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Stellar Customer Service for Brand Building

Monday, March 28, 2011

{image: dingaling}

Picture this: My son's restickable sticker story board stopped sticking after just two days. I emailed the company & asked if there were any sort of magic solutions to make them sticky again. You know what they did? They sent me a super kind personal note and offered a whole new pack. They shipped it the next day along with a handwritten note and additional little goodies. 

The result: A company I had only been vaguely familiar with made a new loyal customer. 

They could've just apologized and told me that rubbing water on the back helps the stickiness (they did)...but they also took the opportunity to permanently "brand" their small business in my mind.  I now know they are kind, reasonable, generous, and believe in their product. Because of that, you can bet that I'll be keeping them in mind with all those birthday parties we have coming up. A situation that could've been sour was made very very sweet. 

I thought this story was important because there's been quite a buzz about 'branding' lately. As in, how to better brand & market your shop. One thing that occurred to me is that customer service is an opportunity to brand your shop.  Branding is establishing your business, creating a niche, telling your story, and connecting with potential buyers. Customer service is a perfect opportunity to do all those things.  

So what makes stellar customer service? Here's a little list I came up with...but please, share your thoughts and I'll add them on the list too! 

1. Be Grateful- staying thankful for each order that comes your way really shines through.  I practically did cartwheels after my very first Etsy sale...I still celebrate these moments!

2. Make It Personal - send a confirmation, write a handwritten message, refer to something a customer mentioned in the notes to seller box, acknowledge repeat buyers...use their names!

3. "Surprise & Delight" - I stole this phrase from my husband, who creates awesome marketing campaigns.... Give people something unexpected...provide something to make them happy.  

4. Erase the notion of "them" - Customers are people too. They make spelling mistakes, they get confused during online checkouts, they have special requests....they're not different than us....they are us. Sadly, I see so many comments that alienate and treat buyers as if it's a separate group of them over there and us over here. No one likes to shop in places where it feels like that. (The Rodeo Drive boutique scene in Pretty Woman may come to mind ;) 

Whew...that's just a little list to get us going...love to hear your thoughts! 


lesley [smidgebox] said...

this is a really great post. it's so true!
you know, i order a lot of items on etsy, many of them are supplies, many are gifts or just special things for me. it never fails to disappoint me if there is no note, no acknowledgement, or anything else in the package other than 'the item'. when i buy fabric, i remember the shops that go to the trouble of scrawling a note of thanks, and i will shop there again. when it's just a bunch of fabric shoved into an envelope with no note, no biz card, chances are i won't be back -- there are so many places i could go instead!
sorry for the lengthy comment, but i truly believe that the extra two or three minutes that it takes to send a convo of thanks when you make a sale, or jot a quick thanks when you wrap your packages. people remember this, and it is good branding!

Allisa Jacobs said...

I know just what you mean Lesley! I have certain fabric shops that have found a special little place in my heart & I am so loyal too....and it has nothing at all to do with prices or sales!