is kind of unfortunate because a lot of really big box e commerce stores the's days kind of like amazon, they're raising the benchmark to what constitutes as fast, right? So like fast shipping in our in our time now it's like overnight shipping, they get stuff tio in in this little time is one to two business days, so that sets the benchmark for us. We have to compete with that because all the people out there have that expectation that that is what fast shipping means the same thing goes with fast customer service responses. If you don't answer email in two to three in twenty four hours or in forty eight hours, it used to be that maybe five years ago that was totally acceptable people people were used to not receiving emails back until forty eight hours until the next week, even because of everyone's on their phones. These days everyone is connected. People are expecting a response in less than twenty four hours, even it's so funny they're all these people posting screenshots of all of these customers upset with them upset with this business owner because they didn't respond in six hours and that's just I think that's just how all of these other big e commerce stores are really setting the ground rules for us here and there's no reason why a small business owners why we can't play by those rules so really empathize and be on your customers side so I know it's a small business or you have to protect yourself but whenever you can help your customers to the best of your ability really go all out for them a big thing here is if you goof up just apologize just own up just fess up your customers will love you more when you do that then if you were to try to make excuses and don't do the whole I'm sorry but blank blank blank because that discounts or apology just say you're sorry say you screwed up if you screwed up and really go above and beyond to fix issues even when it's not your fault so really common case scenario here is when your packages go missing it's not your fault because it's u s s p s his fault it's not your customer's fault but now they don't have their package and you don't have a happy customer so what can you do about that it's really for me it's in built into my pricing I can send them a new product back out it hurts I'm still making a profit but at least my customers happy and they have what they bought and that's one reason why it's important for you to price your products correctly if you guys have heard have you guys heard of apples right? The big box store it started out selling shoes so the founder tony shade I wrote this book called delivering happiness and in it he talks about how is apple's as a company they have this huge budget I and I don't know if it's huge but they have a budget set aside just for customer service problems like this that that come up so in that way make sure you're pricing correctly the profit if you're if you're not using that profit to spend on these mishaps at least its profit for you and you're supporting yourself as an artist so for people who make products that air completely commissions completely one off would be a good idea to kind of add an additional insurance in case it gets lost because there wouldn't be another like picture of your kid that I painted waiting in the wings yeah yeah so definitely in those instances where if you spent that much time on it if it's that one piece definitely add insurance for it and if it's something that you can do to just do it all over again I mean your customers really that's really special to them if you could do it all over again I mean yeah it's goingto take hours for you it's not your problem but imagine how your customer will feel right? Thanks for that question have you ever heard of the nordstrom story as well with how they take returns for anything at all and there's this one guy that went out there to test this he bought a bunch of tires from a bunch from a different store and he went to nordstrom to return tires and they don't even sell tires and they took it and they gave him his money that they don't even know him but they did it they I know it's just I'm not saying that you do that that's very unsustainable don't do that but and I don't think people are going to do that honestly, I've had people who have come to my shop thinking I was someone else so I guess it can happen but you know, how can you really give amazing customer service to people when you're dealing with upset people? Sometimes half the battle is that people just want to be acknowledged they just want someone to know that you're there listening that you understand their frustration is that you know what they're going through because you've been through it yourself so great way to actually spell it out to them is just you start off with saying or you in somewhere in your email to an angry customer I know it feels frustrating that your packaged and arrive on time here's what we can do and just acknowledging that kind of simmers down there, their anger a little bit and it really helps this is the really big one that I want to point out too is don't be so quick to offer a refund people want to do business with you people want your products, they bought it for a reason they were willing to part with their money for a reason. So before you before refund, ask how you can help offer solutions offer suggestions to how you can make the experience better offered to send an exchange offered to send them a free product, whatever it is that you can do, do it and last worst case scenario, I don't even ask for a refund until I figure out that this person really you can't help them and all, then I would be when you just wouldn't. You would be happier with the refund, aiken gladly do that. I'll do that for you right away, but I found that if you offer refund without asking, people can be upset with that. They be like I didn't ask for a refund. I just want a new product, so don't jump the gun and go straight to offering a refund offer suggestions ahead of first before you get to this refund phase. Think of some ways of how you can treat your best customers, so if you have already in business for a while, or even if you haven't any of you had that customer who placed a huge order with you, think of how you can make their experience a little bit more special, maybe for the order, add a little extra, a little free gift or something, or maybe write an extra special note to them or send them a personal email thanking them for their experience for their shop for their purchase. What I've done in the past year actually was christmas time. I tallied up about ten of my best customers, people who have spent like thousands of dollarsworth, assented food, jewelry. I don't know how they're wearing it or where they're wearing and where they're putting it just I don't ask questions, they pay me money, I just send them stuff, but so I made a list of my ten best customers, and I ordered them by largest, largest paying customer, and then I set aside a small budget for each one. For how much money I would spend on buying them a gift for christmas and so the logical sense the logical step is that I went toe etc I looked up all of these bakers and food makers on etsy like brownies, cupcakes and a jar brownie mixes lollipops, candy things like that and then I bought them stuff in a ship that directly to them so little things like that if you can and this is all still again built into that pricing if a customer has spent twenty five hundred dollars in jewelry in one year I can spend forty dollars on buying her really cute or really nice christmas gift so something with something small like that is going to go a long way they're going to remember you they're going to tell their friends like oh my god this is why I got in the mail today and I didn't know I didn't buy this is just this company sending me a gift no one else does that or very few people do that so that's a great way for you to stand out to do a little bit more for your customers and to take that a step further this is a really interesting fact but eighty percent of your income is going to come from twenty percent of your customers and this is another one from mike mcalary is from his pumpkin plan and it's called also the peredo pareto principle and you'll see this everywhere in life where eighty percent of some over results is going to come from twenty percent off this effort so even with marketing eighty percent of your income is going to come from twenty percent off your marketing efforts, so why are we like to do with that? And knowing that is to really figure out who those twenty percent of my customers are, what twenty percent off those marketing efforts are really contributing to eighty percent off my income and then focus on that twenty percent so let's talk about some common scenarios for customer service issues gone awry lost packages I talked about this briefly this happens a lot honestly with usps I know some people are like I hate usps they always lose my packages I think it's a very small percentage yes, they do lose packages occasionally but they are still especially for if you're shipping smaller things they are the best option they're cheap, they're pretty cheap compared to fedex and d h l and everything else out there and they're pretty fast honestly when people ask me to shit d h l I have to pay more and they have to wait longer it's really strange how that works? Maybe they're more reliable maybe that's why it's more expensive but with lost packages built that into your pricing make sure you're having profit times two and then times two again after you get hold still you want multiply that by two to get your retail that buffer will help you pay for shipping again will help you pay for the making that product again so you can ship it out to your customers needy customers if you do custom work, if you do commissions and if you have people that for some reason it just takes them one hundred back and forth emails to get to something, just be patient with them, just be patient with them served them the best you can try to avoid sending them off to somewhere else or to google or to read your thank you. So even if someone asked you a question that was in your attic, you, maybe you have an faa, we couldn't we ask questions page on your website, resist the temptation to tell them the answer is in there were f q just give them the answer right? Just tell them what it is because you're making them do the extra work off going to your web site of checking out what what, frequently asked question where that answer is, you can just tell them, tell them take that extra time to tell them they're going to appreciate that, and when you make a mistake, just own up and offer suggestions for how to do for how to make things better, so of very concrete example actually just happened recently was I had a customer who placed a large order and he was an international customer and he wanted the fastest shipping internationally, so that was like forty dollars on shipping alone to do express mail and that would arrive somewhere between three to five business days, so he needed his order quickly. My packaging assistant becky, she does all of my shipping work and for some reason, somewhere along the way there was probably some miscommunication, and instead of shipping out express mail, she ship it out first class mail and what happened was my customer got the email with the tracking number, and when he clicked on the tracking, he was able to see that this didn't get shipped out express, which was what he paid for. So of course I get this email from him saying, what happened? I asked for express mail, I paid the extra fee for it. Why is it on its way to me on first class it's not going to arrive on time? So the first thing I would do is I would apologize in people make mistakes. It was a human error I'm sorry it happened and offer him what you can, what suggestions you can you can take to make things better, so to suggestions I had for him if you really didn't need it on if you if you're okay with it arriving at a later date, I can refund you the difference and shipping or if you really needed to arrive on time, I'll send you a whole package all over again with the right with the right shipping feet with the right shipping service and once you receive the original package, refuse it so that it will get sent back to me and just from that email and he's, he said he wanted me to send it out to him again, which I gladly did and I did right away because it needed to ship you need to ship on time and he was so happy with that experience and he was like, you give great customer service I'll tell all my friends about you, bob all along do what you can to make your customer happy and if you smell us up, how can you fix it if it means spending an extra two hours to get together your order if it means sleeping a little bit later, I'm the kind of person that I will do it. I mean it's different for everyone you can set your own ground rules for how far you want to take customer service for example, if you choose not to reply to emails over the weekend because you know, work life balance, maybe of a family you have kids that's fine. That's absolutely fine. I can respect that your customers will respect that as long as you set those ground rules for yourself. Some other common scenarios is questions about your process. I don't know if as makers, if you get this as much as I do, I have so many people coming to me. How do you do this? How do you send your products? How do you how did your business get so big companies? How did you get all these sales? It's really interesting when people asked these questions, they don't necessarily want the exact answer that that that you would typically give them if you were to sit down and actually walk them through. This is how ag did it exactly. So when I do craft shows, this is my number one question. How do you send your julie? How is the sentence what's really interesting is some mornings when I'm setting up, I'm still like I'm still asleep, like don't bug me, you know? But they come and ask questions like, how do you do this? And so I'm still a little bit grown be so I tell them like it's a it's a trade secret I'm sorry, I can't tell you these people walk, they storm right away. They're like oh negative response you said no you're not going to tell me they just walked right off they didn't even say anything they didn't smell it me they just stormed off they were obviously upset and I'm not exaggerating they just the next person that came by to ask I said oh yeah I just use fragrance oils and I put it in the polymer clay and that's that's all it is is just fragrance oils number one that's not exactly the answer to the question that's not how I sent the jewelry I do have kind of a trade secret way it's not patented but I do have a way that I don't really like to share with people you know I'm protective of that secret but justin giving them that positive answer they're that much more likely to be like oh my god that's genius like always like that and they hang out a little bit more they smell the stuff they look at the jewellery but justin reframing your answers even that in itself is giving people a different experience right? So another another thing that you might get I know I'm in a group of full time at sea crafters and just a shout out to this group full time etc crafters really close knit community off a bunch of us different sc crafters who have been on that c for a long time and who do this full time but they get a lot of questions, people asking them because you can see how the sales they've gotten right on etc they get a lot of questions from people where they're asking like, how can you can you tell me how you made that many sales I want to sell a nazi to I want to make sales to and so a great way to answer to that even if you don't really want to like spell out exactly all of those ways take customer avatar profile make sure pricings right make sure talks right instead of spelling all out for them I'm not saying you do that but you can tell them that oh yeah I definitely takes time but here's a really great resource for you go to creative haif co dot com right? So give them some sort of positive answer give them some direction that's all they really want that's all they would we need in dealing with negative feedback there might be if on etc for example, if you wake up one day and suddenly you have an extra piece of feedback on your shop and it's like one star or two stars or not even like even four stars is not five stars so that's something that can cause concern sometimes people don't realize that they can talk to you before they leave a review in order to sort things out so they might right straight away, they're going to ufc shop. They're going to leave, you review it and it's a negative review and you just wake up twin it's a surprise and you're wondering, like, why didn't they talk to me about this? I could have fixed this. I could have helped them through this problem, so even though it already happened, definitely go back right away, go send a message to this customer, send them an email, tell them that you can help them out and then in dealing with derogatory customers in a lot of ways, I'm telling you to just bend over backwards for your customers, right? But no, I'm not I'm not exactly advocating for you to do that. There are occasions where you we'll encounter people who are just abrasive, who were just plain out mean and rude and disrespectful and who feel like just because they had about they day that they can take it out on other people when you come across, people like that be assertive, be polite, be objective, but if you absolutely need to be, if you absolutely need to offer them a refund split ways, split connections just stopped the conversation. There will save you from all of those negative emotions because you're like, what did I do to make you sort set it's not you it's nothing you did because the first thing you're probably gonna think it's like what did I do to make this person so upset? What can I do better? What? What exactly happened here? Chances are ninety nine percent of the time it was nothing you did even so you have a question? What about discounts always being asked for discounts? My items can cost up toe over a thousand dollars but you're asking for special order a special color special size and then a special price should be charging more right? Yeah and I get asked that a lot too is do you have discounts or do you have an ongoing promotion and I would just say I don't have a discount going on right now and if you need to know if you want you can just stop there I'm sorry I don't have a discount going I don't have a promotion going on right now if you absolutely feel like you want to, you can even just spell it out to them these take a lot, you know tell them about your process. Sometimes people ask things well, sometimes people ask things just to see if you do it, so even if they know you take a long time to do it, they'll just ask just to see if you might do it but then there are other people out there who they may not know that you take the time to cut this paper, to put together your flowers, and it takes a long time to put it together. So maybe sometimes just spelling it out to them and just saying, you don't have a discount going on right now. That's always worked for me, and in being in answering them in a nice and polite way, but still being assertive with that, you're not going to give out a discount. Yeah, I have something to add to that as somebody who's worked in customer service for a really long time, sometimes saying something like, is there a specific budget that you need to work within that kind of trigger, a different way of people thinking, yeah, that's, a great idea. Thanks for sharing that.