Do you ever open up your inbox only to find an email from a dissatisfied customer?
You first start to think to yourself, “how the heck did that happen??”
How can you possible make this customer happy after the message you've just read?
Many shops have had an experience where a customer wasn't necessarily thrilled about a delayed package, damaged product or questions your handmade items.
The Cranky Customer
I am sure we have all had one… a cranky customer who is seemingly impossible to please.
They have written up a bad review and have tarnished your shiny 5 star rating.
Maybe they are unhappy because an order is taking too long stating “It should have been here by now.”
Perhaps they are dissatisfied with the item they ordered, complaining, “It is much smaller than I expected”.
What is the best approach to handling such an individual?
All too often, I have seen handmade makers reacting in a “knee-jerk” fashion to these types of complaints.
“She did not update her Etsy mailing address and now she expects me to resend her package!
Well, it’s her error, so I am going to have to charge her shipping a second time.”
Or maybe, “It’s not my fault that the shipment has not arrived yet!
I cannot be responsible for USPS delays.
If she needed this item by a certain date, she should have ordered earlier.”
“Did she even read the item description?”
And while we may be right, is this the best way to respond?
Amazing experience = repeat customers
It is our job as makers of handmade products to ensure that the customer’s experience is amazing from start to finish.
We want them to continue to buy handmade and remain loyal to our shops.
A survey conducted by American Express found that 2 out of 3 customers claim that they would be willing to spend more with a business where they have had a positive customer service experience.
Additionally, Kissmetrics reports that 71% of consumers have ended relationships with businesses due to a poor customer service experience.
61% of those people then take their business to a competitor.
A happy customer is a customer who tells friends and coworkers about your product and comes back again and again to purchase from the same shop.
Retaining a loyal customer and preserving your customer base is an easy way to ensure continued business.
Break out the honey jar
So how do we do this?
We treat our customers in a way that we ourselves would want to be treated.
It is just that simple.
Occasionally, this may mean re-sending an item or refunding a purchase.
Have you ever heard the phrase “you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar”?
Break out the honey jar when it comes to disgruntled customers.
In my experience, graciously offering to replace a lost package has earned me loyal customers who have come back two, three, even four times.
Readily accepting a return and issuing a refund to a customer who is dissatisfied with a product can, at the very least, spare your shop a poor review.
Be firm, but flexible
Now, don’t get me wrong here.
I believe that setting clear guidelines about turnaround time, shipping, and refund policies is crucial.
However, there may be occasions where we can make exceptions.
In these cases, customers will find our flexibility and willingness to find a solution to their problem a pleasant surprise.
Take exceptional care of your customers and you can bet that the next time they are looking for the perfect handmade item, your shop will be first on their list!
Holly Sennott has been a successful Etsy shop owner for the past 6 years, is a mother of 3 and the owner of Kooky Critters. She specializes in whimsical keepsake plush Tooth Fairy Pillows, Worry Critters and naptime buddies for your little ones. She has over 15 years of sewing experience as well as 7+ years of customer service know-how. Holly designs her own unique patterns for the Critters she creates.
Visit her and the Critters at www.kookycritters.com
FaceBook - http://www.facebook.com/kookycritters
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