Good Customer Service

July 18, 2008

When selling t-shirts online, a major thing that determines your long term success in the industry is how well your customer service is. Of course your t-shirt designs have to be good in order for people to want to buy, but what makes people really buy from you is how much they like you; how they feel about the way you communicate with them. Sometimes, the difference between a shop doing pretty good and a shop doing extremely well can be in the quality of customer service.

Here’s some customer service tips that you should apply if you want customers to keep coming back:

1) Don’t give customers stock responses
When a customer, or potential customer e-mails you asking something, talk to them! Don’t just give some automated robotic response to their question. People can tell when they receive an answer that someone took the time to write or an answer that a robot could have wrote. Read the message that the customer sent you, and answer every question the customer has. If there is a case in which you have to start with a template message, address the customer by his/her name, make variations in the message, and add a little humor so the customer knows that a real person is behind the message.

2) End the email or call on a high note
Let’s say your telling a customer about a delay in shipping of his product. This problem may or may not be your fault, but you still have to explain the situation to the customer. You’ll have to apologize to the customer about the problem, but be careful not to give the “everything’s wrong, oh no, we failed” impression. Just state the problem in a couple of sentences, but make sure to end the message or conversation with what you’re doing to fix the problem and a time for when the problem may be solved.

3) Avoid over compensating for your mistakes.
On the subject of explaining a mistake and problems to customers. Although you’re supposed to end the email on a high note, don’t give them the world just because you made a small mistake. Now of course if you did something like ship the wrong shirt to the customer, you should at least let them return the shirt (free shipping), give them the shirt they wanted and a 10% discount on the next order. But don’t go all out and give them like 5 free t-shirts for something like that, because this can have the opposite intended effect, and make the customer think you’re unprofessional or not worthy of their business. Making up for your mistakes is a good thing, when done in a reasonable manner.

4) Follow up with customers.
This applies to people that already bought from you and potential customers. Instead of just selling a shirt to a customer and then forgetting that the customer ever existed after you get their money, continue to keep the relationship with the customer. But with any relationship, you should still give them some space and avoid sending them 20 e-mails a day. For current customers, just email them once in a while; for potential customers, e-mail them like once or twice a week. Following up with the customer shows that you’re interested in any questions or concerns they might have. And a bonus to following up with customers is that it usually leads to a sale!

5) Go the extra mile
Let’s say you usually ship t-shirts in a regular plain bag in a regular mailer. Instead of doing that, put a little freebie or note inside the package. This is some what related to your t-shirt packaging and the impression it makes on customers. Another way to go the extra mile is to send birthday and Christmas emails to your customers. This has the effect of showing that you remember them and making them remember you.

6) Don’t argue or say rude things to customers.
If a customer keeps bugging you about when their shirt will arrive, don’t start calling them impatient or saying things in a rude way. All the customer wants is his t-shirt and a little common courtesy. Just explain the situation in a nice way and let them know the details of what’s going on.

7) Ask your customers for feedback about your company.
Asking for feedback can be done right after the customer buys from you, or a while after the customer bought from you. You can ask customers in the form of a structured multiple choice survey or just a list of open-ended questions to answer. Getting feedback about your clothing line or t-shirt shop will definitely help you improve different aspects of your business.

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