My Customer Service Journey

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Alright, I had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but I feel like my relationship with my customers — from their experience in my web store to how I handle their complaints — has become the best it’s ever been.

My journey

A few years ago, I started a Facebook page showcasing my hobby of making homemade jewelry, which is something I learned with my mother. I can make beautiful earrings, necklaces, bracelets… that kind of thing.

The page was just for friends and family, but I did hope people would want to buy my things eventually. And soon enough, they did. My page began to grow, and it didn’t take long until handling my sales through Facebook became a hassle. I needed a proper web store.

My store’s customer experience

My main concern when looking to build my web store was, of course, my clients. I wanted my store to work well for them. The problem was: I didn’t have a lot of capital. Which is why I ended up having to make the first version of my web store myself.

I managed to make something functional using the services available at the time. But the store wasn’t beautiful, or responsive, and it was almost impossible to use it on a phone; you needed a desktop to browse it properly.

But hey! It was a start. And that was back in 2011, when mobile browsing was already getting big, but it wasn’t the main source of traffic online yet.

As things got better, I finally hired a professional firm to deliver me a beautiful and well-optimized website. That made the customer experience much smoother.

Customer service, however, still wasn’t going well.

My struggle with customer service

You see, I was running the store alone. I had also made the site myself, without considering some potential edge cases. People were ordering out of the country, placing orders by mistake, and placing orders too big for me to meet in time. I had to write a lot of apology emails back then.

Since I could barely keep up with the orders, you can imagine how tough it was to handle customer support and complaints. My inbox always had piles upon piles of unread emails.

It’s frankly amazing my business didn’t fail altogether back then. I was so stressed. But thankfully, my clients stayed with me and I slowly started getting things together.

My solutions

First, I looked into and downloaded a bunch of productivity tools for my computer and my phone. If you need any tools like that, Srcxp.com has a long list of them. To-do lists became my best friends, and I started setting time aside in my schedule to learn more about how to run a business and how to serve my customers better.

Second, I forced myself to admit that I needed help. It was a lot of fun working alone, but my clients were suffering because of it, and the number of orders kept increasing. This is why, for the first time in my life, I found myself looking for employees to hire.

Well, turns out my 20-year-old niece was about to graduate from business school, and she loved the idea of working with me part-time. She was my first hire.

The results

Now with my niece handling customer support and a couple of other employees helping with production, things are going much better with my store. Clients are more satisfied, and I’ve been learning a lot from my niece how to handle the financial and customer service sides of my business.

The improvement in service has led to an increase in sales. I even send out a personalized apology to old clients I felt I had burned with my bad customer service before. Some of them accepted the apology and returned to my store.

It is wonderful that business is going well. But honestly, getting fewer angry emails makes me much happier than making more money. My store is my baby, and I don’t want it being a negative experience for anyone.

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