I had a rather bizarre conversation the other day with the owner of a fairly new online business. He was interested in having a few of my items available through his site. Seemed like a nice guy, we had a good talk, and then I went home, looked at the site and started thinking... Hmmmm...
One thing he mentioned was a current customer who was giving him a bit of trouble about some slow shipping. He apparently had his hands full, and had to hold off on sending out their order. I mentioned that I always send shipping notification out when I ship something. Etsy has made that so simple now- a pre-written note I can just punch a button and send, and I can even add a clickable tracking number. He said he just didn't have time to send out shipping notification. Really? Well...
A couple of days later I placed an order with a company I'd never done business with before. And guess what- no shipping notification. So what happened? Well, I waited 6 days and emailed to ask the status. No reply. The next day I waited for the mail to arrive- still nothing, so I called. Of course it was on the way. But I don't think this was much of a time-saver for them since they had to go back and look it up and talk to me on the phone.
In the meantime I was getting a bit peeved. I find I am not very patient when I order online. I send the $$ in good faith, and then I really want to know when it's on the way. After all, I have no idea who you are or what your policies are. An automatic message only goes so far- I still want to know when MY package is on the way- and how it's being shipped so I know who to look out for.
So back to the new online company. Another thing he mentioned was that his customer could not possibly be in a rush to get his product as they couldn't use it for months. Second guessing the customer never seems like the best business plan to me. What if they are doing this as a test- they want to find out how quickly you ship and what kind of customer service you give- well, you've just failed miserably.
I work hard on customer service, always trying to give a bit more than expected- a little note on one of my own special cards, an extra 'lucky' bead, careful packaging. I find communication is key, especially if there is any problem with an order. Yes, we all make mistakes from time to time. I always apologize, offer to cancel the order, and offer a bit of something extra- whether it's free shipping, a discount or a freebie if there is any type of problem whatsoever. Why? Because repeat customers are my favorite kind!
Alright- this has been a bit of a rant! In conclusion, I think the best policy is to treat the customer as you would like to be treated!