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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Customer Service For Handmade Selling

This week I am going to talk a little bit like being the customer buying the art.

Do you go that wee bit extra for your customers? We all try to impress our customers who come to our shops, whether online or otherwise,with our shop banners, our carefully pieced together collages, our labels and other methods of getting our names remembered,and the descriptions we write about our beautifully, handcrafted items and of course the items themselves.But it shouldn't stop there! What do you do to make sure your customers become return customers?

Customer Service-its something we are all familiar with and it is a Priority of Practically every company,but some miss the mark and others exceed expectations. It is customer after all who helps your Business Grow.

 With these tips, it will be easier  to serve  the customer in a way that everyone is satisfied.An artist selling their work wants the customer to be pleased with their purchase. They do not want to sell you something faulty or something you do not really want. They put a lot of time and effort into their product, and they want it to find a great home.artists have special skills and work very hard at their craft. More often than not they are trying to put a roof over their family’s heads and food on the table. Some artists will do custom orders. Be clear  regarding what they are looking for. Be prepared to take a significant down payment. A custom order should be treated as a professional transaction with a contract with both parties agreeing to each step of the process. You would not be surprised that a contractor remodeling your house would require down payments, contracts, and confirmation regarding what you are looking for. A custom order is no different when working with a professional artist.

Ask questions. You have the right to know what you are purchasing. Often times art can be expensive and you should be clear about what you have. It can be frustrating for an artist when a customer asks “Did you really make all of this?” However, an artist selling their work is usually looking forward to sharing details of their process with a customer. let them Find a piece or two that they find intriguing and let them ask questions specifically regarding it. How was it made? What is it made of? What inspired you to make it? It is likely to start a lively conversation and you will learn more about something you may decide to buy.

Many forms of art have care instructions.Some metals are damaged in certain chemicals. Not all fabrics are washable. The artist selling to you should be familiar with the care needs of their product. Make sure you heed those directions so that you can best enjoy your new acquisition. It is the artist’s responsibility to provide you with a well made product and make certain you are aware of the care needed. It is not the Artist responsibility to replace the item if those directions are ignored!When buying online from sites .keep in mind that while the product should closely resemble the photo the artist provided, that there can be some discrepancies due to the quality of the photograph provided, the browser you are using, and differences in computer monitors. If you require an exact color match, you may be better served purchasing something in person. Let them Read the artist’s policies and ask them  not to be shy contacting the artist through the conversation function.

A customer is not happy for some reasons and if not resolved the potential negative feedback or claim against your store can be bad for business, The one difficult thing selling online is that you don't know who you are dealing with when u have a customer complains filed against you. There are so many ways things can be misunderstood though online communication.lets look at some ways to prevent such misunderstandings resolving these issues when they do arise.

Don't be disrespectful,rude or defensive in the way you handle complaints.

Do not go and post a topic in a public forum of your crazy customer.the point is be respectful, it has more a reflection on you as a seller than it does on anything the customer could have done. what will potential customer's think when they see the way your have handled such a tricky situation?would you want to buy from someone who publicly dis regards their customers concerns as unimportant?

Do not be unprofessional or rude - although the customer may address you in a rude way, don't respond to their rudeness, its easy for people to say whatever they want, when they want, when they can hide behind an online profile and never have to see you face to face. Many times common courtesy is lost online.Even if what they initially say is upsetting or insulting to you, always respond in a professional way and avoid any rude or negative comments back to them. Try to get past their rudeness to see what the real issue or complain is and respond to that

Preventing Misunderstandings

Have clear Policies and Procedures- Sounds boring but it is part of having an online shop.but You have to outline policies in your shop. Think about Potential Situations that Could arise and how you would handle them. What if a customer wants a refund. will you refund if they return the Item? Will you pay for the them to ship it back or will they have to pay for their shipping? will you refund the original shipping? if there a timeline where they must return the items within 15 days or 30 days? the more you think about all the tings that could wrong, the better prepared you will be to handle issues when they Happen. Having clear guidelines and policies will also help back up your responses to customers will appear professional too.

Communication -  
While you get the order Keep the Customer informed about the Process if delays Communicate let them know ,and also after the order has reached the Customer. Responding quickly to any request or concerns about an order can help calm an anxious customer.

Have a system to schedule orders-
Another Challenge for those who have more success at first then they expected, is keeping up with orders. This is a good problem to have, but can be a challenge to keep up good customer service and meet deadlines when you are overwhelmed with more order than you think you can handle. There are a few trips and tools you can use to make sure each customer is getting the level of service you want .

1. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of you open orders and due dates.Being able to sort by due date or having a timeline that outlines the different projects that are open will help keep you organised.

2. Print your open orders and keep them in a folder, as they are finished remove them from the folder.

3. use list, calendar or charts

4. if all else fails increase your prices. this might cause your sales to slow down,but hopefully the ones you do get will make up for the ones you dont. The customer who pays a higher price for your product can also enjoy better customer service from you than if you stretch yourself too thin and cant keep up.

Tips for After you get that first Complaint

Its a certainly a customers right to voice their concerns.Sometimes they will be happy with just a response back. But be calm and kind keep the communication lines open

Think outside the box.
Alternate ways to possible resolving issues. the package did not arrive,but have you contact the post office to verify or have the customer checked . or if its digital email  check spam folder.Etc

Stick with your policies or be Flexible-
 Test the Policies. it is a tough call and one that only you can make. Each situation is as different as there are different products,people and circumstance. Despite all your efforts to resolve an issue, you might get a customer who will never be Pleased,

Just remember one Negative feedback or claim is not the end of the World.

But for you going through the stress of dealing with a difficult situation can certainly dampen the desire to sell your items .

Never Never Give up Keep moving persistence is the key.

We'd love to know your secrets about packaging, followup and  customer service.

If you Like this Post pleas do Comment and help Grow and Share your Experience.

You can visit our Facebook Page to see some Beautiful work from Various Artist HandmadeNBeyond

Thank you for Taking the time to read 

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