Hi there! My name is Krissy and I am so happy to be a guest blogger here at the Craft Cafe blog!
I am the owner of PiixlWix Candle Company, the home of fine fragrance and candles that ROCK. I am also a full time hair stylist/make up artist in Leavenworth, Wa. So, because I run 2 small businesses, customer service, above all else, IS my biz.
(That's me and my candles that ROCK!)
These tips can also be applied to other aspects of your business, but I am going to focus mostly how to give your customers in your Craft Cafe shop not only an awesome product, but to have an awesome online buying experience as well. Let's call it "The Whole Shebang". Don't you want that too when you use your hard earned money to buy something? I know I do. I always want that whole darn shebang!
I hope these tips will help you deliver that Whole Shebang experience to your customers and keep them coming back for more.
Lets get started!
1. Believe in yourself and what it is that you make.
Try and know everything you can about your craft. Care enough about what you do to be as much of an expert as you can in your field.
It will make answering customer questions second nature and instill trust in your customers or potential customers. An excellent experience begins with trust. Trust your knowledge and your customers will trust you.
2. Let the customer know who you are.
Online purchasing can be a little impersonal. Personalize it by completing your profile page and let them know that there is a person behind your shop front. Also add your thoughts on how you care for them as a customer. Treat your store front message as if you had a brick and mortar shop and they are a customer walking through your door. You are brilliant! You have added to the tapestry of the universe with your amazing craft and tell the people all about it!!
3. Make it easy for customers to shop with you.
Take amazing pictures. Provide complete details and product information in your listings. Use every descriptive word you can(get that thesaurus out!) to make your product something to fall in love with. The better you describe your lovely item, the more that potential customer is going to trust YOU. Be sure that the delivered product either is or closely reflects(if you produce more than one of a kind items) what they fell in love with in your listing. Always include a business card with EVERY order. Be sure to include your Craft Cafe url on your business card. Make it as easy as possible for them to return to your shop for more of your awesomeness.
*side note: we will soon have a complete blog entry on how to take the most wonderful, shop worthy, customer grabbing pics ever*
4. Be prompt in answering questions.
This again is a customer trust thing. Quick responses help customers trust your business and your professionalism. Thinking of your shop as a real live store that you can walk right into will help you with this. Can you imagine if you were in a shop and needed to know if there was a certain ingredient in that hand cream you just loved the smell of, and the shop owner could not answer your question until they had taken a shower and walked the dog and had a second cup of coffee? You would shop for that hand cream elsewhere. And that is what potential customers do if their questions are not answered in a timely manner. They are clicking away on other shops and products. Be quick like a fox!!!
5. Ship orders quickly.
Customers know they are shopping online. They know they have to wait for shipping. You know they don't really want to wait. So don't make them. Get those orders out! If you make custom items, communicate to the customer when they can expect shipment and stick to it. It is a deadline that you have set for yourself, so meet it. In any shopping experience, customers want as close to instant gratification as they can get.
6. Go the extra mile.
A customer needs an item they are going to give as a gift shipped today? Try your darndest to get that baby out to them. Someone wants something gift wrapped? Use a simple stamp to dress up a piece of kraft shipping paper to wrap it in. Include a hand written note that is separate from your business card and the invoice(that should always be included with their item). Those hand written thank you notes are a little, unexpected treat that personalizes a purchase. They are not going to get that when buying from a large retailer. That is what makes handmade different. Try and meet your customers needs as best as you can at all times. Do it out of love for your craft and gratitude for your customer. Plain and simple.
7. Always give the customer the benefit of the doubt.
GASP!!!! There is an issue with your perfect product? The size wasn't right? The color was not what they thought it would be? The fragrance made them sneeze? From time to time you may encounter some trouble. That is normal in business and that is part of customer service. Showing concern with what concerns them is the first step to smoothing out that little bump in the handmade road. Then put yourself in their shoes. Think to the last time you had trouble with a purchase you made and got excellent customer service that helped you resolve your issue. Even though you may have been annoyed that those jeans maybe didn't wash as well as expected, the smile and courteous words of the person helping you made driving back to the store in the rain and traffic a little bit better and, hey, you got an iced mocha latte frappa-whatever on the way. And you got a different pair of jeans that you won't wash on extra hot this time. That is what YOU do. Deliver resolution to a problem with a smile, courteous words, humble attitude, and a frappa-frappa(if you can swing it). Customers are just looking to have their needs met, like you. So do it.
8. Be social on Social Media.
WOOOSH! And there went the post that you spent 15 minutes of your life on. Social media happens fast. As fast as you can scroll on a smart phone. It is truly the best place to interact with your customers and fans. And you do have them. Engage them. Not only post about your latest and greatest, ask them what they think. Do THEY like the color? What do THEY think about the new name you came up with for the most awesome fragrance ever? What did THEY cook for their families for dinner? Make it light and fun. Please try your hardest to refrain from talking about what has bothered you on that day. Reserve that for your personal page and try and keep your business page and your personal page separate. Your customers want to know you but, they want to know you and your lovely business that they are going to go browse to unwind from THEIR hectic, crazy, jeans returning, day. Distract them with your handy dandy crochet wash cloths that will get their dishes cleaner or your giveaway that they might win by answering a silly question. They will love you for it.
9. Thank you goes a long way.
Gratitude. Humbleness. Thank you, attached to everything that happens in a transaction will make that customer remember you. And even if they forget how gracious you were, you will always know.
Your mama taught you to say please and thank you because she loved you. Return that love to your customers with a humble Thank You Very Much.
10. Remember that you are a retailer.
Meet your customers expectations by treating your business as such. Your customers have found something that they love in your product. They have found something that they need. They may not have known that they needed it, but now they do. They think you are an expert in it. Don't let them down with slow service, ungrateful attitudes, and general unprofessional-ism. You are so capable of that Whole Shebang service. So smile first, and ask questions later :). You are a Craft Cafe shop owner and that rocks!
Wow! I had so much fun writing that out for you guys!! Thank you for taking the time to read all they way down to this point. I hope that it will help you out with giving a most excellent customer service experience.
Feel free to contact me at: http://craftcafe.co/shop/piixlwixcandlecompany/ if you have any questions or comments or just to tell me you think I am off my rocker...
Thank you again to Craft Cafe for letting me get on with my bloggy self.