Tips & Talk 52 – How Good is Your Customer Service? Really?

I heard something a long time ago, during my corporate days, and it’s one of those statements that holds true over time.

“Don’t tell people you have great customer service, show them.”

It’s too easy to talk about a level of care and service you offer your customers. Let’s face it, everyone does that. But actually following through on it is where the majority of businesses fail. They talk one thing and do another.

It’s surprising because having top-notch customer service, in the majority of cases, doesn’t add to the costs of running a business. Going the extra mile and adding in special touches is more a matter of planning and implementing a process than anything else.

Most businesses pay very little attention to this. So why should you? Repeat business – that’s why.

I want you to think about your customer service? Not what you say but what you’re really doing? I break this review into 2 categories. That’s what we talk about in today’s show.

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Transcript
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Hi there.

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It's Sue.

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And thanks for joining me for tips and talk day.

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These are bite-sized topics that I pull from community questions and

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things that I'm observing in the world of handmade small business.

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If you'd like to submit a topic,

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DME over on Instagram at gift biz unwrapped,

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I'm just going to say it last November,

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just after Thanksgiving,

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I walked into Creighton barrel.

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Yes. The real store online to look around for stocking stuffers,

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and also check out some other options,

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hoping to make some progress on my gift list.

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One of the ways I like to decorate each year is

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to have initial ornaments hanging on the wall over the dog

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balls. I know you're thinking it.

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Yes. I am definitely an excessive decorator.

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Anyway, for the first time in the 37 years we've been

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married. We don't have any dogs at home right now,

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but my daughter was bringing her two puppies and I was

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so excited to have this scampering of little paws in the

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house. Again,

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back to crate and barrel.

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My eyes landed on these really pretty sparkly,

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initial ornaments.

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And I'm thinking,

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oh my gosh,

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these will be perfect.

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They had a silver O for Oscar blue,

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but they didn't have a gold B for ladybug.

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I asked at the counter if I could order them and

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have them sent to me,

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cause I thought that would be a great option.

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A friendly and helpful woman looked online to see if they

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had them in stock and told me yes,

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we can do that.

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And they should be sent out within the week.

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Fabulous. I was so excited.

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I don't know why,

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but putting up those ornaments in particular makes me so happy

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each year.

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I was really looking forward to their arrival a week,

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went by no ornaments,

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but no problem.

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Still plenty of time before Christmas.

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And I know there are always shipping delays this time of

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year. And right now we also have the whole supply chain

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issue going on more days,

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go by and more days.

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Now it's about 10 days before Christmas.

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So I call crate and barrel to inquire friendly as ever.

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They told me not to worry.

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She checked with their delivery vendor and it was delayed,

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but should be to me quickly.

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Now you can probably predict the end of this story.

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The holiday came and went and no O or B ornaments.

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I looked at the empty hooks each time I gave asker

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and bug their bowls and it made me sad.

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The ornaments did finally arrive in the middle of January.

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Let's review this here for a second.

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Something I bought for Christmas at the end of November,

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that they had in stock.

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That was reconfirmed after my inquiry call.

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Didn't make it for Christmas.

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Granted, these two ornaments,

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weren't a big sale,

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but all the other things I've gotten from Creighton barrel over

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the years,

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add up to thousands.

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A follow-up call from someone to ensure that I got my

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order in time would have been nice.

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They don't even know the disappointment that comes to mind when

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I see their logo right now,

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am I going to completely boycott their store to be real?

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No, but you better bet.

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I'm going to remember this for a while.

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And certainly as I unpack those ornaments to use next year,

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the service that I received,

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his tainted,

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my impression of their brand.

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I heard something a long time ago during my corporate days.

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It's one of those statements that holds true over time.

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And it's this.

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Don't tell people you have great customer service.

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Show them.

Speaker:

It's too easy to talk about a level of care and

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service that you offer your customers.

Speaker:

Let's face it.

Speaker:

Everybody does that.

Speaker:

But actually following through on this is where the majority of

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businesses fail.

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They talk one thing and they do another.

Speaker:

It's surprising because having top-notch customer service in the majority of

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cases, doesn't add to the cost of you running your business,

Speaker:

going the extra mile and adding in special touches to your

Speaker:

business is more a matter of planning and implementing a process

Speaker:

than anything else.

Speaker:

Most businesses pay very little attention to this.

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So why should you repeat business?

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That's why I know,

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you know,

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that it costs a lot more to get a customer initially

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than it does to keep one,

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think about this,

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being a small business,

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your in a unique position to go above and beyond to

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impress your customers.

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So they keep coming back to you.

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You don't have layers of approval to get,

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or have to spend time in meetings,

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gaining agreement with a team as bigger companies do.

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You can make changes in your business today,

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if you want to.

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So take a minute and think about your customer service,

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not what you say,

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but what you're really doing.

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There are a couple of ways to review this.

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I like to break it into two categories,

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the basics,

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and then the wow factor.

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The second one is what will really set you apart,

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but both are necessary.

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Basic customer service points are things that have to happen to

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get and follow through with the sale.

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Either in-person or online in-person it's having products displayed nicely with

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enough inventory to be able to sell right then and there

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interacting with a customer.

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If they questions before making their selections and having a process

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to check out and package their items,

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the obvious online,

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it's an easy to navigate website explanations of your products or

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other questions that might come up like a return policy.

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And if they don't see their answers a way to contact

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you also a smooth ordering process,

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including a confirmation,

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when a sale has been placed,

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have you ever made a purchase and then no additional screen

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comes up.

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So you don't know if it's even gone through then of

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course, a reasonable timeframe for shipping out the item,

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including notification that it's on the way.

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These are the basics of any product purchasing transaction.

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So are you buttoned down here?

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It may be helpful to go through your process yourself or

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have a friend buy something and give you feedback of where

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they got confused,

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where the system was slow or perhaps where they got stuck.

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This is actually a good thing to do periodically.

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Anyway. Now let's talk about the second category,

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which is that wow factor.

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Here's where you have the ability to enhance your customer's experience.

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So they want to buy from you again,

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are proud to send a gift from your company and the

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ultimate. Get them talking about you to others.

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The best way to do this is to offer something unexpected

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and delightful.

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I know a lot of makers include a handwritten note in

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with their orders.

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Maybe you do too.

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That's a nice touch and definitely a starting wow factor.

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The level to which you can make this personal or include

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in the message.

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Something that doesn't sound like it's written for every single sale

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works the best you could say,

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things like this is my favorite candle scent enjoy,

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or you're the first one getting this new necklace design.

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Yay. You get the idea.

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If you're doing these notes,

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add a personal touch over and above just a standard generic,

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thank you.

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Customers who feel individually seen will also feel more connection with

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you and therefore more loyal,

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even to the extent that when they see an email come

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through from you,

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they'll open it,

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thumbs up for increased open rates.

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Then that's always a great thing.

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Let's see.

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Let me give you some other ideas of a wow factor.

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Slip, an extra chocolate into the bag at a farmer's market.

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One obviously separate from the rest.

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And maybe it includes a note saying how much you appreciate

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their purchase or that you want them to taste a new

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flavor, not available yet,

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but one that you're working on,

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you could even include in a note,

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something that says,

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would you drop me an email,

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letting me know what you think of it,

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or do you have any ideas of what I should name

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this flavor?

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You see,

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start developing a relationship with your customer,

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not just you,

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the seller,

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then the buyer also at craft shows,

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you could interact with the customer after the sale.

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See if they'll put on the new earrings they just bought

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so that you can take a picture to put on social.

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I know you can come up with creating unique ideas,

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unique. That's the key to setting you up as special different

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from the rest.

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And we'll leave a lasting mark in the minds of your

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customers, customer service.

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It doesn't need to be only a catch phrase.

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It can be a beautiful way of bonding with customers and

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turning them into loyal fans.

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That's a wrap.

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I'm a get to the point kind of girl.

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And this is what you can expect from these quick midweek

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sessions. Now it's your turn go out and fulfill that dream

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of yours.

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Share your handmade products with us.

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