Since our Monday challenge is about shop critiques, I wanted to touch on one very important piece of the shop puzzle that I’ve seen so neglected to non-existent in some shops–shop policies.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a discussion on any given selling venue, about a seller who made a custom order without any requirments up front, then the customer ‘disappeared’ and the seller was left with an item that was made with very specific sizing, customizing, or styling that may not be an easy sell to someone else. Or their package got lost, or damaged, on its way to the customer who is now demanding a refund and the seller didn’t know how to handle the situation…because they had no written policies in their shop.
I cannot stress how important it is to have written policies. Policies that address methods of payment, returns and refunds, shipping times and methods, and custom orders. You have to know what you can and can’t do. What you are willing to do. What you are legally required to do. Many people say that customers never read policies. It doesn’t matter. If something goes wrong, you can point them to your shop policies. It’s not your fault they didn’t read them.
And quite honestly, while you should have them in written form, they don’t necessarily have to be cast in stone either. Different situations will call for different handling. Communication with the customer is important in those instances. I have very definite policies but have been willing to work around them when a special circumstance arose. That’s called customer service. I prefer to call it customer care.
At a minimum, you need to spell out these things:
- methods of payment accepted
- returns and refunds
- shipping methods used