Thursday, April 28, 2011

Customer Service

I recently had an experience with on of my customers that I truly found to be a learning experience. She didn't teach me anything that I didn't already know but she helped me to be I feel a better seller. She also boosted my ego.

None of us want to hear that there is a problem with our merchandise. That just snatches the rug from under you, "Oh, no!", the first response, what could be wrong. The product in question has been sold over and over again in the past. Not one customer has contacted me with this problem.

At first when the customer told me she was new to the craft, I felt she just misread the booklet. I checked my hard drive (I just recently had my computer in the shop - virus')found the file and looked at it, checked the pages, I didn't and couldn't see the problem. I resent a new file to the client, now there's a separate problem. I still couldn't find it.

So in keeping with the lessons learned throughout the years of shopping and working in retail, I did the only thing I could do, I used the lessons:
1. The customer is always right.
2. When you can't do anything else go back and see rule number 1.

Dealing with Sears some years ago, I remember the saying they used " Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back." I bought a sewing machine from them with a specific cabinet, in '83. When I picked up my purchase and got it home my ex put it together and it was the wrong cabinet, beautiful and larger than the one I purchased and more expensive. I took it back to the store and explained what happened. The cabinet I purchased had been discontinued and they offered me dinged up floor model, of course I declined the offer, I paid for a new one.

The salesperson went to management and came back with a better offer. I could keep the new more expensive cabinet, $200 more. Of course, I was surprised, why? Even though over the entrance to the building the slogan was there clear and in plain sight, I didn't believe them. I had another incident with them and the same thing happened, they were true to their slogan, 'Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back', got to love Sears.

In Mystery Shopping, I critique services for major companies, I love doing this and seeing the changes on the managers and clerks faces when they find out who I am. Needless to say the service gets better, which it should have been at peak performance anyway and the managers always offer something extra to offset what happened when I was suspected to be the typical Joe off the streets.

In dealing with my clients I use what I've learned from Sears and Mystery Shopping and those old rules and do whatever it takes to make my customer happy. A happy customer is a return customer. I often check with them to see if everything is going well with the item purchased and inquire about the family or how's the weather and they in turn check on me. I love this.

It's okay to build a relationship with your clients, let them know that you're human and that you care. It makes their day and yours. About this last client I refunded a portion of their payment for the missing pieces they won't be able to utilize. Here is the comment they had:

Hi Sheryl,

Thank you very much. You're a super seller, thank you for your
patience and all your help. I'll enjoy the rest of the patterns, they
are very beautiful.

These grateful words mean a lot to me as a seller and helps build confidence. Always do and give your best, that's why we're in business for ourselves and please try and put yourself in their shoes, think of how you want to be treated and rest is easy.