Friday, October 29, 2010

Customer Service

As a shopper, the most important factor to me, aside from product quality, is customer service. I will spend more of my hard-earned monies for good service. (Yes, I am the jerk who will not tip my waiter unless my glass stays full. However, I will tip triple for good service. )

"If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.
-Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

Think about that for just a second. Customer service (henceforth "CS" because I'm cool like that) can either grow or completely destroy a business. You would think the chances of crossing bad CS would never happen...but it does. Especially online, where it is so easy to ignore our customers.

Fun personal facts about me: I have obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety, paranoia and minor hallucinations. I'm so anxious I can't even talk on the phone. My voice mail is full so people can't leave a message. I hate getting dressed. I have to have strangers take care of me when I travel.

So how in the hell do I have a growing business with supreme customer service and a record for over five years now of 100% positive feedback?


Yup. That is pretty much it. Well that, and the fact that I actually care about what I do.

I just asked on twitter:
"Hey everyone! I am writing a blog about customer service....what does CS mean to YOU?! I would like to feature some of your quotes!"

Replies! (A good sign, and proof, CS DOES mean something to people...)

"CS is having it successfully explained to me politely that what I DON'T want IS best for me." -@WilliamPall

I like this. When I worked in retail I would be candidly honest with customers. It's true. Don't ever try to sell something to someone when it is not in THEIR best interest.

"CS is supposed to be about the customer. But these days if you do get anywhere, it's like the company's doing you a favor." -@JoeShopping

Attitude. If someone is spending their money, investing in your business, you are NOT doing them a favor by giving great CS. You are doing your JOB.

"Customer service is 'The customer may not always be right but they are listened to and appreciated.'" -@vadersmom

The saying 'the customer is always right,' is wrong. This sounds harsh, but it is true. However, you bend over backwards to LISTEN to your customer. You give that customer 110% of your time AND understanding. Next, you appreciate your customer for even coming to you with a problem.

Which leads wonderfully into this next one...

"Empathy and sharing the responsibility of a negative experience of their product or service." -@MrDystopia

I'm going to repeat from above, you have got to listen to your customer. It is hard not taking it personally when someone comes to you with a bad experience, especially if they have a problem with something you made.

I mentioned my company has had 100% positive feedback. This does not mean that I have never had a problem. As my business has grown, I routinely deal with customers who may have been overlooked or received damaged or unsatisfactory products. I am only human. I do make mistakes. What matters is how I deal with these mistakes.

"I am always happy to resolve, refund & replace." The Luxury Lane Soap Guarantee

Me. Kylee Lane. I take responsibility for what I create and sale and I examine each and every situation individually. THAT'S what I expect out of every business I do, well, business with.

Now you can only sit here and read about how wonderful I am for so long, so I guess it would be a good time for me to make my point...

If you are a business owner, whether a small crafter or a large corporation, shut up and listen to your customers. Treat every person who crosses your path with respect and be honest. If you can't get an order out, or meet a deadline, be honest about it. That doesn't mean making excuses to buy yourself some time; it means you tell people what is going on. If you don't have passion for what you create, find a different job or simply make something else YOU LOVE.

After hounding @terrence_oleary for a quote, he indeed sums everything up wonderfully... "Customer Service - most important part of ANY business - so vital to exceed customer expectations - anticipate issues and be proactive..."

Big thanks and hugs to everyone who helped put this post together! ♥ Please feel free to share your CS experiences below. How could companies improve their services? What would you like to see business do for YOU?

Monday, October 25, 2010 what?

Luxury Lane Soap now has an *official* Facebook fan page. Woo yay! Much thanks to @geekwithsoul for making me get my bum in gear on the FB project... what do I do with it? In my last blog I had wrote about the need to expand and grow into the next phase of business and marketing. Facebook feels like part of the natural evolution of things (like ten years ago...) and I just want to make sure I am posting content that people (you!) find valuable and useful. I know the whole FB fan page thing is not new, or really even trendy anymore (or is it?) but I need a middle ground.

Honestly, this is the only analogy I can think of...It's late and I will probably edit this in the morning. ( I didn' enjoy my crazy talk...)

Twitter is like dating. You meet some crazy people and some really nice people and some really nice crazy people. You develop friendships...and sometimes you just have to click block.

Blogging is like being married. It feels lasting. Solid. It is your home, a place you feel comfy, a place that is yours. Annnd sometimes the mere thought of blogging gives you a headache.

Facebook has more commitment than tweeting but less than blogging. A good middle ground to run around and play. Like going out for lunch with your Mom...wait...more like playing volley ball with a group of, that's not it either...Facebook is a place where we all pay our own tabs. We aren't having constant chit chat, and we aren't spending paragraphs making a point...We are visiting and saying hello.

Did I nail it? Does that sound right?

So, what do YOU want to see on the new Luxury Lane Soap fan page? I do plan on linking press throwbacks and giving shout outs to the people who helped me grow. I am still in awe of the world wide support and can never say thank you enough. Ever. (What? You thought you were going to get through an entire blog with out me getting mushy??)

I also plan on featuring new products as they arrive to the shop. I know a lot of you follow me on twitter, read my blog AND already follow my personal FB AND business fan page (+10 for the creepy stalkers!!) and I just don't want to overload you with repetitive information.

Suggestions? How in the world to people manage all of these things without being rude and while keeping things...personal and meaningful?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What happened with house hunting?

While chatting on Twitter, it was brought to my attention that people were actually paying attention while @Rory_Lane and I were trying to buy a house to expand Luxury Lane Soap....So what happened?

We lost the house we signed contracts on to a cash buyer. I cried. We kept on looking. (Yes, we *might* have been able to fight it, but when it comes right down to it, that house just wasn't meant for us.)

So, completely by chance, my neighbor stopped by while I was shooting some product pictures and one comment led to another. There was a house meant for us. It was actually waiting for us.

And that's all I am going to tell you about this house because, very much like me, it is different. It is also out of our price range. However, after meeting the current owners, seeing the house and having that feeling that we belong...Ok Ok, before I get mushy and cliche' I just want to point out that I make decisions based on air. Really. If you have ever gone house hunting, you know that feeling of when you walk into a new house and your gut feels something. I felt something in this house. A good something. A happy something.

We had always planned on having a middle house, and THEN buying land and building a home. Not with this place. This is the first property I have ever looked at and wanted to grow old in. This is were I want to be for the rest of my life.

Yup. It is that serious.

Out of my price range? Yup. Kids are in the middle of the school year. I'm just jumping into my prime selling season...Clearly, this is not the time to buy a house. BUT the sellers are so cussing awesome they are willing to wait until next Spring for us. THAT, that right there, see, my house was waiting for me.

That is also the first time I have called it MY house, because it isn't my house. Not yet. And I wont dare say it out loud. I won't post pictures of it and I wont even tell you were it is. But when I get it, you are all invited over for a HUGE slumber party. I kid you not.

The facts. Luxury Lane Soap HAS to double sales in order to move. I have to push my company to the next level. I'm ready, and what better time? So, I also need to step up my marketing, which means more product tweets and NEW products! Growth.

"I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb." Thomas Edison

I have failed a lot. A lot. In life, in business...All of my failures have been preparing me for this. And, if I don't get this house, guess what? It is only prepping me for my next success. #fact

What does this mean for YOU? Well, aside from spending the past few minutes of your life reading my hopeful blog post...

1. More product tweets in my twitter feed. (I have also changed my background to showcase products and my twitter name to Luxury Lane Soap, but my tweets are STILL @KyleeLane)

2. More blog posts. As much as my business is business, I will be posting more personal blogs (like this post) because there is no reason not to share the trials and tribulations of being the CEO of a growing home based business.

3. MORE PRODUCTS! Woo! Currently, the Luxury Lane Soap catalog holds over 62 products along with various scent and color combinations. This is going to grow weekly. Really.

4. More side projects and websites....Oh yeah baby, I don't mess around with expansion.

With all of this, I want YOU to know that I am not going to become one giant commercial. I don't even watch TV because I cussing haaaaate commercials...But there will be a few changes. Also, NEVER, EVER feel pressured to promote Luxury Lane Soap. I love you regardless. #fact.

So if I am not here to pressure you to go crazy and buy my soap, what was this post all about? Well first off, yes, I will love you more if you pass along the good word, but my point is...I have a huge goal and I am going to rock the CUSS out of it. Watch me. ♥

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get your grab on...

The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates for breast cancer in the US
* About 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women
* About 54,010 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be found (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
* About 39,840 deaths from breast cancer (women)

Last Revised: 09/24/2010 -The American Cancer Society

It is #BoobieWed on Twitter today and while I was getting ready to get up my squeezy avatar and link to my past blog where this all originated, I realized it has been over a year!!

Breast cancer is real.
"Then I think of all off the women, my grandmother included, who need attention brought to this cause (breast cancer awareness). I think of myself and my daughter (and son!) who merely through genetics, may one day battle this disease. All of a sudden being anonymous is no longer an issue! So, this proud Mommy, Daughter, Sister and Friend has decided to take and post a picture of her chest..." <---I said that a year ago!!

And many pictures I have taken!

What's my point? Breast cancer is real, it is serious and it kills. I proudly post a weekly photo asking, demanding, everyone check themselves and their friends. EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES.

#Fact There is a 97%, 5-year survival rate when breast cancer is caught before it spreads to other parts of the body. -Breast Health Resource Guide

It is Wednesday. Make Wednesday YOUR day to give yourself a quick squeeze.
Not sure how to preform a self exam? Here you go!
Breast awareness and self-exam via The American Cancer Society

The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 35. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now there are more than 2½ million breast cancer survivors in the United States.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

An idea...

Earlier this week I posted about the joy of invention. Making mistakes into something more. It only seems fitting to end the week on a similar note.

Today I released the Companion Cube Soap. *gasp* I know. Stunning.

I really want to thank everyone who RT'd and sent love for my new soapy creation. Honestly though, all credit goes to my production leader, Rory Lane. (Who, btw, FINALLY has a twitter! @Rory_Lane. Give him a follow. He is awkward and hilarious.)

The Companion Cube was an idea we both had and became very excited over, but I knew I wouldn't have the patience to do it with such....well, I wouldn't have had the patience. Period.

The production of this piece was very slow (and at times extremely annoying...). It began with nothing more than a simple 2x2 inch wood block. That's it. From there, my husband was able to turn this basic shape into a marvelous work of art.
Wood, foam, primer, glue and lots of sanding...

The basic design is formed!

Regretfully, I didnt take enough pictures...I do have a business to run...
This is the actual final product which was molded.

We tried two different types of molding before a technique was found that worked to our liking and which stood up to our standards of product perfection. After the mold was finalized, next color matching and soap formulas had to be created and followed with fragrance testing. (My favorite part!!)

After many moons, weeks, and months, our creation is now ALIVE!

It is such a wonderful feeling watching something being built from the ground up. Making something like this is no easy task and not for the weak, BUT SO WORTH IT! Really, anything I say is going to sound cliche'...

So. I want to know one thing YOU have created. Anything. What have you made that makes you proud...or taught you a lesson? Anything. And if you have never ever made anything, go make something right now. Matter of fact, double extra points to anyone who feels inspired to create.

You need a bribe? Of course you do. ♥ (This is where I tell you I am going to give you something!)

Leave a comment on this post (with a contact email) telling me something you have made or want to make or are in the process of making and I will do a drawing for one winner to receive TWO Companion Cube Soaps. I will announce a winner Friday, October 22nd, during the #FF love fest on Twitter and tell everyone how awesome you are.

♥♥♥ Want extra entries? You can 1.) Tweet about this giveaway and post a link to the tweet here and/or 2.) Tell me how much you love me.
And we have our winner!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Invention (Plus a giveaway!)

As much as I hate making mistakes...I love them. (P.s. If you just want to skip to the bottom, that's where the giveaway info is. I promise, I still love you and your impatient ways.)

I am pretty sure my best work comes from trying to fix a problem -- often one I caused myself. If you recall the scrub incident, I couldn't get something right, and because I failed, I decided to try something different, and came back to it and kicked some ass and created something wonderful. (I am still so in love with the comments I am receiving about my Whipped Up Sugar Scrub...I love you guys!)

So what did I mess up tonight? I was working on a new line of perfume oils. A super-secret project I have been developing for months and I finally had the guts to just get it in gear. I take my fragrances VERY seriously. My ingredients, the purest of the pure...(organic oils are not cheap...) And while I was mixing some blends to send off for product testing, I knocked them over...*EXPLETIVE DELETED*

I watched my expensive formula pour across the counter. The essential oil blends I spent hours putting together...the fragrances I melded to not only smell wonderful, but to embody real emotion....ugh...there they were, just oozing across my sterile counter.

I cussed, as I always do. Roared the 'f' word and scared the crap out of everyone in my house. Next, there was a brief moment of silence... and I swiped my hand through the potion and put it in my hair. What? I wasn't going to waste it. I slowly started to roll the ends of my hair between my palms, in the fusion of organics and botanicals and to my surprise it wasn't greasy! (Now, little lesson here, the base use is Jojoba oil, which happens to be a wax, not an oil. The chemical composition of jojoba closely resembles that of the skin’s natural sebum, so it is easily absorbed...)

Anyway. My hair is softer than it has ever been before. I treat my hair like crap, having dyed it every color possible and I cut it myself so I will go months and months without trimming my ends. I coat it in chemical serums just to get it to behave and yank hot irons through it just to get the false appearance of smoothness. Well, now all I am ever going to do is put natural perfume oil in it...

My point? While trying to create one thing, I created another. I would have never thought to make or even try a hair oil like that. I was making epically awesome perfume oils...not a natural smoothing serum.

And while I sit here all yummy smelling, I was thinking to myself about how neat it is to just simply create. Yes, it is pretty freaking cool to set out with a purpose and rock the house, but to accidentally make something and have it turn out so well? Bliss. I could have just wiped up my mess and went on my way but my natural response was, "What's next? Now what can I make?"

I know so many people who do really fantastic things but they are afraid of messing up. Don't be. The power behind invention is that we don't know the problems we can solve unless we find ourselves faced with the problem in the first place.

I know it sounds dramatic, considering all I did was knock over some oil...but it is the idea, the scale. Take something tiny like this and put the theory to something larger. The possibilities are phenomenal.

♥♥♥ I want YOU to try my new perfume for free so I am going to do another giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post with an email to reach you at and *poof* you will be added to the drawing for your choice Botanical Perfume Oil! I will announce a winner on Friday, October 15th ♥♥♥ Want extra entries? You can 1.) Tweet about this giveaway and post a link to the tweet here and/or 2.) Tell me how much you love me.
We have out winner! Comment number 8!
pushbuttonkitty !!
*dances* Congrats lovely!