The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for everyone. When you put a lot of time and effort into a gift and things don’t go as expected, it can be perfect storm for a customer service disaster. How a company handles stressful moments for their customers says a lot about the company’s belief in the customer.
Last year I had designed a canvas for a family member that took me weeks to put together and had it printed through WHCC. I was excited and nervous about giving a very personalized gift which had their newly born baby girl’s information on it: birthdate, weight, height, full name and eye color done in the theme of their nursery. I wanted to have it sent to me once printed before I shipped it out to them to make sure it turned out perfect. When it arrived, the color was completely off. I was devastated because if I had another one printed it would be extremely expensive and even with expedited shipping it would not arrive in time for Christmas. I immediately went to check the files that I had uploaded to make sure the mistake wasn’t on my end. Just as I was about to have a Christmas meltdown, I reached out via email through their site, not expecting much in return while I tried to figure out what to do next.
Within 2 hours I received an email back saying that they were so sorry for the mishap and would be reprinting at no cost as well as shipping overnight. On top of that, they issued me a refund for the inconvenience with another apology for the stress they had caused. The tone was empathetic and they did everything they could to make their mistake right. The very next day I received the new canvas that was gorgeous and I was able to ship it out myself to get it to them before Christmas. Truly a Christmas miracle!
I followed up with an online review of WHCC about the amazing quality of their product as well as the stellar customer service I received. When my relative received their gift, they posted it on social media with a #WHCC to share their gift and joy while promoting WHCC’s product. WHCC was able to turn an unhappy customer around to be one that not only was happy with the product received but one that shared their experience online for others to see.
Best Practices for Social Media Customer Service
Excellent social media customer service builds better relationships with customers. In one JD Power survey, of more than 23,000 online consumers, 67% reported that they contacted a company via social media for support. How a company responds makes all the difference in the outcome.
“Customers are your number one asset, not responding to them is not an option. A Gartner study found that companies that ignore support requests on social media see an average churn rate 15% higher than companies that respond to requests.” Creating Legendary Social Customer Care
- Pick the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business – Not only can WHCC be contacted through customer support phone line, email and online chat; they are also very involved with social media. They are on Facebook, twitter and Instagram. It is important to know where your customers are. For WHCC, photographers are on Instagram and this is where WHCC is most active. By going to where your customers actually are, they can deliver a support experience that’s native to their preferred network.
- Monitor Social Media Mentions – it is important for WHCC to be alerted when they are tagged in social media posts. They can quickly respond to the tag whether it is a happy customer or someone that is upset with their product or service. Using free search tools can help them stay on top of when and where WHCC gets mentioned so that they can respond quickly to customers.
- Look for Mentions That Might Not Be Obvious – Research shows that only 3% of brand mentions actually use a company’s Twitter handle. Instead they are using the company or product name. Because of this, they will often spell the name wrong. WHCC should be searching for their name spelled wrong or variations of the name by using search tools like HootSuite.
- Speed Matters in Social Support – According to The Social Habit, 32% of social media users expect to have a response within 30 minutes and 42% expect to have a response within 60 minutes. WHCC needs to keep in mind that with the fast-paced social media environment, a reasonable response time should be within a 24-hour time frame. Trying to respond as quickly as possible is important.
- Use the Right Tone of Voice – The company’s tone is extremely important in customer support. Social media may limit the character length of your message such as on Twitter which makes the need for the right tone important. The tone depends on the customer and needs to be adjusted for each response. If the customer is frustrated, the company needs to use empathy to engage. WHCC must understand the needs of the customer. Are you frustrated with uploading or commenting on how to achieve something? Understanding is an important prerequisite.
- Take Things Offline When Necessary… The Right Way – not all customer issues can be solved on social media. Sometimes they require taking it offline and engaging with an email or phone call. This could be due to sensitive information or needing a larger platform for a resolution. The trick is to make sure the customer doesn’t feel like they are getting passed around causing additional frustrations. Make the customer feel cared for and that you have empathy for their situation and want to make it right. In order to do this, you may need to add an additional step such as a phone call.
- Use Your Knowledge Base to Make Things Easy – Having detailed FAQs or online links to supporting articles will help limit frustrations when a customer is looking for answers. This is especially helpful for commonly asked questions. WHCC has a robust FAQs page that addresses many different topics.
10 FAQs – WHCC
What do I do to get started?
Click on the “Become a Client” tab and fill out our New Client Questionnaire. You will then receive an email that contains a link to submit up to five 8”x10” test files. We will print your files, set up your account, and ship the test prints back to you — all at no charge. The test prints are a great way to test your monitor calibration as well as view our quality of printing.
Am I required to submit test prints?
Yes. We want to be sure that the color you are seeing on your monitor is what you are getting back in your prints before you submit a real order to us. The test prints process is quick and easy. You should have your test prints and account number within 24-48 hours of submitting your test print files.
I just couldn’t seem to get the files to 8×10 without distorting the picture
When your original file size is not the same aspect ratio as an 8”x10”, the image will distort if you are using the image size in Photoshop with your constrain proportions unchecked to size the file. You can crop your file one of two ways to be an 8”x10” size: (1) use the cropping tool in Photoshop to size the file to 8”x10” at 300 ppi. However, you will lose some of your image. Or (2), you can go to image size, check the constrain proportions box, and size your file to the closest it can be to 8”x10” but size under not over. Then take your 7.5”x10” file (for example) go under image, scroll down to canvas size, and canvas the file size up to 8”x10”. This way you will have a file size at 8”x10” without cropping or losing any of the image. The canvassing method can also be used for printing a custom sized print with us.
If you are cropping your files in Lightroom this should be done from the Develop screen by setting your file dimensions and then dragging the crop tool over your image.
I would like to automate the image resizing using Lightroom instead of Photoshop. However, the jpeg quality option is not 1 to 12 but rather 1 to 100%. Should I set it at 83% quality (based on 10 of 12)?
With Lightroom 84% is an equivalent to a level 10 jpeg.
I received my test files and they don’t match my monitor. What do I do now?
If you are calibrated properly with a calibration device; and your test prints still do not match your monitor in color and/or density: (1) make sure your files are embedded with your color space profile. If they are; then (2) download and apply our soft-proof profile to see if the shifting color/density may be due to the paper and/or the printer the files were printed on. If they still do not match after soft-proofing with our profiles then try to recalibrate with your calibration device reconfirming the settings are at our recommended settings. If the prints are still not matching your monitor please call customer service for further assistance before placing any orders.
If you’re unsure what color calibration is, or you haven’t calibrated yet, see Color Management for more details on achieving perfect color consistently.
How do I calibrate to your printer?
You don’t calibrate directly to our printers. You calibrate your monitor and generate a monitor profile that software like Photoshop uses to show you accurate color on your screen. We calibrate and balance our printers to create a printer profile. Using a standard working color space like Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB and embedding this in your file allows our printer software to make sure what is printed is what you saw on your screen. We recommend all clients perform hardware monitor calibration. This is a relatively straightforward and simple procedure. We recommend the i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display by Xrite.
Do you supply any profiles?
Yes. Once you have an account number, you can download ICC profiles for soft proofing purposes. The profiles are for all of our printers and we also have instructions on how to properly use them. Under no circumstances should you convert to our printing profile or embed it in your files.
Should I embed an ICC profile?
Embedding a valid ICC profile in your image is very important. Without embedding the profile our software has no idea what colorspace your file is in. This will result in unexpected color in the prints. All files not tagged with an embedded profile are assumed to be in sRGB.
What colorspace do you accept?
We recommend using a standard working space profile such as Adobe RGB 1998 or sRGB. However, we accept any colorspace as long as it is embedded in the file. Our software will read the colorspace embedded in the file and print appropriately.
What type of file do you require?
We require level 10 JPEG files to be sent to us. We use JPEG’s because the compression is a very efficient image compression algorithm designed specifically for saving photographic images. It takes advantage of how we see color versus brightness to only save information needed to reproduce the image for people to view. Image data is lost during compression but at high levels of quality you will not see a difference between a level 10 JPEG and a Tiff printed to paper. JPEG compression is perfect for transient files for sending to the lab for printing, but avoid using the compression as a working file type. Also avoid opening a JPEG, making changes, and resaving it again as a JPEG repeatedly. If your workflow calls for this to happen, save your files as Tiff or PSD files until they are complete and ready for output. Any JPEG artifacts you see in your prints come from the JPEG file coming out of your camera, not from saving them as a level 10 for output purposes.
Thank you’s and empathy
WHCC was able to use customer service to make me happy after receiving a mistake that could have been a holiday disaster. Since my experience, I have continued to use WHCC and recommend them to others. My happy outcome urged me to share my experience with friends online and also led to my relative sharing the product with her online followers. WHCC was able to make several happy customers and got some marketing out of it.