Some of you may have seen on my Etsy profile or elsewhere that I reside in beautiful, southern California.
Anaheim to be exact.
And while I do my best to make Anaheim even more awesome than it is, there's something here that makes the place "magical". A certain theme park known as "The Happiest Place on Earth."
Seeing as said theme park is one of the largest employers in southern California I may or may not have worked for them at some point. (Twice.)
First off I have to say that working at one of the most popular destinations in the United States will teach you a lot of lessons. You learn how to say no with a smile. You can take a child from screaming tantrum to blissed-out joy in under 6.5 seconds. And you may pick up a thing or two about customer service.
My years of serving the mouse were hard work, even though running around with the characters and helping them interact with the guests sounds like a walk in the park. And I learned a lot about how to turn a bad situation into a shining example of *ahem* Schmisney magic.
So what makes their service so great? What's the secret ingredient? And how can you make that work for you?
First off - Smile! Okay so clearly if you're interacting with people over the internet they aren't going to know if you're smiling or not. But don't be afraid to let a little bit of your personality show. Sure, you're selling a product and you want your customers to take you seriously. But if they have a great interaction with you and get to know you as a person they are so much more likely to come back. And bring friends even! Being friendly and personable never made any business transaction worse.
Be enthusiastic! This one rolls into the one above but takes it to the next step. If you're blase about receiving an order that doesn't make your customer feel very special. Thank them for their purchase. Ask them if there is anything else you can help them with. Maybe they have a special request for a minor change - be gracious and never treat a request as a burden.
While we would like our buyers to respect us, does it always cross our minds to respect the buyer? They've given us their money (or are considering it) for an item that they are trusting us to deliver, intact and on time. Make sure to respect their time and offer timely responses to inquiries. If you don't have time to give an entire answer at least shoot them an email acknowledging that you got their note and you'll get back to them at a later time. And try to be specific about when you'll get back to them if you can. Nothing is more annoying than waiting to hear from someone with no idea when or if they'll ever respond.
The thing our friends in Anaheim are best known for are their efforts to go above and beyond. This is a lesson that has stayed with me since I first started working there as a freshly graduated senior from high school. Even if it's just something little like putting a hand written thank you note in a customer's shipment. It's all the little things that add up.
For my shop it's easy to go the extra mile. Every item is customized for the particular customer. I like to offer a little something extra for each person I work with. Whether it's a second version of the file with alternative color combinations or just some extra help getting their files printed.
Taking that time to treat each person as if they were your most important customer helps them to remember who you are and keeps them coming back for more.
Meanwhile I'll leave you with a statistic - the average person will tell 2 or 3 people if they have a good experience working with a seller. If they have a bad experience they'll tell 7-10. If you go out of your way to go the extra mile and show them how much you appreciate their business, that's when they can't stop talking about you. And for a small business, word of mouth is your best marketing strategy!
Until Next Time - Nic