Posts tagged with "Expectations"

Boutique illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Boutique Customer Service Tips

Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try

By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!

Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.

Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?

Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.

Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.

Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?

Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.

As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.

Offering better customer service skills often doesn’t cost a dime, but it can make a world of a difference for your profits. Studies show that acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Plus, the success rate of marketing to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while it’s only 5-20% when marketing to a new customer. 

If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that. 

Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.

(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)

Top 25 Customer Service Tips

Focus on the customer in front of you

As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.

Be empathetic

Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.

Make an extra effort

Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.

Improve systems

Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.

Identify their needs

There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.

Use their name

Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.

Smile

Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.

Be generous

If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.

Don’t say “I don’t know”

Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.

Celebrate birthdays

Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.

Be clear about your policies

Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!

Honor your promises

Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!

Acknowledge frequent customers…

Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.

But make sure new customers feel the love, too!

It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.

Be transparent

Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.

Sincerely apologize

We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)

Make it easy to get in touch

Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)

Offer self-help customer service

If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.

Plan for the holidays

Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.

Respond quickly

Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)

Hire the right people

If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.

Be polite

Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.

Set clear expectations

Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.

Be human

There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!

Offer suggestions

Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.

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Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!

Course Records Broken At Dubai Marathon

Getaneh Molla of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the 20th edition of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon today (Jan 25) with both athletes producing spectacular course records that rank among the fastest times in the history of marathon running.

In excellent weather conditions, Ethiopian Molla clocked 2:03:34, achieving the first sub-2:04 time in Dubai. He improved the former course record – set in 2018 – by 26 seconds and became the sixth fastest marathon runner ever. It is also an unofficial world debut record by the 25-year-old.

Second-placed Herpassa Negasa also ran sub-2:04 with 2:03:40, making him the eighth fastest of all time, while Asefa Mengstu completed an all-Ethiopian podium with 2:04:24 for third place. In a stunning women’s race, Kenya’s Chepngetich achieved the third fastest time in history with 2:17:08. Only Britain’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Kenya’s Mary Keitany have ever run faster as the 24-year-old smashed the course record by more than two minutes.

Underlining the quality of the field, Worknesh Degefa – the winner in Dubai in 2017 – broke the Ethiopian record by 15 seconds to become the fourth fastest runner ever in 2:17:41. Her compatriot Worknesh Edesa took third in 2:21:05.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the event once again underlined its status as a world-class IAAF Gold Label Marathon.

Molla smashing the course record on his marathon debut and Chepngetich’s duel with Degefa were the undoubted highlights. The Kenyan was having problems identifying her drinks’ bottles at feed stations, and regularly fell behind, which may have cost her the Kenyan/African record held by colleague Mary Keitany, the second fastest in history with 2.17.01.

Molla said he did not know what to expect from his first marathon. “I certainly didn’t expect to run 2.03,” said the new champion. “I was hoping for maybe 2.05 or 2.06 so this is a great win for me.”

While the spoils were shared between Kenya and Ethiopia in the elite Marathon, in the wheelchair category, there was a Swiss double with Marcel Hug and Sandra Graf winning in 1h:24m:09s and 1h:41m:03s respectively before the trophies were presented by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Sports Council Deputy Chairman Mattar Al Tayer and Standard Chartered UAE CEO Rola Abu Manneh.

As usual, more than 20,000 runners also took part in the associated 10km Road Race and 4km Fun Run as the Middle East’s biggest mass participation sporting event celebrated is 20th birthday in style. The event was streamed live with no rights restrictions and is available to watch on repeat at bit.ly/2019DubaiMarathon_Live.

In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon was supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Aquafina and Gatorade, Dubai Holding, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA.

How do I start dating again?

You probably had high expectations for marriage but things happened,and you called it quits. It has been five years since you went on a date and are wondering can I date again. This is a question that many people who have gone through breakups, divorce or their partners have died often ask.

Certain aspects of dating have changed since over the years. Gone are the days when dating included coffee dates or meeting at the movies. We now have many online dating sites,and the probability of meeting someone online through various social media platforms is high.

If you plan on getting out there and dating there are several things that you need to consider.

List what you want from a partner

It is essential that you make a list of what you would like from a potential partner. While finding the perfect partner is a cliché there are qualities that you are not willing to compromise on. Your past relationships should guide you on what you do not want or what you liked. It is also vital that you stop comparing your future partner with your past. It is essential that you avoid people who are on drugs like tramadol addiction or alcoholism. This is because you do not want to deal with all the drama that comes with addictions too soon.

Have fun

Don’t be so engrossed in finding the right partner that you forget to have fun. Dating is supposed to be fun; look for activities that interest you and your partner. It is easier to fall in love when you are not so tense. Instead of this person being the perfect match try having fun without being judgmental. Avoid going to places that remind you of your ex; be creative and discover new places. The date does not have to be romantic and does not mind finding a new friend. You can choose to download one of the several dating apps available online. Look for one that is genuine and begin by creating friendships.

Work on yourself

Relationships can drain you and leave you with notime for yourself. This single period is the ideal time to finding and doing things that you are passionate about. You can decide to hit the gym and work out on your image. Do this for yourself and besides you might find someone new. As you invest more time inyourself, you find qualities about yourself that you have never discovered. Travel and expand your horizons, learn a new skill or language, take cooking lessons or simply change your wardrobe.

Change your attitude

A break up can change how you view relationships. You probably have negative preconceived ideas on different genders,or you probably have the attitude that all relationships hurt and lead to break up. It is good to take some time and grief your previous relationship. Find and focus on the positive. Avoid generalizations – what happened in the past is in the past. You have a high chance of finding love if you maintain the right attitude.

Do not be too “picky.”

There are those who approach a new relationship with a list of qualities that they are looking for; when you look at the list, you realize that it is impossible for one person to be that perfect. While we are not telling you’re to lower your expectations; we are encouraging you to be realistic about your expectations. Give people a chance and do not focus so much on their weakness. Not every person you come across will have the same qualities as your previous partner.

Take your time

Do not rush to get into a relationship. There can be pressure due to age to get married,but you need to go in your pace. Go for more dates and try different types of people. This will give you a wide variety of choices. Dating should be fun so relax and try out new things. While on a date take your time to ask meaningful questions. Where does your date expectations? Where do they see themselves in the next five or ten years? Questions also keep the conversation going.

First date

Avoid shifting the conversation to your ex or past hurtful relationships. People, like being valued and cared for and talking about your ex continuously,makes the other party feel unappreciated. First impressions matter; wear something that makes you feel comfortable. Take care of your grooming, apply some perfume and make every effort to be gorgeous. A shower is a must. For the first date select a place that you are familiar with. Always carry some extra cash in case your date cannot drop you. When choosing a place for the date, avoid a place you will constantly be bumping into your friends. This will create distractions; the date is about the two of you.

Guys your confidence matters; while it is normal for you to be a bit tense take short breathes and avoid overthinking. Do not take alcohol to cure your nerves; this can make your conversations odd and besides your date may not be into alcohol. Keep the conversation fun and maintain eye contact. One party should not do all the talking,but you should give your partner the opportunity to ask you questions and interact. Listening is an important skill that will earn you points. Nothing is annoying as someone who is constantly on their phone. It passes the message that you do not matter. When on a date be polite by turning off your phone. If you are a guy offer to pay on the first date. Make a follow up on your date to find out whether they got home well and how they are progressing after the date. You can then request for another date.

Conclusion

Dating can be a nervous time for some people. But, it is also an exciting time to meet new people. Focus on the conversation and having fun and do not make it too serious. It might take going for several dates before meeting the right person buteventually you will meet someone you like.

Hayley Kiyoko takes on Fuse TV’s Rant and Rave

Hayley Kiyoko premiered today on Fuse, FM and the Fuse social and digital platforms. An unapologetic artist who doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind, singer-songwriter-actress Kiyoko made a ton of buzz with her recent debut release Expectations and her rise to pop stardom continues to climb. For four weeks, Fuse and FM will run her electrifying music video and go-to anthem “Curious,” as well as exclusive interviews and content featuring Kiyoko.

Up first is a new episode of Rant and Rave, which premiered today on the Fuse YouTube channel as part of the Fuse First coverage. Hilariously going off and dropping the F-bomb, Kiyoko lets us in what makes her rant and rave and shares her hope for a progressive day where America will have an all-women cast on tv series The Bachelor. Kiyoko has dreams of being a bachelorette on the show with twenty-six women to choose from. Watch the Aries queen share her thoughts on equal pay, Coachella, online dating and more.

HAYLEY KIYOKO x FUSE

Hayley Kiyoko premiered yesteday on Fuse, FM and the Fuse social and digital platforms. An unapologetic artist who doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind, singer-songwriter-actress Kiyoko made a ton of buzz with her recent debut release Expectations and her rise to pop stardom continues to climb. For four weeks, Fuse and FM will run her electrifying music video and go-to anthem “Curious,” as well as exclusive interviews and content featuring Kiyoko.

 

Up first is a new episode of Rant and Rave, which premiered yesterday on the Fuse YouTube channel as part of the Fuse First coverage. Hilariously going off and dropping the F-bomb, Kiyoko lets us in what makes her rant and rave and shares her hope for a progressive day where America will have an all-women cast on tv series The Bachelor. Kiyoko has dreams of being a bachelorette on the show with twenty-six women to choose from. Watch the Aries queen share her thoughts on equal pay, Coachella, online dating and more. 

 

See the video HERE

 

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