I admit I am biased. I used to work in customer service for years and honestly, it is relatively easy to give good customer service. Just treat people the way you want to be treated.
If a customer asks a question and you have the time to sit down and type a reply, shouldn’t you actually make sure you answer the question? Or if the question was unclear, ask for clarification. Or type something like, “I believe you are asking me X. Here is the answer to that. I hope that addresses your concern, but if it does not, please let me know and I will work with you until we do have an answer for you. Thank you again for your interest.”
It only takes a few seconds longer to provide good service. If you’re in the business of dealing with the public, it’s a wise investment.
I swear, I should start a business where I answer the e-mails from online nurseries. Almost without exception, it’s pretty awful with all of them. Everything from never getting a reply (why provide an e-mail address then?) to getting replies that don’t answer my questions to getting replies WEEKS later…it’s bad. I’ve had individuals provide me with good customer service, but all the nurseries with the fancy web pages? Pretty much nope.
Let me think: In one and a half years of buying fruit trees…I’ve emailed Trees of Antiquity, Adams County Nursery, Cummins, Bottoms Nursery, and Bay Laurel and never gotten a response to my e-mail. Now, most of them were more helpful over the phone, but again, why provide an e-mail address if you don’t respond to inquiries? I think the only ones I got a fast and prompt response was from Isons and orangepippintrees. I mean, I’d always take a good tree with poor customer service over a bad tree with great customer service, but why not have BOTH?
I’m sure this fellow at Arboreum is a great guy. Just like I’m sure most Nursery folks are great individuals. But I don’t understand why so many people go into business for themselves with little idea of good customer service, and then don’t seem interested in improving it. It’s literally key to your business. I mean, sure, you can be successful without it. But you’d be even more successful with it.
And if you’re too busy to answer emails, don’t give an e-mail. Tell your customers you’d welcome phone calls. Don’t give an e-mail address unless you’re planning to answer the emails promptly and thoroughly. Otherwise you’re wasting the customer’s time by making him write an e-mail you have no intention of responding to, (it’s actually disrespectful because it implies the customer’s time isn’t as important as yours) and you might lose the sale if the customer gets irritated at the non-response and goes elsewhere.
Sorry about the rant, but gosh. The customer service is the Nursery industry seems to leave a lot to be desired.