Good Customer Service? Maybe Not…

Though I consider my online stores a fun endeavor, I do take them seriously and strive to provide good customer service.  I answer questions as soon as I get them, mail packages securely and quickly and allow returns, which not all online sellers do. I’ve also provided free gift wrapping for items being sent as presents. I even had a customer ask if she could hear a recording of a bell I was selling. And I did it. I recorded myself ringing the bell for 10 seconds and sent her the file. (She said it was pretty, but didn’t buy the bell!)

But sometimes you can’t or don’t want to give a customer what they want. Here are two examples…would love to get your feedback.

quilt-blocksEXAMPLE AS THE SELLER

I am selling a lot of three embroidered quilt blocks for a modest $18. A customer contacted me and asked if she could buy just the one that she liked.

Initially I thought, oh sure, why not? No problem!

But as I thought about it more I realized what she wanted would mean a lot of additional work for me. First I would have to revise the original listing for just the one item, which she would buy and I then I would wrap and mail. Then I would have to create a new listing and retake the photos for the remaining two quilt blocks and incur another listing fee, and of course when these sell, spend time wrapping and mailing. All those little actions add up. And honestly my profit margin for these pieces is small. Really small. So spending more time and effort to split them into two listings just wasn’t worth it. That’s why I listed them as a lot of three to begin with! I felt bad telling her I wanted to keep these together, but I did, and she didn’t buy them. Which was okay…they’ll find a new home eventually. But I may have lost a future customer.

From a customer service standpoint I’m not sure how I’d rate myself in this case! What would you have done?

EXAMPLE AS THE BUYER

I found a cool piece of inexpensive pottery from another online seller who lives 50 miles from me. I was all set to buy it when I saw that she had listed the shipping cost as $13. Yikes!  The item was small, likely eligible for the cheaper first class mail, and since I live so close I knew the actual shipping cost would be a lot less than $13. I contacted her and asked if there was a better shipping price since I lived so close. She responded that she would refund any overage. Fair enough. But to be honest, I wanted to know what the real shipping cost would be BEFORE I bought it and she wasn’t willing to spend a few minutes to figure that out ahead of time. I didn’t buy the item and realize I probably won’t visit her store again.

From a customer service standpoint, I was a tad disappointed in her response. Would you be?

Do you have interesting customer service stories?? Bad or good?

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2 comments

  1. For me good customer service implies that someone is willing to help me reasonably at any point in time. If it’s too expensive to do something my way, I am fine with hearing that it’s the case as long as it’s communicated kindly and considerately. If the seller is willing to make things work, that’s all I need as a buyer.

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