If you missed the Etsy Lab Talk today on how to provide ‘fanatical’ customer service for your Etsy shop, you missed a good time! In the photo above, you can see how many people are in the auditorium. Notice, there is standing room only – every single seat is filled with an Etsy seller (as represented by their square icon). You can see my web cam slightly off to the right of the photo. And in the middle? That’s me, taking a photo of the classroom.
This is the brief introduction I gave, live, via webcam on how to make sure you have great customer service:
These are simple policies that as a one-person, small business, you can do yourself, just starting out:
The ‘About Us‘ Page matters. You need a phone number. An address. An email. Preferably some sort of photo of you that says ‘trust me!’You can put this on your ‘Profile’ on Etsy and on your home page, your ‘Shop Announcement’ could also have contact information.
Customer testimonials are huge to creating trust. They help to build credibility and are a much better selling point than you trying to convince people to buy your stuff. Testimonials need to be specific, not edited and ideally, have a link to the product that the customer is talking about. You can put your customer testimonials on the individual product pages, your policies pages or your ‘shop announcement’ section.
You need clearly defined policies that you do not deviate from, except in favor of the customer. If you want to get return customers and want to have people come back again and again, you need to meet their expectations and do what you say you are going to do.
My number one, be-all, end-all for customer service – where everything flows from and where, in my opinion, you should start from is accountability. Do you do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it?
As a one person shop and as a struggling small business, you may be sitting there saying ‘But, Anne-Marie, I can’t do the 24 hour order turnaround like Bramble Berry does. I can’t answer the phone all day, pack my own boxes, answer all the emails and still have time to make stuff!’ And, I’m not saying you need to do this. I’m saying that you need to have clear policies that properly keep your customers informed about what your standards are.
If you can’t ship packages until Friday of every week, clearly state that. If you answer emails within 3 business days and not 1, clearly state that. In my experience, customers are okay with that – as long as they know it. And, on the Accountability side, that also means that when you tell a customer you’re going to get back to them, you need to deliver each and every time.
Some of the things we do at Bramble Berry (that you can do too), we’ve done from the beginning:
Thank yous on every invoice, in every box. I am genuinely amazed, delighted and thrilled when a customer orders from us. I don’t take it lightly.
Hand written notes to random customers throughout the month. Every month, I try to write at least 3 to 5 thank-you notes to customers that stood out to me. They might have stood out because they commented on our blog. They might have stood out because of the way they interacted with us. But, just a simple snail mail note goes a long way to keeping a customer for a lifetime
Free samples. Not all of the sellers on Etsy sell products that will allow for free samples. But if you do sell products that have an option for a free sample, it’s a great way to say ‘thank you’ in every box, potentially sell more products but most importantly, amaze and delight the customer. Remember, this doesn’t have to be something you sell – it could even be a cool sticker to differentiate yourself – but anything that makes the customer sit up, take notice of you and be thankful that they ordered from you.
Those are all things I did, even when I was the ‘little guy’ – a one woman operation in a 400 square foot warehouse.
Now, since we’ve grown and I have more time because I’m not personally packing all the boxes at BrambleBerry, I am able to do a few more things that really allow for increased, fanatical customer service:
Run a forum at http://www.teachsoap.com/ where I can interact with customers and newbies alike
Do this daily blog at http://www.soapqueen.com/
Have fun video tutorials at http://www.soapqueen.tv/
Twitter and stay connected all the time to customers.
Ultimately, providing great customer service is all about creating a relationship. Letting customers into the backroom at Bramble Berry, so to speak, with our Twitter, blog, forums and soapqueen.tv is just one more way of helping to foster and create that relationship.