I created my own Top ten customer service for online internet wedding vendors that I think you will find very helpful as you continue to build your bridal customer base. I am asked quite often about how I go about providing such personalized customer service to my customers who are ordering their bridal jewelry online. It truly can be very simple!
I have been in business for 18 years as a custom handcrafting jewelry artist. I spent many years participating in art festivals, wedding shows and opening my own private showroom. My Looney Maiden Bridal and Bridesmaid Jewelry website went online in 2002 and I won’t lie, there certainly was a learning curve. I was so used to meeting my customer in person and they were able to develop a personal connection with me. I create custom, personalized and handcrafted wedding day jewelry for the entire bridal party that become cherished keepsakes. So how was I to keep that personal touch that my local customers love?
Below I have shared the top ten ideas I have for providing personalized customer service that has worked for me over the last 8 years. Certainly every wedding business is unique in it’s own way so these ideas are offered as guidelines to inspire you as you continue to look at ways to grow with your online website. Enjoy!
1. Have easy to find contact information and answer your phone! This provides for your customer to feel increased confidence in your business being bonafide and trustworthy. If I could count how many times a customer is shocked but delighted that I actually answer the phone you would truly be amazed. That personal connection with your bride is so important and not only will she be confident in purchasing from you but your future referrals will continue to rise.
2. Make sure to answer your emails on a daily basis. State how quickly you will answer. I have a policy to reply same day or by next morning if the email comes in during closed hours. Your customer has taken the time to email you questions or concerns about her choices. Doing this, she is already saying I really want to purchase but I want to make sure I choose the right item. Your quick response will reinforce your commitment to customer service. In this day and age of automated systems, it is a breath of fresh air to find businesses that still offer that personal touch.
3. Offer free consultations to your customers. Looking at a picture is not always a thousand words. The customer truly appreciates your honest feedback and professional guidance when choosing their items. On a daily basis I receive emails with photos of wedding dresses and bridesmaid gowns. I am asked about styles and colors that would suit their dresses best. The customer truly wants your help and if they take the time to email you, then the likelihood is that they are wanting to purchase from you.
4. Offer online and telephone ordering options. To be honest, the majority of my orders I receive are completed online. We are in a new age where online ordering has become more comfortable for customers and they can easily order 24/7. Goodness knows how many times I am ordering online in the wee hours of the morning! Keep in mind though that many customers may still feel uncomfortable ordering online and will want to speak with a “live” person.
5. Keep your FAQ section simple. I understand the need to certainly have all of the “legal stuff” on your website however try to keep this section as simple as possible so your customer does not feel like they are reading a lengthy legal document and signing their life away!
6. Send a personalized order confirmation to your customer. Let them know when their purchased items will be created and ready to ship out. I am still amazed how many emails I will receive from customers with a simple thank you and stating how impressed and appreciative they are to have received the personal email confirmation. Now only does this reinforce their confidence in your company, but it also provides another way of opening communication to and from your customer. They won’t feel like an order number!
7. Keep your customer in the loop! Send an email when their item ships out with all of the shipping information. This is one of my biggest pet peeves when I order on the internet. I call it the “wondering when and if my item will truly arrive.” Even if you have an automated system, there are ways to make sure you send an email to your customer when their item ships out. I send a personalized yet form letter email that includes the ship date, tracking number and approximate time for arrival.
8. Ask for feedback from your customers. Whether your customer provides feedback on Google, Yahoo, etc or provides direct feedback to you, asking for feedback is one of the best ways you can get a feel for how the customer feels about your business.
9. Encourage your customers to communicate directly with you. In addition to feedback, I always ask my customers to let me know that their package has arrived safely and that they are pleased with their order. This not only shows you care about them as a customer, but that you also care that they are pleased with their purchase. I finds this gives that personal touch that opens up communication with your customer. After all, they are your future customer and customer referral base and they are entrusting you to provide a service or item for one of the most special days of their life..
10. Remember to keep the “Joy” in your business. I am asked quite often if I ever burn out from running my business. Absolutely not! I love what I do and I really love keeping as much of a personal connection as I can with my customers. I always say my customers continue to inspire me and that is the truth. Every day I may receive fabric swatches from my bridal customers to match crystals and pearls to create their wedding or bridesmaid jewelry, emails with pictures and requests for ideas to match dresses, wedding colors and so forth. I love working with colors and textures. It is exciting to look at my order board to see what colors and styles I will be creating for the day. My business is truly joyful work and never boring. My customers can feel that enthusiasm and passion even over the phone or through an email.
These Top Ten Customer Service Ideas are truly my own and based on my own experience and philosophy of doing business. I hope that this article may inspire those of you online wedding vendors who are seeking ways to grow your internet business and at the same time retain some of the personal touches of your business. After 8 years in the wedding jewelry business, I can honestly say that all of the extra work I put into creating that personal touch has certainly paid off in the continued growth of my bridal customer base and customer referrals. I look forward to that continued growth in the future and you can too!