Although I always considered Zazzle to be my business, at first it was more like a fun pastime. I'd make some products and they might sell, so I'd make some more, and so on. I just sat at my desk creating and posting without much feedback. I also wasn't making much money.
Once I learned to make text templates for use on invitations, all that changed. Suddenly customers were contacting me for help. They liked the invitation, but... something needed to be changed; wording, font style, color, size. It was wonderful. I finally had interaction with people who wanted to buy what I made!
Honestly, I have met some really great people through customer contact.
Here are some pointers for serving customers:
- Reply to them ASAP. They almost always mention, after my fist contact with them, that they appreciate my quick response.
- Be helpful no matter what they are asking for. And if I can't answer their question, I either find the answer through the forum or direct them (with a link) to a page at Zazzle that has their answer.
- Be honest about your abilities. I can't do everything, and I know it. If I can't provide what the customer wants, I will direct them to a shop owner at Zazzle who can help them. I have never had to do this, but I have a list of my favorite designers at Zazzle and know what kinds of work they do, just in case.
- Know as much as possible about the products Zazzle sells. I can't discus card sizes and paper types with a customer if I don't know anything about them myself.
- One more time. Be ready to answer the same questions over and over, with patience. "Can you send me a sample?" (If you already have contact with customers, you will know that this is a common one!)
- Say Thank You. This may sound silly to mention, but no matter how small the custom job was, always tell your customer how much you appreciate their business. You should appreciate them - there are lots of other places they could have shopped!
Think about what you expect from a business when shopping, and provide it for your customers.
Also, be prepared to answer questions not directly related to you and your shop. I have been asked numerous times about shipping and returns and I always direct them to the Zazzle page with that information.