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14 January 2013

Refunds and returns



Today it happened. I had my first enquiry from a customer asking about returning one of my shop products. It was absolutely gutting.

I make everything with such care and attention, triple testing my techniques so that all my items are water tight and only sending my designs out when I'm 110% happy with them. In fact, whenever I send my little parcels off, I'm always skipping inside because I'm so proud of my creations and hoping when they arrive at their destination that they put a smile on someone else's face. That's not suppose to sound boastful, more to empathise how much love and attention I put into each and every design.

The issue that arose? Apparently, one of the pins came off the back of a brooch. I was flummoxed when I found out as each and every brooch pin is glued using specialist glue for metal jewellery. It took me a while to locate the right glue, after trying various brands out and this one would need brute force to remove it.

After reading the customer's message, I madly dashed upstairs to test all my brooches out and they're rock solid.

I'm of course offering a full refund.

And I've spent the whole day feeling terribly upset and blue...it's completely taken the joy out of the new product range I am about to share.

Wasn't sure whether to post this up as it may put doubt in people's mind about my products. But, let me assure you (and perhaps myself too?), I wouldn't send anything out if I wasn't happy with it. My designs haven't been made in a hurry, they've been tried, tested, tried again and again and again....

....so who knows what happened with this particular product. They're must have been a gremlin lurking...

Anyhow, it's a lesson learnt, especially in terms of how to handle customers that aren't happy. Here are the points I'll remember going forward (although hopefully this won't happen again?!):

1. Always triple check your products before sending them out. Done that? Do it again.

2. Read the terms and conditions of any online marketplace you sell through, to ensure you understand the refund and return policy.

3. The customer is always right. However much you do step 1 and have tested all your techniques, you  can never predict a customer's experience.

4. Reply to the customer as quickly as possible but make sure you re-read your reply, keeping it professional and in line with any terms and conditions.

5. Unsure about the terms and conditions? Give the online marketplace a call. DON'T reply to the customer after thinking you understand the terms and conditions. Triple check with the experts.

If you've ever had a similar experience, I would love to know your thoughts and advice...and generally be cheered up! Kim's post on dealing with failure is certainly very helpful and well worth a read if you've been in the same boat.

Jo :-(

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