Archive for the ‘customer service’ Category

Customer Service on the Web- Can It Be Achieved?

October 26, 2010

I thought that if we did business over the web we would lose the personal touch that we are so known for… boy was I wrong! The following is a series of emails I exchanged with Heidi, a bride purchasing a used mink stole to wear over her wedding dress. (When I check my email each morning I am notified of any on-line purchases and then I send an email to the customer. The following are the conversations with Heidi initiated by her $80.00 purchase of a mink stole.)
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Heidi
Thank you for you order. Tuesday we will be cleaning and covering the monogram on your new stole. It should be shipped out by Thursday. We will email you tracking information when it is shipped. Please let us know when you have received it.

Thanks for your purchase

Susie
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“Hi Susie,
Thanks for the email! I wondered if you could tell me a little more about it because the picture didn’t really show the collar so I was wondering if it is no collar/shawl/hooded ? It looks adorable and I’m really excited to have it for my winter wedding.
Thanks,
Heidi”

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“Heidi, it doesn’t have a collar it is beautiful it has a sort of set back look around the neck. If you are not in love when you get it let us know right a way and send it back!

Congratulations on the wedding!

Susie”
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“Susie,
Holy crap – this stole is awesome! I love the set back shawl collar. It is so unique and I really wanted something a little different. The color is perfect too because my wedding dress is a warm pink. Also, living in NC means I don’t really need a jacket or coat and so this is something I can wear often, even with my dressy black and white snake cowboy boots. 🙂 I’m just thrilled!
I had a Q about item 2287 – is the width adjustable? It looks a little overlapped in the picture. I’m asking because my best friend is a plus size (maybe 22W or 24W) and I wonder what the length is and if it is adjustable.
Thanks so much!
H”

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“Glad you love it Heidi! #2287 won’t fit but the other stoles on the site are all large enough- I just tried each and everyone on.

If it is okay with you I may use your note in my blog! No last names or addresses

Thanks

Susie”
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“Hi Susie,
Thanks for letting me know about the stoles and their sizes. I will keep an eye out.
SURE you can use my comments on your blog (sans last names and addresses). Please do! I saw some of your posts – love your new hair 🙂
I really appreciate what you do with This Old Fur. I don’t want to buy new out of respect for the animals and it’s such a great service and easy to buy “new vintage” from Hinsdale.
Heidi”

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After rereading these notes, I feel like I am accomplishing the same level of customer service and personal relationship as I do with my “face to face “clients. Buying a fur is a big investment, be it a used fur or a new one. I feel that the customer should be educated and treated with honesty no matter if they are in my showroom or on a computer. It is very unfortunate that not all web businesses share the same integrity.

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Fur at a Garage Sale?

September 14, 2010

Annual Merchant Garage Sale

This past Saturday was Hinsdale’s Annual Merchants Garage Sale. We have participated every year since it began over 40 years ago. Once a year the village cleans out the municipal garage, where they store all the big trucks and allow the merchants to set up shop for the day. This year, we set up for both our Formal Wear and fur salon and were joined by the bicycle shop, women’s clothing shop, a hardware store, housewares, a jeweler, books and a few more merchants that I can not recall. All the 1st time shoppers are shocked to see a furrier set up in a garage but when they check out the prices they are glad that we are there. Since the beginning we have participated more as a promotional tool and made a few sales of furs from the prior year at our cost. Since we opened our consignment section , This Old Fur, we use the sale as the kick off the season.

A very happy customer

 

I hope you can see from the photos that a furrier in a garage sale is different but fun. I am writing this blog to remind other Entrepreneurs that some times a little change and a lot a fun = sales and happy customers. As soon as we returned to the store we set the date for 2 Fur Fantasy Events! These are dress up parties to benefit charities.  Please let me know about any creative marketing ideas you have tried during this tough economy.

If the sales on Saturday were any indication – fur is the choice for this winter season!

A Customer Writes

July 3, 2010

I am on vacation until August 1st. I couldn’t stay away from my emails and this is what I found today………Hello,

My name is Regina and you sold my mother’s fur coat for me several months ago. I wrote about my experience for the San Francisco Chronicle and the article is STILL getting lots of attention and feedback.

I wasn’t able to mention you directly since my editors wanted to keep the story local, but I’ve sent dozens of people your website when they contact me or the paper for help. Here’s the article:
Thanks for your help!

Regina

Just a quick comment- used furs like new furs sell best when people start planning for fall and winter. For that reason fur consignment time begins the end of August each year with sales peaking when the weather gets cold.

How to choose a consignment shop

June 1, 2010

Are you thinking about bringing clothes you no longer wear to a consignment shop? What should you do first?
First, you should go out shopping at the consignment shops you are considering bringing your items to. Do you like the atmosphere? Do they provide good customer service?
Does it look like a boutique or a rummage sale? Are the items they have for sale things that you would wear? If they are styles and brands that you would purchase, chances are shoppers would purchase your items.

Next, you should ask about the consignment policy and procedures. Do you need an appointment? What is the split? When are you paid? How long is the consignment period? What happens to the items that don’t sell? Are you able to pick them up? Do they get donated and if so, who gets the donation receipt?

Once you find a consignment shop that meets your needs, go home and clean your closets. Be sure that the items you bring in are cleaned and pressed. You wouldn’t want to buy dirty clothes and neither would other shoppers. I strongly suggest that you sort your clothing by season. Most consignment shops are seasonal; they do not take summer items in November nor winter items in June.

When you bring your items in, be sure that the items are going to be accepted for sale. Confirm the date that you would need to pick up any unsold items. Then tell all your friends that you found a great place to shop. Remember: the more people that go into the store, the more sales will be made – so spread the word! When you get the check for your sold items, you will be glad that you told your friends. Perhaps you can even find a new outfit at the same consignment shop.

Oprah Please Add Additional No Phone Zones

April 30, 2010

Oprah is pushing her No Phone Zone and I strongly agree dialing or texting while driving is a big no no. I would like to suggest (due to personal experience) one other no phone zone. I pride myself on great customer service – today I had a customer come in while chatting on her phone. I quietly took her coats, hung them up, checked the pockets and patiently waited for her to end the call so I could get the information to enter her fur storage information. After about 5 minutes another customer came into the store with their arms full of furs. I hung up the coats, checked the pockets and began to get the new customers information. As soon as I asked customer #2’s name, customer #1 loudly said “Hold on” and turned to me saying “I was here 1st”. I bit my tongue until I could taste the blood and then I politely asked customer #2 if she would mind waiting for me to finish up with #1. Please customers if you would like assistance end your phone calls before you get in line! Thank you

Check Your Pockets Before Storing Your Fur

April 16, 2010

In my life, Spring means fur storage time and the beginning of my favorite game. Some people think Spring is Baseball season in my life the best game of Spring is What is the most interesting thing we will find in a pocket today? We take in about 50 coats a day for storage and cleaning and the 1st thing we do is hang them up and check the pockets.

There are 3 categories of things we find in pockets. The usual , the unusual and the embarrassing.

The usual consists of dirty Kleenex, small amounts of money, candy, empty plastic bags and rosary beads.

The unusual diamond earings, $700 dollars, a very old apple, a pacifier.

Then there is the embarrassing this year so far I have reached my hand in to find a plastic bag that was full of what the customer cleaned up after her dog, the little blue pill that is guaranteed to improve your sex life and the funniest was when a new husband brought in his brides coat and I reached in the pocket not knowing what I was pulling out. I just pulled out very skimpy red panties and handed them to him. I think his face was redder than the panties!

I write this suggesting you check your pockets carefully before taking your furs in for storage and cleaning.

How your fur is cleaned

March 5, 2010

It was about 3 week ago when I first began corresponding with a gentleman named Tom via email.  He had purchased a jacket on Ebay and it needed some minor repairs and cleaning. Tom was in San Francisco and couldn’t find anyone to do the work in that area. I referred him to some furriers not too far away. However he decided to send the jacket to us.  He sent it in a post office priority box- I have no idea how it fit in that box. When I opened the box his jacket jumped out like the snakes in one of those trick cans. I sent an email letting him know his jacket had arrived safely and that I would be sending it back in a much larger box.

I sent the jacket back to him this week and here is what I found in my email today!

Hi Susie, BEAUTIFUL!!!! Just Beautiful……..:) It looks and smells so good. And so soft!!!! WOW! what a difference. Now I understand why it is so important to have them cleaned a looked after. What ever you used to get out that dirty wet dog smell…. worked…. Now its to pretty to wear! LOL Thanks again I see the charge went thru. Very good and Thanks for that great big box. I gonna store my Toyota in it……. Bye for now Tom LOL>>>>>

Here are some photos of our cleaning process:

First we check over the coat for areas that need special attention.

Next we spot clean the lining.

Then we put the coat into the cleaning machine with the cleaning compound.

After the tumbling process, the coat gets checked again for repairs and minor repairs are performed.

Finally the coat gets brushed out and the lining is steamed before it goes into the vaults for storage.


I am always preaching the importance of cleaning your fur.  In his note you can hear it from a customer. It makes a difference. The end of winter is around the corner- It will once again be time to store and clean your furs. Your fur will look better and last longer with proper care. Remember our vaults are temperature and humidity controlled. So make sure where ever you decide to send your furs for summer camp they are comfortable and well taken care of.

Great Customer Service Should Be Part of Any Good Business

November 18, 2009

I pride myself at providing great customer service. And, I get so aggravated when I don’t receive good service. Today was an example of one of the frequent acts of poor service that can easily be avoided.

I was in line at a local bakery behind two other people. The phone rang about four times. Each time the clerk answered the phone and helped the on-line customer while leaving the customer she was waiting on. I walked out at the fourth interruption as the first person in line had still not been helped.

At our store, Hinsdale Furriers, the policy is clear. Try not to answer the phone while helping someone else. If you do, tell the caller there are people ahead of them and ask if they can hold. Or take their phone number and ask to call them back. We also have voice mail saying we are busy with a customer and will phone you back as soon as possible.

The bakery lost a sure sale, while the fruit store down the street gained a sale. I suppose we all enjoyed healthier treats at our staff meeting.