As a small craft business you have to wear many hats! You need to be the crafters, the managers, the admin, the picking & packing team, the marketing & social media team and one of the most important hats of all – you need to be the customer service department.
Having outstanding customer service could be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors so its really important to get it right. Here’s a few top tips on how to avoid and resolve potential customer issues.
- Listening & Understanding – Let customers explain their issues and take them seriously. Customers reach out to be heard. So listen and put yourself in their shoes so that you can understand their feelings.
- Professionalism – ALWAYS remain professional. Customer complaints can be frustrating and sometimes really hurtful. Especially online – there’s a lot of trolls out there. But no matter how hard a customer is slamming you with complaints & negativity, never react. Remember that anything you type could be screenshot and spread across social media. So don’t give an angry customer any ammunition.
- Compromise! Whether its to resolve an issue, or to prevent an issue. Compromise can really help diffuse a situation. Example – “I’m so sorry that your product is delayed, please accept this 20% discount for the inconvenience.”
- Timely Responses. Never leave your customers waiting for a reply. It could cost you an order (if the customer is inquiring), or it could fuel a customers frustrations if they are reporting an issue. Even if you need to take some time review their order, check stock levels, or to plan our response to an already angry customer its important that you still let that customer know they have been heard. “Thank you for getting in contact with us, we are very sorry for any inconvenience. Let me take a look at your order form and we will see how we can resolve this issue for you.”
- Correct Customers in the RIGHT way. Customers aren’t always right – that well used phrase has been greatly misinterpreted for years! But when it comes to correcting a customer who’s misunderstood its important to take a gentle approach. “I’m very sorry that the item you’ve received is not what you were expecting, I have just checked your order form and the item I have provided does match the specifications you detailed at the time of ordering.”
- Always Apologise! Even if you feel like you’ve done nothing wrong. It isn’t about you, its about your customer and avoiding a bad review.
- Honesty! Own your mistakes! This can actually help you build a huge amount of respect with customers. It’s okay to make mistakes, we are only human, but admit to it. Never try to pass blame.
- Prevention & Precaution – Running late on an order? Contact the customer BEFORE they contact you! Explain the situation and apologise for any delay and inconvenience. Customer will really appreciate being kept in the loop and most of the time will be absolutely fine about it.
- Last Impressions – Just as important as first impressions! Do your absolute best to make sure that your customers want to return to you.