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?


Melissa said...

From the time you sent me something free (and I think I've won several things from you), to when I actually purchased items from you, you have been nothing but courteous. Not only that, but you like the ideas we may have. I have been giving you feedback for about 2 months now. I think maybe a little more. And you listen. You like my opinion so much you had me test some stuff for you! And that is one of the best things I can do to help you out, honestly. You do so much to make sure people are happy, that you have made me change my mind about where I buy soap.

You have me as a customer for as long as you are open. Believe that. :3

Kylee Lane said...

You are so awesome. Without great friends and customers (like you!) I wouldn't not be able to have such a wonderfully thriving business ♥

Kylee Lane said...

woo! double negative grammar skills are the awesome....

Joshua said...

To further expand on my 140 character's from Twitter . . . In any given sales/CS situation, not all customers know all the details of the product they're thinking of buying. The sales person is an expert on the product. As it's said later in the article, the sales person should listen to the customer, but it's in the customer's best interest to listen to the salesperson. If you don't have a salesperson that isn't going out of their way to tailor the purchase to your needs, they're not doing their job properly.

Joshua said...

Er, I thought this'd leave my twitter name. This is @WilliamPall.

katty said...

Customer service is vital to the success of any business. Despite how good your product or service is, customer service can make you or it can break you. Retaining the customer depends upon not only giving quality product it depends upon the attitude of the company towards customers. Anyways, thanks for the post!
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