A Reminder About Custom Requests
This is a vintage Dash of Inspiration post we’re running again as a refresher on Custom Requests. Thanks, Doreen!
Customer Requests – Yes or No?
First thing you need to decide is whether you wish to accept customer requests. There are a few things to consider here. I know not all of you can respond quickly. I think one of the reasons I have a good turn-around for custom requests is because being a designer is how I make my living, so from the time I get a request to the time the card is available in my Private Gallery is usually a couple of hours; so I’ve kept the customer’s attention and therefore make the sale.
- Do you keep your original card files (not the jpg/png versions you upload) organized so they are easy to find and saved in layers so that changes are quick? If you have to spend more than 10-minutes getting to the original file and making a quick change, then custom requests may not be for you.
- How long would it take you on average from the time you get the response to the time you can create the changes? In other words, if you work full-time and can only work on GCU cards on the weekends, it may not be worth your time to accept Custom Requests.
- How many as a minimum order is acceptable to you? I have mine set for 5, for a year I had it set to 25 and here’s the thing; customers don’t pay any attention to that number. So, if you say YES in your global preferences, understand that you will get requests for 1 card and be prepared to handle the request professionally whether you accept of decline the request.
Setting up for Custom Requests
Set up for this module can be found here: Manage Store >> Image and Cards >> Global Preferences
Set the minimum order quantity.
Add a message to the module. Use this message area to leave a professional message to communicate to the customer. Here is what I have in my message:
“Thank you for your interest in my custom cards. I will get back to you within 24 hours (except during weekends and holidays, when it may take a little longer). PLEASE NOTE: I may be getting in touch with you via my personal email – ?????.com – so be sure to check your spam folder if you haven’t heard back from me within 24 hours. Regards; Doreen Erhardt”
If you will be away on vacation for example; use this area to change your message to reflect that you will be gone from … to …, you can also turn this module off while you are away.
Why Accept Custom Requests?
For me it’s all about customer service. I’m a customer of many stores and I know that sometimes the reason I will return to a particular store is not only because of the good quality, but also because I was respected as a customer. Questions I asked were quickly and completely answered, requests I made were responded to with a willingness to please, and I found those I communicated with knowledgeable, pleasant and professional. These customer service qualities not only give me a reason to offer a positive rating to the store and product, but will also have me sharing my good experience with friends and family; thus offering a great network of potential new customers for that store.
If you open yourself up to Custom Requests, there is no doubt you will get the occasional request that you spent time on with the customer never coming through. If you simply can’t live with that, then ‘just say no’, but I think you’ll find that IF you respond within a few hours to the request, IF you make that simple change for only 1 card, and IF you get the customer their custom card within 24-hours of their request; you are not only likely to make that sale, but you are likely to have that customer return to your store the next time they need a card.
I have a woman who I asked me well over a year ago to put her friend’s name and age on a card. It was quick and easy for me to do, and it made her day. Since that first card, she returns to my store several times a year. Sometimes she just pops in to say hello and that she didn’t need customizing, but wanted me to know she found just what she was looking for; other times she doesn’t hesitate to request a quick change. My good Customer Service skills have given me a long-time customer who probably tells her friends and family who then come to GCU for their cards.
I will also note that when I get a request from a customer that wants major changes, I communicate back and forth with them first as Corrie suggests, even then 50% of the time the customer doesn’t come through with the purchase, but these little changes which are quick and easy are almost always a quick sale!
So you decide if these are worth your time, who knows how many ‘customers for life’ you might attract in the long way!
Here is last week’s post if you missed it: Nuts & Bolts: Handling Custom Requests.
HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL TIPS FROM CORRIE:
- After uploading your custom card (and it has been approved if you wish review), you can easily add the card to the requesting shopper’s cart. Just add the card to your own shopping card and go to checkout. You’ll see an option on the right side of the page: Share Card Link. Click the option. You’ll get a link to send to your customer plus the card will be put in their shopping cart. This is important: you do not need to buy the card, but you must leave it in your shopping cart until the customer has made the purchase.
- Stay in contact with the customer. Your first e-mail should include the information NOT to make a purchase until you inform them their card is ready.
- If a customer jumps the gun and buys the original card instead of waiting, contact GCU by phone at 877-347-6784 (M-F 8am to 6pm PST) or send an e-mail to kc (at) bigdates.com.