One of the great joys of the internet is that I have met people that I would never have run into in "real life" - met and made real friends with.
One of those people for me has been Micah Solomon, the President (Oh how I love American job titles!) of Oasis Disc Publishing with offices in Manhattan, Washington and a manufacturing plant in New Jersey - he is in other words a proper businessman.
I "met" Micah on the Triiibes social media group that was set up by Seth Godin a year or so back and he immediately shone out as someone who would give of his time and expertise without worrying about "what was in it for him" and he gave me some exceptionally good advice - more valuable because he isn't in the craft scene at all. My grasping the courage to expand my business is, in many ways, due to his encouragement.
Micah is an obsessive about customer service and how to integrate it into the whole business rather than just seeing it as a way of dealing with complaints and queries. Along with Leonardo Inghilleri, he has written an e-book called Humanize it which you can get HERE and in a couple of months their first book, Exceptional service, Exceptional Profit will be published.
I was lucky enough to read the proofs last year and it is a really good book - dealing with anticipating and not just responding to customers. Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I don't just puff things - especially friends' things - I have to really believe in whatever it is I am mentioning. There are a lot of books out there which deal in customer service in a very obvious ways. There are a lot of books which recommend computer tracking customers and anticipating their needs in a rather stalkery way (If I went to the hotel in Michael Gerber's book where they know how you take your coffee and what temperature your bath should be - well I would be running out the door) Micah and Leonardo's book is different and if you want to integrate customer service throughout your business I would suggest giving it a read.
Before Christmas we were incredibly busy - much busier than I'd anticipated and along with the 16 hour work days came an abbreviated attitude to customer service. I don't mean that we gave bad service, I don't believe that we did, but a lot of the extra stuff that we normally do got missed out in the rush to get parcels to the post office. It made me realise that what we do to delight customers wasn't properly woven in, that I hadn't thought about how to make customers realise how much I appreciate them. I shall be putting in a pre-order.