Great Customer Service

Last week I blogged about a poor experience I had with a hotel, comparing it to a great experience with a different property. This week, I offer a few more tips on how writers can meet and exceed expectations in customer service.

Answer in Person

I was interested in a particular clothing line and called ahead to the store since it was located in the next state. Excellent customer service point number one: a human answered!

Ask the Unexpected Question

I asked, “When do you close?”

Answer: “Eight o’clock. Does that meet your needs?”

Does that meet your needs? Oh. My. I already felt special and I hadn’t even left my house.

Pay Attention

The salesclerk gave me her total attention, answering my questions.

Be Flexible

The salesclerk presented me with many excellent options.

An Exclusive Club

The salesclerk shared interesting tidbits about powerful women who wear this line of clothing.

The Wise Writer Can Do Likewise

True to the tenants of excellent customer service, the wise writer has many options.

Tries to be Available

I totally understand screening calls, but I respond to clients’ calls when I’m in the office. I also respond to emails as promptly as I am able. This is a good practice for writers as well. Exception: if you don’t answer your phone or go online while you’re writing, let important people know.

Makes Her Editor Feel Special

When the opportunity arises, do the unexpected task that will help your editor’s life be easier.

Is Attentive and Flexible

You want your editor to see your best work, meaning you have paid attention to your craft and to the expectations and needs of the editor and your readers. When he has questions (and this is often the case), provide thoughtful answers.

Has Many Ideas

Often, editors will ask for a variety of story ideas. Flexibility and creativity are keys to gaining her trust and respect.

Makes Her Readers Feel Special

You want your readers to be members of your fan club. You can do this in part by being a consistent and friendly presence on social media, and keeping them informed about your work. They’ll feel as though they are a part of your life, and therefore, special.

Your Turn:

How do your favorite writers make you feel special?

What tips can you add?

9 Responses to Great Customer Service

  1. Avatar
    Barbara Blakey August 11, 2016 at 6:55 am #

    So…I run a business that markets a product to homeschoolers. Customer service doesn’t feel cumbersome at all because I love these families. I have a network of representatives all trained to focus on meeting the needs of the people with whom they come in contact. Every order that comes through my office prompts me to pray for the customer. Customers have access to me and my representatives via email and phone. Although we maintain a Facebook page and send a monthly newsletter, its through email most of the moms contact me. Every email I answer is sent with a prayer. Not because I have to. I just want to.

    BUT, confession time. I don’t have the same connection with readers of the fiction I write. Thank you, Tamela, for this post. You’ve opened my eyes to an important missing element for me. If I loved readers the same as I do homeschooling families, then “customer service” would flow naturally. It really isn’t a time issue, or lack of knowledge on how to do it. It’s a heart issue.

    Ouch.

  2. Avatar
    Diana Holvik August 11, 2016 at 7:15 am #

    Hi Tamela, great post. I learned some things and was reminded of others. And I have to say here, that my experience with you has been very positive. [smile].

    I have had great experiences with authors who always answer my emails. And the answers felt personal. Not only that, I had an author, Candace Calvert, not only answer all my emails, she sent me a little hand-written letter. I felt so special I have kept that letter. Candace is a pretty big name writer of Inspirational medical romance, yet she took the time to write to me personally. Now that is Great Customer Service. But I didn’t feel like a customer. I felt like a friend.

    And to be honest, that’s how you have made me feel. Like a friend. I hope I can do the same at all times but especially when I become a published author [smile].

    • Avatar
      Barbara August 11, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      Diana, I’m with you on wonderful writers and authors with personal responses. I just love it.
      And I’ve been stunned by the wonderful community that exists for readers and writers in the online community. Where have I been!

      I think you hit the nail on the head with how we love the people that treat us as friends.

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray August 15, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      Diana, thank you so much! You have truly brightened my day!

  3. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson August 11, 2016 at 7:18 am #

    Honestly, I feel special when people/writers take time out of their busy schedules just to speak to me, and I know if I feel that way, others feel the same. A friendly ‘hello’ or a welcoming smile is always welcomed!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray August 15, 2016 at 9:35 am #

      Loretta, and it’s nice to know those gestures are appreciated and returned, too. 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee August 11, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    Tamela, I know what you mean about great customer service. I liked the service at Nordstrom so much that I wrote several of my MBA papers on the company. Like your experience with “does this meet your needs,” I was in Nordstrom one night and realized that they had actually closed a half hour before. I asked about it and the saleswoman said, “We would never dream of asking a guest to leave.” Wow- that really made an impression!
    Writers can make us feel satisfied by not insulting our intelligence. I haven’t had any experience with this at a conference yet, but am looking forward to Nashville!

    • Avatar
      Tamela Hancock Murray August 15, 2016 at 9:36 am #

      Sheri, I think you’ll love the ACFW conference! Lots of smiling faces and encouragement!

      I love Nordstrom, too. I was sorry — and surprised — to read in a recent news article that they, along with Macys and others, are struggling.

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