Most craft business owners are not just business owners: they are often the designers, makers, sellers, packers, customer services department, website designers, technicians, promoters, marketers and gophers for their business.
Phew! No wonder there aren't enough hours in the day!
These diverse parts of a business are each very important - but, despite wearing all these hats, it's vital to come across well to customers and create credibility. How will people know they can trust you otherwise? You haven't got the backing of a big, well-trusted brand, and you're busy, so what can you do?
For me, these are ways to help gain credibility with customers:
- Create good designs that people want to buy and make them to the highest standards you can.
- Make sure your customer service is second to none. Respond to any negative feedback or customer unhappiness immediately and do whatever it takes to make that customer happy.
- Be quick and speedy wherever you can - respond to emails several times a day, including evenings and weekends and send items out promptly (it may not be next day if you're making to order, but it should be as soon as possible and the customer needs to know when to expect it).
- Get featured in magazines (I don't mean paid ads) and newspapers. There's something inherently trustworthy about a featured product - and it needn't cost anything. I'll be blogging about how to get featured soon, so watch this space.
- Get customer feedback and publish it! Either have a page on your website, and/or have a page on an independent website like Free Index.
- Be easily contactable. Not just contact forms and email, but a landline phone number, Twitter and Facebook are all ways customers might want to contact you and the more ways they can contact you the easier it will be for them to trust you. Oh, and don't forget your blog - they may leave a comment on a relevant post. All this contact information should be easy for your customers to find.
- Add the personal touch whenever you can. Do this in emails to your customers, responding to requests, popping a hand written note in with orders or maybe even offering to giftwrap an order that's going direct as a gift.
- Show the real you at times in your blog, Twitter or Facebook (but be wary of putting people off by sharing too much!)
- Be nice to people, including your competitors. What goes around, comes around.
What do you think? Would you add anything else for increasing that all-important customer confidence? Leave a comment and let us know!