Saturday, 21 January 2012

Failed customer service opportunity

(... and some random photos)
 I love feedback, especially when it is positive.  Negative feedback usually makes me feel uncomfortable at first but it can be a great opportunity to improve something that isn’t quite right.  I wish I got my reaction right every time… but I’m still learning.

I remember back to that majorly failed opportunity I had…
A lady came up to my stall at a market a few months ago and said, “Wonderful soap! I bought some from you at a Medieval market…”  she hesitated.  She was English and as they are often so polite I think it can be extra difficult for the English to offer negative feedback.  She got up the courage to mention to me that although she loved the soap, she didn’t like the size of the small soap she bought (my half-size bar).  She offered the suggestion of making them round.

Bingo!  Opportunity to:
-          thank her for providing her honest feedback
-          say Great Idea, I think I will try your suggestion!
-          offer her a larger bar for free to try out and see if she liked that size
-          possibly win over a return customer…
But NOOOOOO!  What did I do?  I am embarrassed to admit it… Okay, I did thank her for offering her opinion. At least I got one thing right.  But then… oh yes… I got into a defensive bit about why I prefer rectangular soap!  Why oh why!!!???   Basically she got away.  Probably won’t come back.
The funny thing is also that she was ABSOLUTELY right!  Although I worked very hard to get my regular size bar to a size that I love, I had never fully tried out my own half-size bar.  I have now and I don’t like it!  It is nice and small but too thick to get any rotation.  I would have to slice that in half to make it thinner or just scrap the half-size bar altogether.  For now I have scrapped it.
(my new shampoo bar shape)

So, for me, the moral of my story is that I should listen more carefully to customers’ feedback, especially when negative, and get my response right the first time because I can’t do it over.

Anyone have any customer service experiences they want to share?
Xo
Jen
PS.  I want to send out a huge CONGRATULATIONS!!! to my 15-year-old cousin Ronnie Remme who just won a silver medal this week for Canada in downhill skiing at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria!  Go Ronnie Go!!  Her father (my first cousin) was my ski coach for a season or two, many years ago, but I wasn’t very good at racing.  We are all pretty excited about Ronnie!










27 comments:

Lola said...

Me parece ideal el tamaño de tus jabones, el color, la forma y el olor porque no los he olido , pero olerán deliciosos, no creo que tengas que cambiar nada.
Un saludo y ánimos y sigue mostrándonos esas preciosidades que tu sabes hacer, y algunos comentarios es mejor no escucharlos.

Julia said...

Siempre hay que escuchar lo que los demás dicen, a veces tienen razón, en cualquier caso es imposible contentar a todo el mundo ¿verdad?. Por lo que he visto, aquí gustamos más de pastillas de tamaño medio, sin embargo en EEUU gustan las más grandes. No sé, a mi me acaban de decir que tal vez mis pastillas huelen demasiado, y esto me ha vuelto del todo loca...
Un abrazo y adelante.

Karen said...

These sopas look so fun! When your mom comes to viti you, she'll have to bring some back :)
Yoy must be proud of your nephew! Go Canada go!

The Soap Sister said...

I can't imagine you being anything but kind and caring with your customers! We can always get better though, eh? Speaking of "better" -your photos have never been better than they are lately, Jen...they offer a visual thrill a minute! Love love love 'em! ~Becky

twobloomsdesignstudio said...

Congrats to Ronnie, that is so exciting.

Okay I hear what you are saying but after 9 years of selling every shape of soap rectangle is the preferred size for my customers. The way we work is if we have enough customers ask for a certain item we then think about bringing it in stock. We can't tell you the amount of times we've heard a customer say this or that and gone and made it only to be stuck with it.

Why did she buy the small size if the didn't like the size? I wouldn't have offered a free bar but maybe a sample. I personally love your half size bar and think it's a keeper. I cut one of your soaps in half as I wanted to save the other half.

Michelle

Donna OShaughnessy said...

First of all congrats to Ronnie, Great job!

Now on the other, you are too hard on yourself Jen. Next time you'll be wonderful and one thing I have learned in life overall no way you can make them all happy whether it's soap or meat or nursing sick people, we just have to do our best and move on. My grandson by the way is still holding on to the half size bar I got from you. He is very stingy with it, wants it to last forever and it is perfect for a 4 yr old hand.

And your soap bar shape looks just like mine. I use a PVC tube to mold and I am going to make regular bars in the same shape as it fits in the palm of your hand so well. What mold do you use for your shampoo bars?

Have a great Sunday

Tara said...

Ugh, criticism. It's not easy for most of us to handle and I bet your reaction was not nearly as defensive as you imagine. On the positive side, you have used the criticism in the manner in which it was meant. That's all you can do. Love the photos. Such pretty soaps in all their "natural-ness". Congratulations to your cousin!

Jennifer Young said...

Lola, muchisimas gracias por tu comentario y tu positividad!! xo Jen

Julia, Gracias por tu comentario. Claro, no podemos contentar a todos. Cada uno tiene sus gustos supongo. Si ponemos mucha aroma, dicen que demasiada, si no ponemos tanto, dicen que hay muy poco... a mi me han encantado tus jabones y te felicito por tu puntiación en Cocobong!! xoxo Jen

Karen, Thanks for your comment! I will send some soaps back for you with mum. Roni is actually my neice! xoxox Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Becky, you are so sweet! Thank you! And thank you for the comment on my photos... I am constantly experimenting to get them better because I think really good photos are so important to show off the products. One of the best things I did for the blog, in my opinion, was increase the size of the photos on the blog. Now I find myself frustrated with others blogs with small dark photos... I want to see them bigger!! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Michelle, Thanks for all your comments and thoughts. I really appreciate knowing what works and doesn't work for other soapers. And you have a lot of years of experience at this!! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Donna, Thanks for your lovely comment! So glad your grandson likes my half-size soap... are you really going to try planing the prickly pear seeds? Tell me if and when you do!! I purchased a round mould from the same place I got my soap cutter and I am enjoying using it for my shampoo bars, but am having a tough time with lining it!! How do you line yours?? I will get to a post about it one of these days. xoxox Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Tara, Thank you so much. Yes I think criticism can help us, but I have to remember not to take things too personally. Glad you are enjoying my photos. I ALWAYS love yours and think you are a talented photographer. xox Jen

MIKA said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MIKA said...

Sorry Jennifer, maybe I was one of customers who made you uncomfortable...but I think soaps need their individuality. so sometimes, many my customers like my soap or scent that I don't like so much and vice versa. and I like the siza of your soap too. my daughter is enjoying your soap different from me. especially she likes "Wild Lavender" :)

...by the way, about olive oil, I use olive oil of Provence for salad, and organic Oils of Spain or Italy. I'll write about my olive oils on my blog later.

bisous
Mika

Jennifer Young said...

Mika, Thank you for your comments always! I appreciated all of your feedback. I guess what my post was really about was that all feedback is valuable, both positive and negative although we like hearing the positive more... Look forward to hearing more about the olive oil you use! xo Jen

Isabel said...

Hola Jennifer,me parece muy bién que los demás nos den sugerencias, algunas serán positivas y otras no tanto,pero siempre desde el respeto,quién de verdad valora tu trabajo y hayan probado tus maravillosos jabones, seguro que no les importa el tamaño de las pastillas, eso es lo de menos,tú confía en tus productos que sabemos que están hechos con sabiduría y cariño.Un saludo,ánimo, Isabel.

MelissaR said...

Your soaps always look so yummy. Keep up the good work. Would you please tell me how you make the soap balls? How do you get the soap soft enough to shape into spheres?
Thanks,
Melissa

Amy Warden said...

I like Michelle's comment - I've done the same thing, making something that a customer requested and then they never came back and bought it.

I've been hearing more about using tubing instead of pipe for round soaps. Did you see Emily's post about this? I heard about this site where you can buy the tubing - it's on sale right now and they ship worldwide!

Jennifer Young said...

Isabel, muchísimas gracias por tu comentario!! xoxo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

MelissaR, Lately soap balls are easy as I too Sparklebrooks advice and I make them right when I cut my bars of soap, with the cut offs, so the soap is still soft. I simply take the left over soap bits when cutting my bars, and roll them into balls. As for the small cut squares and odd shapes, I just cut old cut offs at any point. Maybe my bars are slightly softer as I do not use palm oil? Good luck, post photos of your experiments!! xo jen

Jennifer Young said...

Amy, Thanks for your comment. I may try that tubing. I have a great round mould that I should post about... just struggle with the lining... I have decided to make my shampoo bars a half round shape... Have a great day!! xo Jen

MelissaR said...

Thanks, I will give it a try the next time I make soap!

Cocobong Soaps said...

Interesting observation, Jen. I think that's why I put the category "shape" into my soap reviews..to give soapers an idea what shape (size) the general public prefers. The soaps that are reviewed go through at least 5 pairs of hands, all with different opinions. I have to agree that although the little fat soaps look real good, they are not practical to use. Just too clunky for smooth hassle free rotation

Sergio said...

Hola compañera. Interesante entrada que nos hace reflexionar a todos, pienso yo, que con entusiasmmo y esfuerzo queremos mejorar nuestros productos. Felicitarte por tus preciosos jabones, que aunque no los he probado, tienen un aspecto muy profesional, muy natural y con tu sello, ya inconfundible. Yo precisamente estoy planteando el cambiar el formato de mis jabones para hacerlo mas cómodo al uso, porque reconozco que mis formatos siempre han sido algo grandes a la hora de experimentar con la parte artística. En fin, ya veremos. Un abrazo y enhorabuena por la medalla de plata de tu primo.

Jennifer Young said...

MelissaR, You are welcome. Send photos when you make it! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Julia, Thank you for your comment. You are one of the first people that really got me thinking about size and shape and how important it is. It needs to be comfortably usable. Would love to see more photos of where you are right now!! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Sergio, Wow! Muchisimas gracias por tu comentario. Me alegro que te gusten la pinta de mis jabones. Algún día tendremos que hacer un intercambio!! Los tuyos son PRECIOSOS... obras de arte. Estoy planteando organizar una junta de jaboneros aqui al final de mayo... te apuntas? xoxoxo Jen