I have both seen and personally experienced lackluster service from small businesses. And a work-from-home entrepreneur might be tempted to adopt a laissez-faire attitude towards customers. “I’m a busy parent,” he or she might say. “So people need to understand that I have a life and stuff happens.”
Before I continue, let me just say this one thing up front. I have six children. I blog. I keep house. I home school. I dabble in small business consulting and web design. So believe me, I know what it’s like to be busy, burned-out, and just plain overwhelmed.
But still, you’ve got to be professional when you’re a……professional!
1. Letting customers know when you’re going to be away for a while due to surgery, a sabbatical, a sick child, a wedding, a funeral, etc., etc. Notify them via email, a post on your blog, a tweet, or a Facebook status. But don’t just drop off the face of the Earth.
2. It means, in the event of a true emergency, you’ll make arrangements for someone to notify clients of the situation.
3. It means not taking new orders when you know it might be weeks….or months, before you can fulfill them. Yes, the money is tempting, but it’s better to be honest and upfront about turnaround times.
4. It means promptly returning a customer’s money when something is not right or when you won’t be able to deliver the product or service. They shouldn’t have to hound you for it. Stalk your Facebook page. Commiserate with other unhappy customers. File Paypal claims. You get the picture.
5. It means carefully tracking your shipments so there’s no question about if and when you sent an item.
6. It means following the Golden Rule and giving the kind of service that you’d like to receive!