When I first opened my online shop, I made a big mistake. I was just getting started and was honestly still getting to know who my customers really were and what exactly it was they needed. I spent the first several months figuring out what products made sense for both my customers and me. I tried a variety of combinations in my shop: both printable as well as printed physical Thank You for Your Order cards until finally I thought I’d figured out what was going to be best. I emptied my shop of printables and offered nothing but printed cards. I was sure that my busy fellow handmade business owners would appreciate getting finished cards delivered right to their doorsteps and not having one more thing to create for their customers’ packages.
Long story short… I was wrong. I ended up losing what little momentum I had gained in my first few months and lost a TON of time in the process. Thankfully, the honest feedback of one of my loyal return customers quickly brought me back on track. It turns out many makers and shop owners don’t mind printing and cutting their own Thank You for Your Order cards – especially if you make it quick and easy for them. : ) After all, handmade business owners are natural DIY-ers… hello! Not to mention, most appreciate saving their hard-earned money by purchasing inexpensive, one-time-cost printables rather than printed cards. I look back and can’t help but laugh and wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?!”
There are certainly plenty of lessons to be learned from my experience, but man am I grateful for that genuine feedback that saved me from painfully wasting time, wondering what my customers wanted.
What started out as a custom order request became a simple yet invaluable moment of customer feedback that made all the difference for my shop. And the feedback from my wonderful customers continues to lead my shop and product offering in the right direction. Thank goodness!
So how can customer feedback be a difference-maker for your shop?
First things first. You have access to feedback from your customers in all kinds of places. In this case, the feedback came through a one on one conversation with my customer. However, there are many places and ways for your customers to communicate with you, both directly and indirectly, which is totally awesome! Facebook or other social media, email, craft shows, and even viewing and purchasing statistics give you insights to your customers. Are you getting a lot of custom orders for something in particular? Yep, that’s feedback.
Still not seeing the feedback you are looking for? Then ask for it! Put together a brief survey and email it out to your mailing list. Send a follow up email after someone makes a purchase from you and ask how their experience was – or ask about whatever it is you’d like feedback on. Post a question on Facebook to your fans and customers. The possibilities are endless, and you might be surprised how quick people are to share their opinions when they feel someone really cares about what they think (image that!).
Now before you get all excited about gathering feedback from your customers you have to realize… feedback is worth absolutely nothing if you’re not willing to listen and adapt.
Please don’t misunderstand here. I’m not talking jump through hoops or turn your shop upside down for the random, unusual request and I’m not implying to blindly change your products or pricing without thinking through the business side of things or staying true to yourself. Let’s not forget, it’s your business, you’re in control. What I am saying is our customers are the key to our success and by listening to them, we’ll be able to build businesses that our customers love and support. And when our customers are happy, our businesses will grow. Whether it’s fine-tuning your product lines, making improvements to your online shop or adapting the way you do business, even the smallest of changes can make a big difference for your shop.
Sincerely from my shop to yours,
PS: I’d love to hear how you’re getting feedback from your customers and what you’re doing about it. Hope to hear from you in the comments!
Anne McOmber – Totally Design
Hi, I’m Anne! I’m a wife and mom with an obsession with modern design, a passion for customer appreciation, and an inherited love for beautiful packaging. I spend my days playing cars, going on walks and helping my fellow business owners create lasting impressions and genuine relationships with their customers. Life is good!
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