Bringing people and objects together gives me the warm fuzzies. I got a feeling when I first saw Barney. It was love at first sight. Same as with my husband. I want others to feel that too. Remember that thing you really wanted as a kid, and remember how that made you feel. That’s what I want to recreate. During the ENTIRE shopping experience. That’s what we’re taking about today: Customer Service.

    That starts when I get a cha-ching that an order has been placed. I move into action like Batman running to the bat signal. First thing I have to say: Do not biff it on shipping. I know many friends who have ordered from other sellers, and the shipping experience was awful. If the post office is open, there’s no excuse to not be shipping. At least Monday - Friday. 

    For the most part, we ship the very next day, unless you order after 10 am on Saturday. Then it’s Monday. Do not mark any order shipped unless its in a box, ready to go out the door. People are trusting you with their hard earned money, do not take that lightly.

    I won’t go step by step to packing a box. I’ll go over that if I ever start teaching a class on this. First thing, use a good box. Don’t use anything to thin walled that might crack under pressure. Good old corrugated cardboard will do just fine. 

    I have a few steps to packing material. We use postal paper to fill in the gaps, and any good quality packing materials that we have that can be re-used. We don’t want to leave too big of an impact on the environment. The item itself gets wrapped in a nice brown tissue paper, this part is just for presentation. Add more filler on top, don’t ever have the item exposed to the top of the box. We want an experience here, let them unwrap it, like its a gift.

    Now, lets get everything printed. That means a shipping label printed on a sticker label. It’ll look cleaner, and it’ll conserve tape. Two copies of a packing slip, one for the customer and one for your records. 

    This step is completely optional, but it give the customer the experience we’ve been talking about. If you follow suit, I won’t say you stole my idea. Use it! Thats why I’m typing this. I have a little card with our logo on it that is blank on the inside. I write a personalized note to each and every customer. The very first thing I do is thank them. Always thank the people helping pay the bills. I tell them a little something abut the item they’ve bought, where it came from, what drew me to it, things of that nature. Make a connection with the customer, in your own handwriting. Make them feel special. 

    The packing slip gets folded up inside the card, the card goes in a matching brown envelope with their name written on the outside. That goes on the very top. It’s the first thing the customer sees when they open the package. A card, with their name written on it by an actual human being.

    We’ve also been doing giveaways recently in the form of drink koozies. I like free swag. Most people like getting a little something extra and unexpected. I’m in a unique situation, where my husband is an artist, we own our own screen printing press. I can screen print something with very little overhead cost. Now, if you can’t do that, there are other companies that you can order things from. I will go ahead and give you a tip, buttons are cheaper to get than stickers. 

    Before we tape up the box, close the flaps and shake it. If anything moves, add more filler, give it another shake. 

    Packaging well will do two things, it will ensure the items arrive in good order, and it lets the customer know that you took care in the process. Have you ever gotten something through the mail that was poorly packaged? That gives you a feeling, we don’t want that. Slap a fragile sticker on that if necessary. Anything glass, or anything delicate. 

    Don’t biff it here. In the realm of running a small business online, this is literally the easiest part. Pack it, get to the post office. Customer service is so important, because your customers, will make or break you. You need to make sure you give the same level of care to the $225 order, to the $5 order. For our swag, there’s no minimum order price, everyone who places an order gets one. 

    Let me repeat myself: Don’t biff it on the shipping!

Brooke Gilbert