Hi all! Yeesh, what a crazy week this has been and it's only Tuesday!
Thanks so much to everyone who popped into the Etsy Virtual Labs classroom last Thursday to listen to me talk about customer service. I had a great time speaking and I hope everyone learned a lot. For those who missed out the lecture and the question/answer session, here's a brief recap of what we discussed:
-Your customer service skills set you apart from big business as well as from other small businesses who might be doing something similar. You should strive to create an overall positive experience for your buyers, from the moment they enter your shop until the happy moment when they receive their order.
-Sure you're a brand, but you're also a person, so let that shine through in your customer service communication with buyers.
-Be proactive and try to answer any possible questions in your items listings and store policies. Remember, not every person is going to contact you to get the measures of the great item you have listed, some might just go elsewhere to find the item. Be as specific as possible without being overwhelming. Lists and bullet points are good.
-Make every effort to respond to emails/convos within 24-48 hours. If you don't, your not inspiring buyer confidence that you will do anything else in a timely manner.
-Also take a few minutes each day to send your own order confirmation emails. Even though Etsy sends one, you can use your own brief email to add a personal touch, thank the buyer, confirm their order and let them know when it will ship. You can also link to your newsletter or blog so the customer can stay updated on your new work.
-Sending a confirmation email helps to open the lines of communication, so if there is a problem with the order, you can feel more comfortable contacting the buyer.
-Don't spam your buyers with a ton of emails.
-Don't add your buyers to your mailing list without their permission.
-Be friendly and conversational, but always mind your grammar and spelling.
-Be nice. A little kindness will take you a long way, especially when trying to resolve a trouble situation with a customer. Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated.
-Be honest. Don't fib about the availability of items or about when an item was shipped. People appreciate honesty, even if the truth hurts a bit. I'm sure your buyer would rather know well in advance that your item won't arrive in time for Christmas.
-Just walk away. If you receive a particularly irksome email/convo, don't answer right away. Just take a few minutes/hours to calm down and then sit down to write your response with a clear head. It's much easier to diffuse a situation when you're able to just be nice.
-Don't be afraid to apologize and empathize with your customers. Even if the problem isn't exactly your fault, an apology always helps.
-Provide your customer with options. When you run into a problem, give your customer a couple of different options instead of forcing a solution on them. Everyone likes choices, right?
-And finally, don't be afraid to say no. If it's something you just can't do, then say no, but say it nicely and take the time to explain.
To read more of my customer service tips check out this article I wrote for Modish BizTips and as always, if you have questions, please contact me!