• Posts Tagged ‘customer_service’

    Five Steps to Setting Up Your Online Business

    by  • September 10, 2013 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    There are several online services that allow you to sell products, whether those products are hand-crafted wares, antiques, or even baked goods. Of course, getting your online business up and running can be a little daunting, depending on how complex or competitive your industry may be. These five steps can help you achieve a no-sweat startup for your new business.

    Shop Around

    The first step, naturally, is to get a sense of what’s already out there. You’ll really want to look for the exact products that you plan to sell. This is the best means of determining not only what your target prices should be, but also how to distinguish your business from the competition. It may also be a good starting point for ideas; for example, if you weren’t initially planning on highlighting your customer response, you may find an aesthetically pleasing way of having your customers share their reviews and photos of your product.

    Partition Shipping Costs

    Customers are obsessed with shipping costs. Even if an item is relatively cheap, a heft shipping charge will stop most consumers in their tracks. A good way around this is something called “price partitioning,” which calls for you to divide the shipping costs between the listed item and shipping costs. So, if you want to charge $20 for that poster sized print, and shipping would cost six dollars, you may want to list the item as a $26 print with free shipping. If figuring out shipping costs to begin with is your hang-up, consider directing your business’s finances through PayPal. They have a useful online service to help you figure out PayPal shipping rates.

    Take Good Photos

    Because your customers will be unable to physically examine your products, the pictures that you use to display them are of utmost importance. Take the highest quality images possible, and, when possible, photograph your items in natural light. It’s also encouraged that you take pictures of your products from multiple angles. Close-ups are also useful for giving your prospective customers a sense of your item’s finer details.

    Promote Yourself

    Though it’s easy to assume that customers will stumble across your store themselves, this is not likely to happen when you’re just starting up. Take advantage of social media to promote your store and encourage your friends to share it. This is a good way to get you some early customers, and, by extension, product reviews. If you’re using a community-based site for your business, consider contacting other shop-owners and offering to promote their products on yours. Chances are that they’ll offer to do the same in return, resulting in an arrangement that’s mutually beneficial.

    Provide Excellent Service

    You want your customers happy, and the best way of achieving that is to go above and beyond the call of duty. Be prompt about shipping and notify them when products have shipped. If they have questions, respond to those quickly, too, and try your hardest to fulfill any special requests they may have. If you follow this advice, you should have a large and dedicated customer base in no time.

    Oh Nos! Credit Card Thefted!

    by  • May 4, 2010 • Tagged: , ,  • Comments


    photo: 10b travelling

    This past weekend I was dillegently reviewing the week’s transactions on Quicken, when I noticed two charges made to Newegg.com on my Chase Freedom Card. I’m a huge fan of Newegg and have purchased items from there before, but I was pretty sure that I didn’t buy anything from them last week.

    Coincidentally, I was reseraching computer parts and wondered if I accidentally added stuff to my cart and then went through with the purchase. I checked my account on Newegg and confirmed that I hadn’t bought anything from them, at least not since February 2009.

    I called Chase to talk to a customer service representative, and was transferred to their Disputes department. They asked if I called Newegg to ask why I was being charged. I told them that I hadn’t, but I should maybe do that. The person transferred me again to another guy, who offered to call Newegg on my behalf. He did and conferenced me into the call since Newegg needed my permission to get more information. I confirmed that I did not buy the items in question, and also learned that the fraudsters were able to input my home address to actually use the card but have the items shipped somewhere else.

    The Disputes representative then gave me two options. Since the total charges were under $500, I could either file a dispute or a fraud claim. If I filed a dispute, then Chase would only work with Newegg to reverse the charges. If I filed a fraud claim, Chase would close the account and re-issue me another card with another number. Obviously I didn’t make those purchases, so I decided to make a fraud claim. The Disputes representative then transferred me over to their Fraud department.

    Of course the Fraud representative had no idea of the conversations that I just had, so I had to reiterate the whole story to her. I asked to close the account have have a new card issued to me. She processed the request, and had me listen to a recorded message about their fraud claim process. I guess it’s cheaper to do that than to have the representative read it to me from their script.

    This morning I was relieved to find that the charges on my credit card have been reversed. It took about 48 hours since I originally call to have all of this taken care of. The communications were a little frustrating, but I’m glad everything worked out.

    Have any of your accounts been compromised lately?

    Hotel Concierge Service: Above And Beyond

    by  • December 27, 2007 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    About 10 times a year I travel for my job. Sometimes the work that I do is quite easy, and I have more time to relax and do some sightseeing, or even make a vacation out of it. Other times the job can be quite stressful as we have to cater to our clients and make sure things go smoothly. When I need things to go especially well, I often enlist the services of the hotel concierge. Their advice is often invaluable in finding out the perfect restaurant in an unfamiliar city, for getting access to rooms at their hotel or another venue for impromptu meetings, or even getting umbrellas when an unexpected rain occurs. Of course, their work is rewarded with a generous tip.

    However, the requests that my coworkers and I ask from the concierge pale in comparison to others. A Chicago Sun-Times article reports the unusual requests that Jon Winke, a concierge at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago since 1975, has had to fufill for guests. Some of them include:

    • A guest wanted to see the premier of the movie “Disclosure” but he didn’t want anyone sitting within three rows of him. Winke rallied staff members to go to the theater and buy enough tickets to block off several rows.
    • A mother of the bride left her contact lenses in a taxi and was upset about having to wear glasses to her daughter’s wedding. Concierge staff tracked down her California optician, got her prescription and had new contacts delivered to the hotel within two hours.

    Have you ever used the hotel concierge to make your life easier? What was the strangest request that you have asked from one?

    (via Chicagoist)

    Lose your Chase Credit/Debt Card After Business Hours? You’ll Have to Wait Until Morning to Cancel

    by  • August 29, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Last Friday we went out to dinner with a few friends from out of town. When we were waiting for our table I decided to run to the ATM and grab some cash to make things easier when the bill came.

    That was the last time I remember seeing my ATM card.

    Last night I opened up my wallet to put a coupon in it, and noticed that my card was missing. I looked around in the usual spots around the apartment to no avail, and then proceeded to backtrack my whole weekend. Turns out that I didn’t buy anything all weekend (!), so I never cracked open my wallet. My ATM card had to still be in the machine. Luckily for us, no one had made any puchases using my card.

    I grabbed Her credit/debt card and called the number on the back. I got a recorded message and navigated through the maze of menus to try and get connected directly to a Real Live Person (TM). Turns out that they only have people on staff from 7AM-9PM, local time; it was about midnight when I called, so I would guess that most call centers were closed (maybe not Hawaii?) Therefore, I could not report my card as missing or stolen!

    Credit card holders though, get special treatment. A dedicated 24-hour number is available to report missing/stolen cards. I tried calling that number and told them my situation, but was promptly transferred to the original number that I called.

    Him, meet run-around. Run-around, Him. Pleased to meet you.

    I checked our account again this morning, and to my relief everything is still in order. I cancelled the card, but I made it a point to ask whether or not they had a 24-hour number for reporting lost or stolen ATM/Debit/Credit cards. The representative told me what I already knew about their hours of operation, but assured me that they [Chase] wouldn’t leave me hanging if something did happen. Yeah, right.

    According to the Chase Visa Check Card page, there is zero liability on unauthorized transactions when Chase is notified promptly.

    I guess promptly means between the hours of 7AM-9PM. A lot can happen in the eight hours that they are closed for the day.

    Giving Me the Gouge

    by  • April 12, 2006 • Tagged:   • Comments

    After negotiating a much lower rate for cable and internet service, Fiscal Fool asks, “If that is what the product is worth why are they gouging us?” The answer isn’t that the service they provide isn’t worth much, it’s that it costs a LOT more money to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Think of all the money they have to spend on advertising and promotions just to catch one new cutomer’s attention. To keep this customer, it only cost them $50 a month.

    In addition, most people behave like a frog in water: They’ll jump out if it’s too hot, but they’ll stay to their death if you slowly increase the temperature. Over time, they’re probably betting that they can slowly increase the rate and the customer won’t bother to switch to another provider.

    We’ve got more brains than a frog, so we can make a better choice. We just have to overcome inertia.

    1-800 Contacts: Did Not Fail During the Last Mile

    by  • March 11, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    Ramit over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich wrote two good posts about the Failure of the Last Mile, and examples of said failure. Here’s a story of the Success of the Last Mile.

    On Tuesday morning, I opened up a new box of contacts that I ordered from 1-800 Contacts. I popped one and, and I couldn’t see! I thought there may have been a defect in that particular one, so I tried another one…and I still couldn’t see out of that eye.

    Let me tell you that it is the weirdest feeling putting in a contact and actually seeing worse. It turns out that I mistakenly ordered contacts with the prescription of 6.5.

    Here’s a short lesson in contact prescriptions: contacts can have a prescription from -12.0 – +8.0: the more negative, the more nearsighted – conversely, the more positive, the more farsighted.

    My prescription is actually -6.5. Did I mention that I bought two years’ supply?

    Obviously, I screwed up pretty badly when I ordered these online. As soon as I caught the mistake, I called 1-800 Contacts. To my surprise, a person answered only after a few rings. She offered to either send a mailing label to send the boxed I had back to them and then they would send me the correct ones, or for them to send the new contacts right away with a mailing label to send back the old ones, of course charging me again for the new ones, but crediting me when the old ones are received. I chose to have them send the new contacts right away, and to my surprise the rep told me that she would send it via expedited shipping for FREE.

    Thank you 1-800 Contacts, for not ridiculing me for my mistake and actually making me feel good for doing business with you. You’ve earned a repeat customer.