If you're a business owner, how your customers are treated can make or break you. For me, Starbucks is almost always a gauge for how I'd like to be treated. I'm greeted in a friendly manner, I'm not made to feel like an inconvenience and the transaction ends with a thank you of some kind. If they make a mistake, they apologize and make it right. Nothing complicated or over the top, just simple courtesy.
I think sometimes we forget we should expect a certain level of customer service from our online transactions as well. Just because there's no face-to-face doesn't mean we shouldn't be valued as a customer. I recently had several transactions that were excellent examples of how we should and shouldn't be treated.
As I was writing this, I originally shared a lengthy rant on some awful customer service I received from a national craft retailer, who shall remain nameless, both in-store and online. Instead, I’ll just say they won’t be getting any more of my business if I can help it, and move on to the positive side of my story.
There isn't a Hobby Lobby store anywhere near me, so I've never shopped there before. Recently, I was searching for an item online that they happened to have the best price on. I placed the order and received it as promised. It was a simple transaction, but what impressed me was the fact that there was a card in the package that had been hand-signed by the person who had packed my order. That’s a company who hasn’t forgotten that they’re shipping to a person.
I’ve ordered from Spoonflower before, but it’s been a long time. When I placed my order last weekend, they estimated with printing time and shipping that I would have my fabric in about 10 – 12 days. I was very happy with that. I was delighted when my order arrived in my hands in under a week. Again, my receipt was hand-signed and my fabric was wrapped in tissue. I know they are a very busy, growing company but I still felt like they cared about my one little bit of fabric. I’ll be back.
Another retailer I’ve never ordered from before is Pick Your Plum. I just signed up for emails from them, so every day they send me the deal of the day. Last week, it was baker’s twine. I’ve been looking for a spool of red and white for a while now, and was thrilled to find it and at such a great price. It shipped before they said it would, arrived quickly and was packaged well. They even included a piece of candy, which having a ridiculous sweet tooth I always appreciate.
You’ll notice none of my examples include any giant orders, big issues that required direct communication between me and the company involved or anything else dramatic. They were all small, simple transactions, but were fulfilled by the retailers with a certain level of care that made me happy to do business with them. It’s what I strive for as an online retailer myself, and what I expect as a customer. If you’re not feeling valued in your online transactions, it’s time to reevaluate where you’re spending your money. Just like in the brick-and-mortar world, there’s always somewhere else to shop.