Customer Service is King!
Customer service is what you might call my "pet peeve." After spending 23+ years working as an account representative in the USA, there is one very key lesson I learned: Customer Service is Truly King! My business in the USA was packing supplies. You know, boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.. When selling these "commodity" type products, it is very difficult to differentiate yourself from the competition as in most cases I was not only selling similar products, but actually the exact same product made by the same manufacturer. (Yikes!)
How to Truly Separate Yourself from the Competition
So how do you separate yourself from the competition when you're both selling the exact same thing? Some of my competitors decided to always focus on pricing. However, although no one wants to pay way too much—fair pricing is important, I learned that what really made people life-long customers (Many of my customers I had for over 20 years!) was amazing Customer Service! For me this is easy. I must admit that having customers rave about what great service they got from me and my company was more important to me than any amount of money I made from the sale. Of course I needed to get paid to survive, but what kept me at it year after year was the pleasure of making business friends (aka repeat customers) that trusted me and valued what I did for them. And they proved it by sending my competitors "packing" time and again . . . even the ones who showed up with prices well below mine.
Also, when I'm on the other side of the transaction, when I get amazing customer service I'm incredibly loyal, and on the flip-side, when I encounter rotten customer service . . . well . . . let's just say I don't keep it a secret. ;-)
Customer Service to Match our Factory's Amazing Futon Craftsmanship!
Of course, when you're selling an amazing one-of-a-kind product that literally can't be found anywhere else online, to my way of thinking, the pressure is really on to make sure your customer service is of the quality to truly represent your amazing product. On top of that, Master Ikeuchi, the patriarch and owner of the family-ran factory that make the futon we sell on FutonBedsFromJapan.com, has been making futon for over 50 years! (His father was making futon before that!) Needless to say here in Japan he has an impeccable reputation. I personally feel a intense need to make sure our online reputation matches Master Ikeuchi's. In addition, when you're selling online, your reputation is extremely important. I've been told numerous times that our customer service was the deciding factor for some of our customers. (And—fortunately for us—the bad reviews they found about my "competitors" deterred them from buying before they found FutonBedsFromJapan.com)
Below is a review by Adora who had spent a week researching futon both locally in her town and also online before she purchased from us. I'm very thankful she took the time to share with me why she chose us.
Adora Z.'s Testimonial
"I had been doing a lot of research on futons both in American stores and overseas. I chose you [FutonBedsFromJapan.com] because the customer service was prompt and reliable and easy to understand.
I appreciated that this site had answers and information that made sense to a non-Asian audience. Some of the other sites I went to had poor customer service ratings and vague answers to people's questions. I felt more comfortable knowing that I was ordering from a company that had both local and international people working with them to present a clear picture of what I was ordering. I felt confident that it would be high quality work and was willing to order promptly once I chose which futon I wanted. I wanted a bed that was easy to air out in the sun and fit into my car! That's what this is and I was able to carry it from the pick up point with only one arm! You can't do that with a traditional mattress?! Thank, so much! Now I don't have to sleep on air mattresses anymore! Blessings, Adora"
N. Carolina, USA