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Customer Service: Or How to Get the Most out of your Holiday Shopping Season for Buyers and Sellers.

Discussion in 'Customer Service 2004 by PatentLeatherShoes' started by Patentleathershoes, Nov 7, 2004.

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  1. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Be right back....I have to reboot...

    I will edit this comment out and come back in a sec with continued info...


    I am back...they are working on the phone lines in the neighborhood and that is why my computer got screwed up. I am logging off for a few hours until their work is complete so I don't fry the computer.... but will run this workshop to very late in the eve to make up for lost time...
  2. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    Technical issues resolved....on with the show!

    Alright, back to determining what is being said..versus how its being said.
    QUite simplistically speaking, if someone types in all caps it could be they are hoppin mad and SHOUTING at you, or they could work as a data entry analyst and their keyboard could be locked in the all caps mode, so either they don't really think about it or can't change it. If you get an all caps message try copying and pasting into a word processing program and make it lower case. Sometimes that makes a big difference.

    Also, if a person insults you personally in an email, do not lower yourself to throwing insults back. it solves nothing and only escalates the situation. If it is not completely lewd and inapropriate but implying something about your professional reputation, delete that part and go forward looking at the rest of the message. It can and should be addressed, but if you start throwing jabs at them, you have lost control of the situation and they are getting the rise you are looking for. You have no obligation to deal with this person in the future, but you still have to complete the transaction whether its to end or complete the exchange.

    okay...back on track
    More complexly.....

    Is the person

    1) Experiencing buyers remorse?
    2) Trying to negotiate without doing so openly?

    "Oh, if only I had listened to my conscious and not bought this, i knew it wouldn't fit me...oh, i don't know what the heck i am going to do with this dress now...throw it out? i am sure you would not like me to do that, would you?" (and they want you to jump in and offer a solution)

    3) Is there an issue that you overlooked?

    4) Are they mistaking you for someone else or are they only exhibiting "their way"

    And it could be hidden a bit. They might not come right out and say it.

    What I mean by "their way": there are many ways people are educated over the years rightfully and wrongfully by consumer groups, by popular culture, and by ideas exposed to them by their families. Everyone had an uncle, sister, or father who was the one that played "hard ball" in the family and the one that always went to the car dealership or whenever a major purchase was made. They had been taught when you don't receive satisfaction, ask to speak to their manager!! And the interesting thing is that there are a few times when yes, speaking to the manager is apropriate, but more often than not, there was nothing amiss and the customer just wasn't being told what they wanted to hear. The salesperson was acting completely honestly, but somehow when hearing it from the manager they feel better....or more likely for the hardball negotiators in your family...they think that by somehow asking to see the manager is threatening to someone.

    When we work for ourselves, or deal on the internet, the standard "dance" of negotiating or when something is wrong is not the same, but there are people that will still use "techniques" to try to achieve an outcome. They may try to coerce "i will leave you a bad mark...if" :I will report you to your online payment service if..." this is exactly the same customer who you witnessed as a kid saying "I am going to report you to your manager!" "but i will give them a good report if you do THIS for me."

    So when you break it down and translate it into the language of an old style department store, you might have remembered what you would have done in that situation if the person was right there. Its the language of cyberspace that just makes it feel like we have never come acrossed a communciating or negotiating style before.

    What would you do when someone was in person and they came into your shop?

    - calm them down and get the situation in hand
    - perhaps reassure them that you want to understand the matter at hand so you can work together to make things right and make them a happy customer (note i am not saying right out to accept a return, you are working TOGETHER to resolve it)
    - back up and repeat what you perceive that the person is requesting, even if you have to really interpret it to make sure you are clear.
    - ask questions that require a "yes" answer if it is not quite clear what they are unhappy about

    Sometimes it is not that complex, sometimes you can cut to the chase, but not all the time.

    This is not a "formula" but just little tidbits if you really get stuck

    The key is to keep things in control, and offer choices that require a yes or no. When you leave it open to "what do you want to do about it?" people are not sure what to do.
    Just like if you put an ad in the paper saying "best offer" people don't respond but if you say $20,000 or best offer...at least they have an idea what you are getting at.
  3. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    It is hard to provide exact solutions without specific scenarios... so...nothing here is set in stone...or definitive, just ideas to consider to jog your memory or get your writer's block unstuck whenever you need it by seeing things in a slightly different perspective. Its a subject that could be an entire book, and has been volumes.

    Know that customer service, sales on the internet, just like life in general is a two way street. No one can really know what another person sees or perceives...one can only just imagine unless you ask...so don't make assumptions, take responsibility for what you have in writing as far as your "policies"...nothing is "implied"...so if it is important to you whether you have return policies, sell as is or offer a guarantee.....put it in writing. Otherwise it is open to interpretation.

    Sometimes it involves lending a hand and using a bit of compassion, but it is okay to say no at times and stand your ground, and just like if you owned your own old fashioned department store, you can point to your sign (your TOS) and say "i am sorry...but this is the rules that are posted on the door. But thank you for your patronage". as long as the individual who put the sign up with wisdom, and not because they were growing annoyed.

    Business can still be done on a handshake and with good will, but on the buying end, clicking "buy it now" or "add to my count" you are extending your hand to the seller, and when they confirm you payment, they have shook it. And just like you wouldn't make a promise with a handshake that you willl not keep, do your research to make sure you can uphold your end of the promise before you get swept up in the moment.

    If somehow you cannot, be honest and upfront immediately...no one likes to shake someone's hand while they are crossing their fingers behind their back, but just know that even if a seller decides to work out your mistake, in the end you are ultimately responsible for signing the contract just as it is for the seller to disclose.

    Though this run on sentence that is this workshop is slowly drawing to a close though I have not even begun to scratch the surface to my satisfaction on any of the points raised as they could be a book in themselves, and will make way for Hollis in the a.m., I hope that the proverbial conversation doesn't stop. That we keep looking for better and more efficient ways unique to this niche, and building upon what we have experienced to not feel that every transaction is starting over from scratch. Even though we work alone many times and our customer service department, receptionist, and manager are all one and the same.....but even though we don't see eachother faces, whether buyers, sellers, or new associates and friends connected by words on a screen, we are clearly, clearly not alone.
  4. Bravo, Chris!
    Excellent workshop. Thanks so much for all the information you provided.
    Much food for thought.

  5. Patentleathershoes

    Patentleathershoes VFG Veteran VFG Past President

    You are most welcome, Marie.

    Thank you everyone who has contributed with thoughts, suggestions, and questions. I truly appreciated it! Thank you for all of your time.

    Watch the Workshop section later today where Hollis (pastperfect2) will begin your journey through the care of vintage.

    ~THE END~
  6. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Another thank you, Chris. This was really excellent!

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