Customer Service Victory

My customers are great. Really, really great. Today, “my customers” is #1 on my list of things for which I’m thankful.

Here is why. Yesterday, I came home from a long, tiring evening working at Michaels to find this waiting in my mailbox:

It’s a thank you card from one of my recent customers. A thank you card! Have you ever sent a thank you note to someone from whom you’ve purchased something? I certainly haven’t, and this thank you note completely unexpected and was the best gift my customer could have given me.

This particular thank you note is made all the sweeter because this was one of my most difficult orders to fill, a fact of which I am positive my customer was unaware.

The customer in question wanted a Kindle cover using some sort of breast-cancer-awareness fabric. We went back and forth several times discussing various options, and she finally settled on this fabric, available from another Etsy seller, which would be paired with some of her own fabric, which she would send to me:

I duly created a custom listing for her in my shop and then waited. I never purchase custom fabric before I receive payment for the order (and the fabric) from my customer. You’d be surprised how frequently customers never actually follow through and make the purchase. So, after creating the custom order in my shop, I simply waited. And waited. It was nearly a week before I got the email from Etsy letting me know my customer had purchased and paid for her listing. Now that I had confirmation that she had paid, my next step was to go to my fellow Etsian’s shop to buy the fabric, and that’s where the trouble began. The fabric my customer had selected had sold 2 days earlier.

I didn’t begin to panic just yet. I convo’d the Etsy seller, asking if she had any more of that fabric available. Unfortunately, she wrote back almost immediately, letting me know that the yard of fabric she’d just sold was her last in that pattern, and she didn’t know where she could get more.

Still, I wasn’t quite panicking. After all, if she’d bought the fabric, it had to be available somewhere. It’s a distinctive enough pattern that I felt pretty sure I could easily find it from another vendor.

So, I began searching, and that’s when I started to panic just a bit. I quickly realized that the fabric was part of a 2010 line by Windham Fabrics, which puts out a new Breast Cancer Awareness line each year. Their 2011 line doesn’t have any fabrics that are even close, and every online store I could find only had the 2011 line. The 2010 fabrics were all out of stock.

After nearly 3 hours of combing the web for any fabric supplier that carries or carried the Windham Fabrics lines, I was about ready to give up. But I finally stumbled across a tiny little quilt shop in Minnesota that still had a few yards of the fabric available. Their price was outrageously high, well over 2x what I would have paid my fellow Etsian for a yard of the same fabric, so it was easy to see why they still had it in stock. But it was the right fabric, and that was all that mattered. I immediately bought it. After 3 hours of searching and experiencing mild panic all the while, it was worth it to pay a bit more to have the knowledge that I would be able to make exactly the cover my customer thought she’d purchased from me. A few days later, the fabric arrived safe and sound, and I made the Kindle cover and shipped it out on time, made exactly to my customer’s specifications.

I know my customer had no idea of the stress that went into finding the exact fabric she wanted, and that’s as it should be. However, the full history of that particular order makes yesterday’s thank you card arrival all the more appreciated and makes the whole experience feel even more like a customer service victory. It’s wonderful knowing that my craft is truly appreciated.

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About JennJill Designs

JennJill Designs provides the handcrafted goods of Jennifer Jill Araya. Visit www.JennJillDesigns.com to learn more.
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