HELLO ALL! My name is Katie Brinck and I have been a consultant since June 2015. Sonnie asked me to write about giving great customer service. I think we all know that we need look no further than Shop the Roe for a great example of this! But since she asked me, and since I love her dearly, I will impart some reflections on what I’ve learned in my 18 months with Lularoe.
In July 2016, Sonnie roomed with me during Lularoe convention. We had made it to the end of a long and exhilarating day. It was 10pm, and Sonnie had spent the entire day walking her cute little pregnant body all over Ontario California. In the blazing heat. (Oh yeah, you remember the heat. But imagine being 6 months pregnant. Mmm-hhhm. That’s what I thought.)
I was seconds from crashing into bed when I looked over and saw her on her phone, answering messages from Shop the Roe customers that had likely been coming in all day.
“Why are you still answering them? They’ll figure it out!” I said. (I know, I’m ashamed).
And she looked up and said with her sleepy blue eyes (have you SEEN those eyes? Gorgeous.) “I just try to remember that they’re a person too.”
That’s it. Life changed. Lesson learned.
I think of that simple and wise phrase often. Most of our daily communications revolve around technology. We don’t talk to people, we text. Or tweet. Or message. Or email. And I think a lot of the time, we forget that there is a PERSON on the receiving end of our words.
Think of an experience where you received GREAT customer service. Did you think of one? Really though, stop reading and think. (Yeah, I’m going to make you participate. If you want to get real crazy, you can write it down.) What specifically stands out to you about that experience? What did that person do? What DIDN’T they do? How did you feel after interacting with them?
Most of the time, good customer service stems from small, simple, consistent practices. I love the phrase “Throw kindness around like confetti”.
Be genuine. Be sincere. And give little sparkles of kindness to others who pass you by. Say “hello!”. Smile! And my favorite holiday trick: say “Merry Christmas!” Or “Happy Holidays!” Try it next time you check out at the grocery store. Watch the clerk light up like a Christmas tree. People’s reactions are amazing!!! They LOVE for you to say those simple words.
Build upon this foundation of simple acts of kindness.
Now sometimes, especially in the retail world, customer service can get a little more complicated. Here are some tips to giving an excellent level of care, even when you just want to tell people what you REALLY think about them. (You know you’ve been there. I certainly have!)
KEEP AN OPEN MIND. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Is this person REALLY determined to make your life miserable? Or did they just expect/understand the situation differently than you? It can feel a lot the same. When customers have very high expectations, their let-downs are big. And they want you to KNOW IT. Which leads to my next tip.
ACKNOWLEDGE. Feelings are real. Do not dismiss them! When you validate what someone is feeling, they are able to move on. When we pass over or ignore their feelings, it continues to boil inside of them. Give them a chance to release it! Use the “feel, felt, found” technique. “I can tell that you feel really frustrated. I have felt that way myself at times. But you know what? I have found that when a customer is willing to work with me, we are usually able to make it right”. Acknowledge. Connect. Sympathize. BUT!…
SET LIMITS AND CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. Know where your boundaries are before a customer crosses them! Good customer service does not mean dropping everything else you’re doing to please a customer. It does not mean having your eyes glued to your device in case someone needs something. This is your business! Take pride in running it the way that you are most comfortable! Let your customers know your hours. Set up your email and Facebook business page with auto responses, reassuring customers that you will get back to them when you’re able! Be choosy in your wording! Instead of saying “Sorry you had to wait forever”, focus on the positive! “Thank you so much for being patient! I am able to help you now.” Customers will quickly learn your routine. And if you’re consistent, they will worry less and trust more because they will have a foundation of positive experiences with you.
CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE RELEASE! Choose something or someone where you can vent all of YOUR angry feelings. Because sometimes customers cross that line, and they have no idea what’s happening in your world. They have no idea that you stayed up all night editing photos, and double checking your inventory, or that you spent two hours TRYING to get the holiday leggings! When YOUR feelings are boiling up inside of you, go to your safe place to release! Call your sponsor and say “I just need you to listen while I rage a little!” Take a piece of paper and write all those crazy things you want to say to your customer! (And then burn it of course). Go for a walk and take some deep breaths.
Go to a Facebook page with thousands of other consultants and vent your feelings! WAIT! WHAT?!? NO. DO NOT DO THAT. We all have wanted too. And most of us have done it a time or two. But it does no good to air your dirty laundry in a public forum. Even if you are frustrated. Find a different way! Do not make it public! (Yes, information shared in a Facebook group is public, even if the group is “closed”.)
And don’t act in the heat of the moment! Don’t email the founders of Lularoe in a moment of rage or disappointment . Because you know what will happen? You’ll wake up feeling super embarrassed, and realize that you were acting irrationally. And you probably won’t get the response you were hoping for. Do they want to hear our frustrations and concerns? OF COURSE! Because Lularoe strives for great customer service. And they want to hear you! So make it easier on them by using the appropriate channels to express YOUR feelings.
PERSPECTIVE. Take a step back and ask yourself, “In a month, will this matter? A year? Five years?” Most likely no. But if the answer is yes, then stop and really THINK about what the best course of action is.
In September, I had an online hostess party that went fairly well. The hostess had never worn Lularoe and a lot of her friends were newbies. A couple weeks after the event, the hostess messaged me that her friend (on the other side of the country) was very disappointed in her purchase. She felt let down that the clothes weren’t “what they were cracked up to be”. I looked back in my records (Thank you STR!) to see what she had ordered. Heathered leggings. Amazing product, but different from our famous buttery-soft leggings, yes?
So the following emails commenced:
“Hello Darla! (Name changed, obviously).
I just wanted to check in…Jane mentioned that you may have been disappointed in your order from me. I am so sorry! Which items were the cause of concern? I would love to make it up to you and show you how amazing Lularoe can be! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!
I expected the leggings to be of a heavier material and was disappointed that I have to treat them as I would delicates when washing them.
Thanks for your offer to make it up to me but it’s no big deal, I just won’t wear them on a daily basis.”
I totally understand. Each pair can be different, especially the heathered weave. As a thank you for trying out something new and supporting your friend, I want to send you a free pair on me! I love what i do and know it’s hard to shop online! So enjoy this gift from me ?
I hope you have a fabulous day!”
I just wanted to let you know that I did receive your package. Thank you very much but you really didn’t have to. I do like the color and the material does seem heavier. You are a great sales woman!
Thank you again!”
Now. Will she buy Lularoe again? Who knows. But what I DO know is: I did my best to make a situation right, I stood behind my business and my product, and I tried to be a day maker. And I know I am not the only one doing this! Just this week, a customer commented on how great consultants is what makes this company so special. And I know she wasn’t referring to me because this was my first interaction with her. She was referring to all of you! Everything YOU do each days helps MY business. The things I do help YOUR business. These are OUR customers. Thank you for making this such a great family to be a part of! YOU are doing amazing things! Look at where you are! Did you ever think you would be here? I never would’ve dreamed that I would own my own clothing boutique! But boy, am I glad to be drinking this Kool-aid. Keep consistently offering that stunning customer service, and you will find that your customers love Lularoe as much as you do.