Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Tips for Good Customer Service

Sorry if this is completely random... I am trying to have a good attitude about a situation I recently encountered (it's hard!), but let's just say that I now understand how Julia Roberts' character felt in Pretty Woman when those snooty ladies shooed her out of their store because she wasn't their ideal customer. I'm not going to name any names because I'm attempting to be the bigger person... however... it got me to thinking about what makes for GOOD customer service in an online small business.

So here goes:

  1. READ your customer's emails. Don't just scan and reply with a canned answer. There's nothing more infuriating than getting back an answer that didn't even address what you were inquiring about in the first place.
  2. Respond to emails/requests AS SOON AS POSSIBLE - preferably in no more than 12-24 hours. Taking longer than that suggests that you couldn't give a bleep, and it really makes your customer feel like their request was probably round-filed. 
    • (Side Note: If you actually are out in the middle of nowhere for a week, be sure to explain that in your response, coupled with flourishing apologies. Make it clear that you have every intention of addressing their request in an expedient manner and that your lack of attention in this case was not a normal business practice for you.)
  3. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER try to up-sell someone. If they're asking about something that you simply don't want to sell, politely let them know. Side-stepping their request while simultaneously offering them a more expensive option is extremely rude.
  4. Never suggest that your customer doesn't know what he/she is talking about or that they, in some way, aren't worth your time. EVERY customer is worthy of your time -- remember that they are the reason you are in business in the first place. Treat them with respect.
  5. Last but not least, remember that YOU are a person, too, so please respond like one. Don't send form letters, canned answers, or auto-responses. People shop at small businesses because they expect to deal with a real person. Don't let corporate customer service policies dictate how poorly you treat customers... rise above!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope and pray that I can have the grace to be more courteous than this person was to me. Sigh...

  2. Agreed. Costumers are kings. They should be prioritise.

    1. I definitely agree w/ you. It's too bad not everyone puts that into practice.

    2. I'm having trouble commenting on my own, so I hope you don't mind me "piggy-backing" here. But, what great advice! And I totally agree, small business definitely has the advantage when it comes to customer service. Especially on Etsy, where customers get to speak directly to the artisan making the product. But, sadly, some people are still just in it for the loot!

  3. You are so right! This is a good lesson for anyone that wants to get into business. Being in the customer service industry for years, I have to say that sometimes customers can be a pain in the you know what, and will take full advantage of the business's willingness to go above and beyond. One bad experience and it can cast a negative shadow over all customers, hence the reason why we may receive terrible customer service. But we all have to keep in mind that most people are decent and genuine and all deserve the same respect, and to not dwell on bad experiences. Just my two cents :)


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