No matter what you sell, people ARE the core of your business…You don’t get paid from thin air, and even if money is made of paper that comes from trees, it’s still a human being that has to decide to give it to you.
Practicing good customer service is a big part of growing and maintaining your business. People will always remember how you made them feel.
One thing I noticed when I worked in retail and restaurants, is that people very much like it when you make them feel special. And you don’t have to fake it either. You just have to take the time to listen to them and focus on what they’re telling you that they want.
Make it easy for customers to connect with you by having a contact form on your website. Never put your actual email address anywhere online. You don’t want your inbox flooded with spam! You want emails that have real customers and sales inside!
Whenever a buyer messages you, thank them right away. “Thanks for reaching out” is a good first response. Then, no matter what they’re asking, start your reply with “I can.”
“I can do that…” Or “I can look into that…” Another option, “I can try…”
Your customer service should always give the impression that you genuinely care about your customer’s needs and that you value their time.
Your one-on-one communications with your customers will strengthen their relationship to your business, and ultimately lead to returning clients/orders.
People want to know they can trust someone. Especially online. And especially with their money. Your customer service goal is to be that someone.
Quality customer service is probably the easiest thing you can provide, and it starts with a simple “Please” and “Thank You.” Clear and thoughtful communication with your customers can help you manage any confusion or conflicts that might arise.
If you’ve worked in any service or retail job, you already know. If you haven’t, lucky you! Either way, if you’re going to run your own business be prepared for the occasional assholes and payment/refund drama.
There will always be difficult people out there who won’t even catch your good manners, much less match the energy. And there’s always someone who wants to exploit an opportunity – asking to get extras at the same price, or wanting you to give them something that isn’t even offered.
It’s up to you how much room you want to give people to act out. If things go left with a buyer and they start demanding a refund, you’re gonna need to keep it as polite as possible for as long as you can. You’re also going to need ALL your receipts.
Before a situation gets out-of-control messy, make a habit of speaking your replies out loud as you type them. This gives you time to hear how your words sound, and if you’re in the middle of BS – it gives you time to breathe while you work through it on your own.
Say the words “Please” and “Thank You” as you type them. And if you’re emotionally up for it, offer to set up a phone call to resolve any issues in real time – because A LOT can get lost in e-mail or text. Make the effort to make the call.
If a phone call, or discount on the next purchase can’t solve your customer’s woes, and if they give you ANY disrespect – it’s okay to stop replying.
If you have a receipts, and a solid refund policy – detailed and clearly easy to find on your site – most banks/payment processors will side with the business.
If you’re in freelance and someone is asking you to do extra work – outside of the contract – be firm about your limits. You should have already locked in a non-refundable deposit, and you should also have a clause in your contract regarding extra services.
In the unfortunate event that you didn’t get a deposit and you didn’t have a contract, always decline to do extra work for free. Just remind them what their initial request was, and let them know you have other project commitments. Even if you don’t.
Now, I don’t recommend habitually lying to clients because that’s not the way to run a business. But…
I definitely recommend playing ball with anyone willing to play with your bag or your time.
Especially in freelance, and especially if you’re a woman in freelance.
People have a tendency to try to get more than they bargained for, and for whatever reason people expect women to be more accommodating and flexible to the needs of others. How much is too much? That will be your judgement call to make.
Good customer service isn’t just about how you communicate and make people feel. It’s also, literally about the service you provide.
As a freelancer, if a client stresses you out, berates you, constantly negates your work, or interrupts your workflow, they’re actually impeding your ability to perform. Your responsibility is to do the best work that you can, and to maintain the best working conditions for yourself so that you can do amazing things.
Sometimes the best customer service is ending service and walking away. A bad gig, or a payment dispute can put bad energy into your vibes. You didn’t start a business for the static. So, know your limits. Have faith in yourself and RESPECT for yourself to know when to let some things go and move on.
We all do better work when we’re excited about what we do. If a you’re constantly clashing with a client, sometimes the best thing for both of you is to admit that it’s not working out. They deserve someone who fits with them, and you deserve to feel good about what you’re doing.
All in all, customer service is about knowing what your buyer/client needs and knowing how to make them feel good about your interactions together.
Good manners, honest communication, and showing respect for people’s time are the cheat codes to managing customer service for your business.
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