This week, I woke up to an email that frustrated me. "Where is my order?!!! I"m going to report you to Etsy if you don't answer me!!" I took a deep breath, reminded myself that customers often get feisty during the holiday season and answered them back calmly with a tracking code showing them where their order was.
I try my very best to make sure customers are informed each step of the way with their order but sometimes there can be miscommunications or errors along the way. Over the years, I've learned how to swallow my pride, put a smile on my face and help customers resolve their issues.
1. Bite your tongue and smile.
Working at McDonalds at age 15 taught me how to smile and say "have a nice day" even when someone was yelling in my face because they didn't get their soda. I employ a similar tactic while answering customer service emails.
I try to make all my email responses nice, accommodating and helpful. Sometimes, mean emails hurt my feelings and I spend a few minutes upset by the comments. But most of the time, I try to quickly brush them off and remember it's not a personal attack at me.
2. Remind customers of your policies and make sure they are clearly stated.
The biggest customer complaint I have in my store is customers expecting their delivery to come as fast as Amazon, not realizing my products are custom printed to order. In each of my listings, I make sure to state this right at the top but some customers glance over this in a hurry.
Shipping generally takes one to three days to print and another three to five days. When customer are upset they didn't get their order in a very short time frame, I nicely remind them of the policy and if their shipment is later than stated I offer them a refund. Having your policies clearly stated will give customers information they need to make an informed buying decision.
3. Giving a refund is cheaper than a negative review.
Though everyone may not agree with this, I often find it easier to give an upset customer full refund than spend two hours of my time going back and forth with them to save $20. Sure there are people who complain because they are trying to extort a business, but in most cases people, people just want their products.
It's usually easier to give a refund to someone who is upset than spend a few days going back and forth with them explaining why you are right and they are wrong. Even if the customer is wrong, I let them think they are right and they're often shocked by how nice my responses are. I've even gotten a few apologies from customers for how mean they were after they see my nice response helping them.
The next time you have an angry customer, put yourself in their shows, calmly react and help them solve the situation. By doing this you can turn even the angriest person into an advocate for your business.