Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Excellent Customer Service - a necessity

How do you stand out in the midst of your competition when the economy is influencing how your potential customers are spending their dollars?

There are several ways:
  • Have an Excellent Product
  • Have a Competitive Price Point
  • Excellent Photos ( I'm working on this myself)
  • Get the word out! advertise, promote, twitter, blog, etc
  • Have Excellent Customer Service
  • Ask for Referrals
  • Offer services that your competition doesn't
  • Communicate with past customers
  • Offer a special for returning customers
  • ___________ (fill in the blank)__
I'm sure there are many more things to be added to this list. I participated in the Etsy Chat room the other night, something called the 5 minutes FS.... What is the 'FS' mean? It stands for "Featured Seller". For 5 minutes you get to promote and everyone in the chat visits your shop, views your products and helps promote you, andhopefully sales result from your time in the spotlight. I was in the FS position twice that night and I did have 1 sale, along with many new hearts and potential customers that had never viewed my shop before.

One comment I received was regarding my number of sales. I have had over 2600 sales on Etsy in the past year. In fact next month is my 1 year Etsy anniversary, which I will be celebrating with special deals!

Many asked what I did to get such a high number of sales. I gave them the list that I have posted above. I also mentioned that my sales where quite high before Christmas and things have slowed down since the first of the year, as they have for everyone. I also have seen in many forum threads that historically February is the slowest month of the year. That is good information to have as well.

What can you do when things are quiet?
  • Promote, advertise, blog, twitter, chat, etc
  • Create new designs, new product lines
  • Get organized
  • Prepare a plan for this years sales
  • Work on enhancing your photos (this is what I'm doing)
  • Enhance your Customer Service
  • ____(fill in the blank)_______
Excellent Customer Service is extremely important to the health and longevity of your business. Customers are not purchasing just a product that is handmade. They are purchasing the craft of the artisan that created that product and they want to 'feel' the energy of the artisan when they purchase. Excellent customer service includes the beautiful packaging and timely shipping as well as the email confirmation, thanking them for their order and assuring that it will be shipped promtly. Also, that customer service is continued in the packaging, by including a personalized note, instructions for the care of the product if required, etc.

Customer Service continues beyond the purchase and initial shipment. It is extended to any further communications with the customer, especially if they have difficulty with their shipment, with USPS delivery, etc. I make it a priority to make sure each of my customers is satisfied and happy with their purchase and experience of shopping handmade with Jesse Janes. If I lose money on a sale in order to rectify a shipping problem or any other difficulty, I generally create a return customer because they appreciate my prompt attention and the fact that I go out of my way to assist them. I call this "Excellent Customer Service". It pays off in the long run. It's better to have a custmer who returns several times and tells their friends and family to shop with you, rather than have an unhappy customer who will never return, leave unhappy feedback and possibly share that experience with others.

How could you improve your customer service?

1 comment:

tkdesigns4u said...

This is wonderful advice! I too believe in excellent customer service!