Customer Service is Key
I worked my entire outside-the-home career in customer service, from entry level all the way up, and I still believe in the slogan, “the customer is always right.” Don’t get me wrong, there will always be “those” customers that push your buttons BUT, for the most part, I believe most customers are willing to try to let you work things out. I think there are certain things a customer looks for, that will put you at the top of their “recommended” list, and below are my top 3 picks.
- Return phone calls and emails….in a timely manner (I say within 24 hours is best.) We’re all busy, and I sometimes struggle with this too. I put off the emails that will take more than a minute to answer, but sometimes they get forgotten about. The ones I answer within 12-24 hours almost always thank me for the quick response. It makes a big difference, especially because customer service seems to be a dying art these days.
- Offer to help your customers – If you’re a pattern designer, please, PLEASE offer to help your customers! Almost half the emails I get are from people looking for help with patterns from other designers, because the designer won’t get back to them!! This makes me sad. If you’re taking others people’s money, I believe it’s your duty to help them figure out how to make the pattern work.
- Offer a refund – Many may not agree with me, but I’m going to stand by this. I get about half a dozen emails a year with people telling me they purchased my pattern and then realized it wasn’t a finished item. I even get some saying they just want a refund because they couldn’t figure it out (even when I give ratings on them.) I could say, “Sorry, you already received your download” but instead I choose to refund them. Why? Because I believe people genuinely make mistakes. Do I ever get someone who’s not being honest? Probably, but I’m willing to take that chance. If you’re selling finished items, and you have a difficult customer who isn’t happy, you can always offer to remake the item. If they still aren’t happy, I would still offer a refund. You may hesitate on this, but that may be all it takes to make the customer happy and get you a glowing referral.
Remember, bad word spreads fast than any referrals, or glowing reviews. And it spreads even faster now that we have social media. I’m a firm believer that a little extra goes a long way.