Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Make Customer Service Your Number One Priority!

Being on so many social networks, I hear alot of talk & complaints about customers who are unreasonable, demanding, lying, scamming....yada yada yada....but sellers....stop and put yourself in the place of the buyer.  Yes, there are scammer's and difficult people out there, no doubt about it.  When I worked in Customer Service for a mail order catalog, I was positive that I must have talked to every one of them in the United States and a few overseas!!! :-)  But, really, people are mostly good, and just want to be treated like they matter, that their purchase is important to you and that you want them to be satisfied with their purchase.

Some time ago, I had a customer out of the country, who wanted me to ship a heavy order by UPS Ground (which I have never done) and specify a broker that she wanted to use.  I have never filled out waybills, or done anything like this, not even on in my previous job!!  My first reaction was....what a pain!!  I then looked at it a different way.  I decided that this was a great learning experience! I contacted UPS, and riddled them with questions on how to do this.  In the end, I helped the customer save a bundle on shipping charges, her order arrived in perfect condition and in record time!! I had a very happy customer, and I learned something new while making a nice profit.  I am sure that this customer will shop with me again!!

Whenever I have a customer contact me with a problem with an order, I do one thing before I respond.  I check their feedback.  If a customer has 100% positive feedback, it is most unlikely that they are lying or trying to scam you.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  If it's a low cost item, and it's damaged, either replace it immediately if you can, or refund immediately.  If it is a more expensive item,  ask them to return it for a refund.  If you have shipped the item by UPS, you can go to their website, and request a call tag (UPS goes to the customer's home and picks up the package from them within 2 - 3 days) or you can send them a prepaid label to make it easier for them to return.  Think about what you would want if the tables were turned.

Trust me, you may end up spending a few dollars...and maybe you will lose your profit from that sale, but in the long run, it will be worth it.  Remember, that customer will still be giving you feedback, and hopefully glowingly positive feedback!!  Future customers will read that feedback, showing that you responded quickly and took care of the problem.  This will build customer confidence in your & your business. 

Who would you rather do business with??  Someone who assumes you are a scammer?  Or someone who treated you like the important customer that you are??  I know which I would choose!

The Dilemma of Working from Home!

This morning, I awakened with the thought that I would really jump in and get everything done today!!! I have eBay orders to pack & ship, merchandise to photograph, listing to do, ironing of linens & packaging them for sale.  I have two webinars to watch & listen to, a book on Social Networking tips to read, business materials to order....and on and on.  

Unfortunately, life does not always co-operate with what you have planned!  It seems to interject itself into your "working" time, screaming that "I need to be taken care of RIGHT NOW"!  Four phone calls & 3 different representatives from a pharmaceutical company, just to get my husband's diabetic strips shipped!! Call to doctor to get the prescription straightened out!!  Cats need to be fed (again), oops....someone did something in the litter box.....gotta clean that!  That load of clothes that I put in the washer at 8am this morning really need to get into the dryer, and oh, those clothes in the dryer need to be folded!!  Are your days like this???

No matter how hard I try to set aside a specific time to run my business, and do what I have to, it just doesn't work out!!!  I am my only no one else is going to step forward & do what needs to be done!   

Four cats & a retired husband, who has NO hobbies, No interests what so ever, who is recovering from a surgery, and who loves to talk about everything & anything from sunrise to sunset, keep demanding my time.  And today, I am frustrated.   I want to yell, scream & tell everyone to leave me alone for just awhile!!  But I won't.  I will do what I have to, and then squeeze in my work time between my family responsibilities.  Is this the way it's suppose to be??

Now I must end this little rant, and get busy with work.  Go pack those orders & get them shipped.  Maybe I can listen to the 2 webinars this afternoon....if nothing else demands my time. 

Soon, I will have a new office.  Yes, a spare bedroom.  I am re-doing the room to fit my needs for the business.  It has to wait until Spring though.  Hurry hurry Spring!!!! :-)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Two and 1/2 years ago (April 2012), I closed down my eBay store, Sandy's Collectibles and More, after 9 years.  The store was very successful.  I loved what I was doing, and I was making money & friends doing it!! I sold mostly crystal goblets & glassware of all kinds. When a buyer searched for a specific brand of goblet, if I had it in my store, I would come up on the same page as in the eBay search.  Life was good, and I was enjoying what I was doing.  I was good at it too!

In 1999, my mother, who lived with us, had surgery that left her paralyzed from the midsection down.  She was 72 years old.  I took care of her at home for 3 months, at which time, she had a stroke & had to go into a nursing home.  I visited her as ofter as I could, and after a few months, I was her only regular visitor. She passed in 2005, after several visits to the hospital.  

In 2006, six months after my mother passed, my father had a stroke that left him unable to speak or write.  He had no way to communicate.  On top of this, he had dementia, and was very angry. I was the only one who could control him, hence several calls from the nursing home & eventually the assisted living facility, to calm him down.  He was 83.  I  became his Power of Attorney, handling not only his medical issues, but also his financial problems, which unknown to me & my step-mother, were massive.  Dad passed away peacefully in September 2008.  He donated his remains to the Creighton Medical School, and two years later, he was cremated & his remains returned to me.  

Dad's death started a chain reaction.  From September of 2008 to March of 2009, I lost two uncles, one aunt, one cousin by marriage, a long time friend to cancer, and a friends 7 yrs old son to cancer. 

In 2010, I felt myself sliding into a deep depression & sadness.  I had lost so many of my loved ones, seen so much that I never want to see again, dealt with lawyers, doctors, nurses, therapists.....more than I ever wanted to.  On top of all of this, I was living with an alcoholic husband, who was killing himself slowly.  In 2011 he had a heart attack that nearly killed him.  The doctors said his body was already starting to shut down from the alcohol.  Two weeks later, I had a complete meltdown.  

Nothing like that has ever happened to me before.  I felt it happening for more than a year, felt myself sliding, but could do nothing about it, until I finally crashed.  I had just made an appointment with a psycologist for the following week, but it was too late.  I ended up watching myself break......screaming, crying, shaking, unable to speak, unable to stop.  I was in the shower, unable to turn the water off, unable to do anything but stand there hanging on to the shower door. 

I stopped doing everything.  I closed the ebay store.  I stopped going to auctions, thrift stores, out with friends.  I stayed home and stayed on the computer all day long.  I had no energy.  No interest in anything I loved.  I also have Fibromyalgia, and it flared to where I could barely move.  I was literally a mess.  I had one true friend who knew, and stood by me.  I have never met her personally, but we talked on the phone many many times.  She did what she could to help me. 

Fast forward 2 1/2 years, after several therapy sessions & thousands of dollars (after insurance paid), and a lot of hard work, I am back.  I have never felt better than I do right now.  I had to make some changes in my life, and my husband had to make some serious changes too.  He no longer drinks.  He has come to the realization that it was killing him.  He also realized that if he didn't quit, I was leaving after 44 years of marriage.   

The changes I have made;  I no longer get heavily involved in politics, I help who I can...but not to the extent that it puts my own well being in jeopardy.  I eliminated a few "toxic" relationships, where I was used & not appreciated.  I've put me first for once in over 44 years.  When I am tired, I take a nap.  When I am angry or upset, I will tell you.  I am back going to auctions, estate sales & thrift stores!!!  And I have reopened my eBay store!!! Again, I am doing something I love, something I thrive on!  And it is doing great after only being back for less than 2 months!!! 

The moral of this story???  Never let anything or anyone suck the life out of you, or take your joy away.  Yes, you will have situations that you will have to deal with, but don't do it alone.  No one can take on the problems of the world without damaging themselves.  

One person who has helped me see that I am worth loving myself, is a beautiful lady named Aida Bredou.  Thank you for all your wisdom dear lady.  ~ Sandy

Sandy's Collectibles and More