My start up t-shirt company, The Home T, has been a ton of fun thus far. I’ve learned a little along the way, and also had the opportunity to put a lot of existing knowledge to use.
But the one thing I’ve focused on the most is customer service. To be clear, customer service is impacted by a massive amount of behind the scenes actions, so don’t just think it’s face to face or face to email/phone interaction.
I’ve preached before previously blogged about how customer service isn’t so hard, and to be honest, it’s not. You have to be attentive. You have to respect people. You have to deliver on what you say you’ll deliver. And more importantly, when something goes array, you have to be upfront with people and reassure them that all will be well.
It really is that simple.
Unfortunately, as we both now, customer service is something many businesses – both big and small – overlook. Many say they care, but actions certainly speak louder than words.
My fiancée is a psychotherapist (did I forget to mention I’m getting married?!) and a darn good one at that. She’s taught me some things along the way, and if nothing else, opened my eyes to help me understand certain feelings, one of which is anxiety.
As I’ve interacted with more and more customers I’ve realized that a significant part of customer service is dealing with peoples anxiety. Where is my shirt? Will it get here by Christmas? Did my credit card get charged twice? All of these statements are driven by anxiety and it is my job to calm their nerves, offer reassurance and MOST of all, help the customer understand that they’ve been heard.
For instance, the business had a transitional period while some things were changing behind the scenes and a few shipments were delayed. This delay prompted a couple emails from customers and judging by their response to my response, you’d have thought I just gave them 10 free shirts. But all I did was explain the situation and reassure them that getting them their shirt was a huge priority and that I was agonizing over not getting it to them. They were happy to be in the know and, most of all, their anxiety was gone.
In the end there are many things that impact great customer service, but when responding or taking action to “problem” situations, always consider the anxiety felt by your customer and try to relieve it as much as possible. You’ll be shocked at how it changes the dynamic.