Getting it right with your customers when you’re selling crafts online

Posted 12 May 2022 in Tips for Crafters

Great customer service is what sets you apart from the crowd, however, often, with online companies, it can also be the biggest reputation killer. Ultimately, buying online is all about confidence and you are always on trial against the high street! Always remember though, that it’s your customers who make your business happen, so treating them like royalty will always pay dividends in the long run.

When people judge your performance and how you interact with them as an online business, their yardstick is usually the high street, where the staff are highly trained in customer service. It’s not a fair comparison, but you can use it to your advantage to demonstrate the kind of customer service that can’t be beaten. 

When people tell you that you are too expensive

People will tell you that you are too expensive and that they can get the same thing for half the price on the high street. This isn’t true however, as behind your business, and what makes it different, is you and you aren’t available anywhere else for half the price! You can’t change the price as you have to pay yourself for your time and the raw materials, as well as any overheads, but what you can do is add so much value when customers come to you with queries and problems that you stand head and shoulders above the competition. There’s no need to even put the competition down when you show how positive you are and concentrate on what you do well.

When people ask you a question that you can’t answer.

Building people’s confidence when there is a problem is all about assuring them that you are going to deal with it and that any questions they have will be answered. It is a matter of pride to always go above and beyond and it marks you out as different. If you don’t know the answer to the question, it’s a great idea to go and find out and get back to the customer in a timely fashion.

When people complain

If you get a nasty email complaining about the way you have done business it is hard not to take it personally. We are all human after all. An effective way to change how you feel about it is to see the situation as an opportunity to establish your amazing reputation for excellent customer service. Take action and pick up the phone straight away if you can get hold of the customer’s number. Rather than concentrating on any negativity, show loyalty by doing something to restore their confidence in you. Phone calls are a great way of defusing trouble. Email is good for a trail of activities but the quicker you put a call in, the quicker you’ll avoid escalation. Communication requires clarity and email will not always create empathy and add value in times of trouble. Nobody likes being shouted at but facing the problem head on with a constructive attitude will make sure the customer is happy in the end. You can add value by offering a refund, a replacement and an apology for any inconvenience caused and thereby restore trust.

When everyone is asking you the same question

People get frustrated when they are not able to get their questions answered. An FAQ section on the website helps you to deal with commonly asked questions ahead of time and pointing people towards your FAQs will save you time. Keep your FAQs up to date as commonly asked questions change with time. You can also ask people via social media for generic questions about your field of business and then include them in your FAQs.

Getting your returns policy right

Be clear on your returns policy and deal with returns quickly.

You need to be really clear on your returns policy and how it works when someone wants to return something. The worst thing for your business is when a customer contacts you to return a product to find that your returns policy isn’t going to work for them. That’s going to be a real problem and that customer will probably give you negative press. They don’t want to hear that they aren’t getting the money back. Ideally, customers should already know how you will deal with things before you hit this scenario.

When you include lots of testimonials

Often people will read testimonials before they consider becoming your customer. Having plenty of honest reviews on your website is great for your business and even negative reviews can be made to work in your favour. Negative reviews offer you an opportunity to demonstrate how you deal with issues. If readers can see that you have an open and honest response to that person, that you make right with them and have addressed their problem then that builds their trust. Testimonials, good and bad, build authenticity. Having said that, make sure to have testimonials from your happy clients in full view! This creates trust among suspects and prospects. Also, you need to make sure that the testimonies you have showcased deal with common objections as to why people might not do business. If the objection is ‘Too expensive’ – communicate the value you and your products add, for example. Also encourage people to leave reviews on Google as this helps with your ranking as well!

So, in a nutshell, in times of trouble, add value to your customers. It never fails!

Add value by being insured were anything to go really wrong.

If you are attending craft fairs and markets it goes without saying that you are going to need insurance. Most event organisers will insist that you do have public liability insurance to make sure that any potential accidents are covered.

However, what if you are only selling online now? Is insurance really necessary? Is it adding value to your customers to have product liability insurance? Well, yes, it is, and we feel qualified to say this as we are one of the product liability insurance companies dealing with claims relating to a catalogue of mishaps. We have had claims relating to candles, wax melts, burners, baby toys, clothing and pet products. Accidents happen and it’s sensible to have a plan in place to protect yourself and your customers. Some people regard the cost of insurance as an overhead that they just don’t need but I’ve seen those claims come in!

Our underwriters, Hiscox, have always given us a 0% interest direct debit option so the cost of taking out an insurance policy to cover yourself and your customers can be spread over the whole year.

What’s more, if you decide to diversify and start a new range of products we can add it into your policy for free. Other product liability insurance companies charge admin fees and charges for making amendments but at Craft Insurance we aren’t like other product liability insurance companies in that we don’t charge any, no cancellation fees either. Our policies cover you for events, online, selling through other people’s shops, rent a shelf or through another online seller.  

When you need to get a quote for insurance

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