There is a very important customer service issue that I didn’t mention in my last post that I want to talk about now. I will tell you a few stories that exemplify this issue.
One: A while ago, when I was still hand cutting each and every envelope that I sold, I got an order for 4 boxes of stationery that were to be shipped to Spain. This was one of my first (large) orders as well as one of my first international orders. I was SO excited. I lovingly made each box of stationery, carefully packaged them up for their trip overseas and shipped them off via the USPS like I do all my packages. **NOTE: this is not an attack on the USPS. They have ever only lost 1 package of mine for sure, maybe 2, I’m still holding out hope that this most recent one will arrive** About a month later, my customer emailed me and informed me that she had not yet received the order. I was mortified. I had no idea how long it took a package to get to Spain, but I hoped it was less than a month. I went to the post office and asked how I could track this package. I was told that international packages are transferred to the countrie’s national postal service once it gets to that country and there is no way to track it. What to do? In this situation, there is no question. You make it right for the customer no matter the cost. This is what I told myself as I re-made each box of stationery with, admittedly, a little less love. I then decided to take this package to UPS to ship because tracking is included in the price. When the gentleman behind the counter told me it was going to cost $100 to ship this package to Spain, another part of me said “what to do?” Again, I realized, there is no question. I just needed to do whatever it takes to make it right for the customer. So I took a deep breath, and laid down my credit card. About a week later, I got an email from my customer telling me that she received both packages on the same day. Could I ask her to send one back? No. I told her to keep them both.
I really feel that I learned a lot from this lesson. First of all, I am glad now that it was such a harsh lesson. It makes all the other little things that have gone wrong since then seem small. I also learned that what it takes to make a customer happy is not always easy. It sometimes hurts a little to be out that money, especially when you have a very small biz. But again, they are the life blood of any biz and you need to do whatever it takes.
Two: I am going to be re-making an order tomorrow for a customer that has not received a package I sent a month ago. It’s a rather large order and I am a little bit peeved that I have to do it because it’s not my fault that it didn’t get there, but this is a very good customer (all of mine are) and I want her to be pleased and get what she needs in time badly enough that I will do it. And in the end, I know that it will make me happy to make her happy.
The moral: Suck it up and make it right. This is when customer service counts the most.