Humanizing Your Customers

kids wedding2 (002)When we started our business we had a retail cupcake shop. I have to admit I really enjoyed getting to know our “regulars”. I knew as soon as they walked through the door, what they’d be ordering, what their family’s favorites were and I’d hear some story about their family, lives….their days in general.

There was a real connection between us. It was fun. It was a community.

Fast forward to post Shark Tank and the cupcake in a jar.

We are now the largest shipper of cupcakes in the US. During Q4, it’s not unusual for us to be shipping over 10,000 units a day. That’s a lot of cake and it’s a lot of people.

So. How exactly do we keep the humanity in our day to day operations? One thing that really helps is receiving feedback from your customers. A while back I wrote about a young girl who shared 2 cupcake jars a week with her terminally ill grandfather. Trust me. NOTHING puts the human back into humanity than reading a story like that.

Customer feedback is amazing, social media commentary and sharing is cool and certainly helps. Now, here’s the important part. This feedback, these stories, postcards and phone calls need to be shared with your coworkers.

I made this mistake and learned a very valuable lesson. You have to constantly share and remind your coworkers why you do what you’re doing. If you don’t share this goldmine of information, the team simply won’t know. How could they? And if that’s the case, the cupcake in a jar that a single mom, (working 2 jobs to save money to buy those cupcake jars for her daughter’s birthday) becomes nothing more than cake shoved into a mason jar.

I learned this at our last team meeting. We had a few Unicorn Jars that weren’t up to snuff so we talked about how we could make them consistently look like the photography we had on our website. Basically, meet the expectation of our customer.

I shared the story of the working mom and a few other stories we recently received. The jar assembly team was floored. They had zero ideas about the importance of each and every jar we produced. And as much as it was an eye opener for them, it was also a “shame on you” moment for me because I had been keeping the “secret sauce”, the reason we have been so successful, our love of our customer and our need to please them away from our team. Yikes!

As a group, we cried, expressed our sadness in missing some very important (and basic) information and as a team, we all agreed to communicate better, pay more attention to details and to ALWAYS remember that every single order is very important to the person who placed it. In short, every order matters. A lot. So here’s the challenge. How do we implement a plan to make sure this hug fest was remembered and not forgotten a month later? Now, what to do?

We came up with a plan. A small clothes line has been installed in the kitchen area. Notes, letters, post cards and feedback are pinned to the lines for the team to see, read and feel good about. And should there be an occasion where someone is less than over the moon, that correspondence goes up as well. We keep the lines of communication open. ALL ideas are welcome. Actually, they are encouraged. Allowing coworkers to feel invested in your business is an extremely important tool. Be strong and confident enough to embolden the feeling of “ownership” with everyone in your business. Once a team member feels part of that ownership, their attitude flips and they see the customer for who they are. Real people. The humanization automatically happens.

So to all of you fellow e-commerce business owners. It’s wicked important to think about the person ordering on the other side of the screen. I get it. It’s a challenge keeping the humanity in place when so many anonymous orders hit your site. But we must. It’s as simple as that.

Save those feedback forms. Save the pictures and stories that your customers forward to you. Share them with your team. And really read them. You’ll be amazed at how everyone within your organization responds.

At the end of the day, we’re all human and we all deserve to receive the very best from the companies in which we’ve placed our trust and spent our hard earned dollars.

Welcome back to work! #letsroll

#customer #service #womeninbusiness #sharktank #motherdaughterbiz #startup #entrepreneur

~T