As a small business owner, I field all of my own customer service inquiries and I get some unusual questions and requests in addition to the general run of the mill questions, but I never judge because it is not my place to. I often go out of my way to answer questions that sometimes are clearly stated in the product description because that’s my job and I want my customers to be happy and use my products safely.
Due to the nature of my witchy products, I have customers from various traditions, practices, and with levels of experience. I would never chide them for “not knowing something” or for “being a novice.” For instance, I am not a Wiccan, so I am not overly familiar with all the Wiccan traditional stuff, but I will research it and do my due diligence if someone has a question about one of my products pertaining to something outside of my realm of knowledge and practice. I want my customers to feel comfortable to ask me about my products or how to use them because a lot of witchcraft spells and rituals gets lost in semantics like do you know what I mean when I say this oil can be used to dress a candle? Now, are picturing a candle in a doll dress and somewhat confused? Clarification is key and I am guilty of not always knowing the scale of things. I recently ordered a Lilith statue for my altar and was surprised that it was about twice the size than I imagined. It wasn’t a problem, but it was my lack of spacial clarification. We are human we sometimes translate things differently or are not familiar with certain semantics or practices.
I work with dozens of different suppliers in order to make my products. I have suppliers for mundane things like shipping, packaging, boxes, bubble mailers, and shredded paper filler. I have suppliers for the product packaging, labels, bottles, pouches, containers, tins, etc. I have numerous suppliers for the actual ingredients, herbs, flowers, spices, essential oils, fragrance oils, aroma chemicals, alcohols, salts, powdered milk, waxes, carrier oils, soap supplies, candle supplies, colorants, glitter, and everything else. Occasionally, I have to veer off the beaten path for rarer items especially right now with so many shipping delays and doubly so for the things I order internationally due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I can honestly say about 99% of the time that I have had to inquire about an order, shipping, missing items, different items, that I am always treated with respect and stellar customer service.
This makes the couple bad customer service experiences that I have had stick out like sore thumbs. My advice to those businesses or individuals is this:
Listen to what your customer is asking or saying and think before you respond in what they may read as an unnecessarily caustic and unprofessional. They may have misinterpreted or misunderstood something that you think is completely obvious and are just looking for clarification.
Do not assume the skill level of your customer and that they are beginners or don’t understand something that wasn’t clear to them on your website or selling platform and come off like you know everything ever and everyone else is just profoundly stupid.
Furthermore, do not accuse them of complaining about what is a legitimate question or concern, let alone of not knowing what they are doing and suggest otherwise condescending remarks about their knowledge base.
Do not assume someone is contacting you just because they just want free shit for contacting you about the issue. If I want to return something or a refund, I will request it. Otherwise, it is not an issue, suggesting “you seem to just want this for free because you can’t afford it” otherwise makes you look like an unprofessional and downright elitist. Check your privilege.
Speak to your customers as you would wish customer support would speak to you if you had the same question. This can be hard. I’ve had to yell at Amazon a few times about a stupid issue that they kept telling me was fixed, but wasn’t. I, also apologized for yelling at them because I was frustrated.
Take the time to explain and listen to your customers concerns and questions. They are legitimate and more often than not can be smoothed over during the course of conversation without it turning nasty on either side of the conversation. When you respond to a customer in a condescending and rude manner, they probably will respond in the same manner.
If you can’t follow these simple things, you probably should reconsider being a business owner or selling things online or at the very least find someone to handle your customer service inquiries for you if you are incapable of doing so in an appropriate manner.
I honestly, very rarely, contact businesses or individuals that I purchase from unless something really needs attention. I really don’t like having to do it. I hate returning things. I’ve kept clothes that didn’t fit because I didn’t want to be a bother. My last order from one of my bulk suppliers sent the wrong lids for my bulk order of 4 oz bottles. They don’t fit anything else that I am currently using and I have yet to contact them to return them because they started making a selling hand santizer to fill the void during the COVID-19 shortage and they are very backed up at the moment fulfilling those orders - that is more important than me wanting to return two bags of lids I can’t use.
The point I am making is that if you love doing what you do as a business owner then show that love to your customers and clients because they probably love what you do too and will keep coming back if you share a symbiotic relationship with them.