Let’s face it, a lot of small businesses do not have the best customer service skills, however those that know how to run a successful small business generally do!
Those that do, should be treated with the same respect. After all, they are the ones who are working tirelessly to have your online purchase out to you, the consumer. So why should they be treated as anything less than human?
Why am I mentioning this? Well… because those small business owners often cop so much backlash from customers unnecessarily.
It does not take a lot of common courtesy to be kind. Often the reason for the lack of kindness can be simply a matter of the customer not understanding website jargon and the likes. Or even more in depth not understanding exactly what it takes to get an order out the door.
To the customer, it’s as easy as either sending a social media message or jumping on a website to order and make payment and then this beautiful item magically appears at the door a couple of weeks later with a delivery dude.
I get it, I too am a customer and it all seems straight forward. We order, the business posts the item and we receive it. Pretty easy right? But what happens in that time between the magical world of the internet taking that order and your order arriving at your door?
Let me explain a little. Of course, not all businesses are the same, so lets base this one our business Custom Wholesale Designs in particular so I get things right. (most handmade, or personally manufactured products will have a similar timeline of events I would imagine). Drop shippers and stockists would skip a few of these steps.
Remember this is the process for just ONE order, it is then repeated for Every Single Order that comes through the door (or the internet!) And every step of this requires a human’s interaction to make it happen! So, it’s a matter of repeat, repeat, repeat consistently.
*A new order is received (don’t forget we already have a pile of orders currently in our processing pile)
*We print your order
*We assess your order to see what artwork/materials etc may be required
*Your order goes to the bottom of the pile-(because of course all of the orders that are already in before yours will get made before yours!)
*When your order reaches the top of the pile, your order is graphically designed just for you by our designer.
*The graphic designer spends anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour working on your artwork for your product.
*The graphic designer sends your artwork file to be cut
*That cut file then goes to the bottom of the pile again (just like it did when your order was printed, because again, all of those orders that come in before yours will be cut before yours too)
*When your turn comes up, your order is cut on the machine, which needs to be set up by a human (Cut time can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2+ hours)
*Once its done cutting, a human assesses the item to make sure the product is quality and checks for things such as spelling errors etc.
*The item is then sent to packing, again to the bottom of the packing pile. (just like it did when your order was printed, designed and cut, because again, all of those orders that come in before yours will be packed before yours too)
*When your turn comes up, your item is securely packaged.
*It is then sent to labelling. This is where a consignment is created for the address label on your parcel. This is how you receive an email letting you know your parcel is on its way and tracking info. At this stage your name, method of post and the date are recorded for future reference. (in case of an inquiry by you as to your orders status or a damaged parcel etc)
*Your order is then filed, and we use our records to mark your order completed on the back end of the website.
That’s ONE order complete. And that’s with the assumption that nothing goes wrong during this time and causes a delay!
Now also remember , there is also other things that take up human time, like in-store customers and collections, answering of the phone and emails, attending to social media messages, marketing strategies ,stock ordering, paying wages, paying bills, general book keeping, re-sending damaged orders, taking custom orders, maintaining equipment, designing new products, cleaning work spaces and keeping SANE plus SOOO much more all going on at the same time as the above steps to get your order ready for you.
So please, if it takes a business 24hrs to get back to you, or your order is a day or two late in getting to your door, just stop for a second and think that business owners are human too and be kind! At the end of each day, we are all still just Mums,Dads,Sisters,Brothers,Nans,Aunties or Uncles. If something is broken, not quite right or missing in the post, just have a conversation with the business and try to work it out, because nine times out of ten, its not the businesses fault and they will be just as upset about it as you are and more than happy to help sort a solution
In my next blog I will give you some examples of common website jargon to help you shop better online! Watch this space.
Until then take care and most of all be kind!