Earlier this week I spent several hours on the phone with National City Bank Merchant Services trying to add a new merchant account for a branch we opened. Amazingly this process started nearly 4 weeks ago. When I first called, I had to make three calls just to get to the right department. After waiting a week for my new merchant number I called to follow up. I was told it was in the process. After another week, I called, and was told the ticket was sent to the wrong department, and closed, and they were very sorry.
I was given another number, which I had to call 6 times before I received a return call. A rep from NCMS came out to the branch, and had us fill out paperwork. I thought finally this thing is going to get done. Wrong. Three days before the branch was to open I still did not have the necessary merchant number. I called the rep and was told she forget to give me a piece of paper work. I faxed it to her. I didnt hear from her the next day and called again. Oh, she forgot another piece of paperwork, but she promised she would come to the location, the day we opened and set everything up. Didn't happen. We opened the location without being able to accept credit cards. I have since made 14 additional calls to NCMS and nothing yet.
The reputation of National City Bank has taken a serious hit within our organization. We have 6 locations and do several million dollars of business with NCB every year. So you question is what does this have to do with my rabbitry. I can say one word it has EVERYTHING to do with your rabbitry.
Good customer service is an important part of our business. Oh, yes, I know we are selling a product. However, poor customer service can lead to dissatisfied customers, and even a loss of potential customers. By the way, statistics prove that word of mouth is the single most powerful advertisment your business can receive. So where is it that we need to be strong in customer service?
Recently a lady had emailed us some questions regarding her rabbit. We repsonded same day. Often we try to reply same hour. She thanked us for the help. A couple of weeks later I received another email from the same lady asking us some more questions. After responding she let us know that she appreciated the help, and that she had contacted some very large organizations and web site, but had not received a response. Where will she go the next time she has a question?
One thing we do with our email is we have it go to several different computers. All email programs I know of have a setting for a copy of your email to be left on the server. We use that alot. Keep in mind that you have to have at least one computer that actuallt takes the message off the server or the company hosting your email will not be very happy.
If you dont have an answer, try to direct them to someone that might. I have done this several times. Breed specific questions are difficult for us to answer outside of holland lops. So if I dont know the answer, Iâ€™ll find someone that might have the answer. We received an email a couple of weeks ago from a guy that wanted minirex. I dont have any, nor do I know someone that does. So at the last show, we found some min-rex breeders got there business cards, and forwarded the information.
I am all for low cost, and easy to make homemade business cards. However, you might be suprised how inexpensive a box of business cards really is. We hand them out every where we go. We always have them with us. Hereâ€™s where another key marketing phrase comes in, first impessions are always important.
Ok, so you are like the rest of us, and its not feasible to spend money to go to a printer. Then look at example business cards on the web, and model your card after one of them. Use lots of color, and good graphics or pictures. Make sure you have some sort of contact info on the card. Be careful about giving phone numbers and names, especially, if your children are involved in the business. I use my cell phone number as opposed to our home number. Its very easy to do reverse phone look ups and get an address from a home phone number.
We love Breeders Assistant for our pedigrees. Everyone that buys from us compliments us on how good the pedigrees always look. Most breeders use Evans Software, which has good pedigrees, but they cant match the fleixbility and design of Breeders Assistant generated pedigrees. We designed them so they match our business cards and our web site.
Ok Iâ€™m being a little unfair here, because I know more than most breeders about the underlying code in a website. I am familiar with php, mysql, java, html, and css. So I dont have to pay someone for that type of service. However you dont have to know about all these things to have a great looking web site. Start by getting rid of the pop ads that come with free web sites. Honestly, when visitors see that on your site, they get turned off and will often leave your site. Their thought is that your rabbitry is not serious about its business. There perception may not be correct, but you might not have a chance to prove it otherwise to them. It can cost as little as $5 a month to get rid of those popup ads, and its worth every dime.
Buy your own domain name. Yes that costs about $30 a year, but you want to create a name recognition. If your site starts off www.geocities.com/â€¦ guess what brand is being recongnized? Think of it this way, when someone needs a facial tissue, what do they ask for? Do you have a Kleenex? What they want is facial tissue but the term Kleenex has become synonomous with the term facial tissue.
If your rabbit has a fault, donâ€™t rely on the novice breeder to figure it out. Some might say, â€œWell they had an opportunity to look the rabbit over.â€ They should look the rabbit over, but maybe its an item they arent familiar with. It would be better in the long run for you to be upfront about the rabbit. chances are at some point, theyâ€™ll discover the problem anyway, and since you didnt tell them, its your reputation that suffers.
Be upfront about strange items that have shown up in offsprings. Ok so the rabbit your selling doesnt have split penis, but a couple of his decendants have. There are questions about the orgin of this problem. It could be genetic, and could be environmental, either way it would be best if you let the purchaser of the rabbit know of those issues that appear in an offspring.
Everyone you run into is a potential customer. Everything you say and do can be used to promote you, or bring critizism to your business. Be aware of that as you deal with people. Make sure the way you present and conduct yourself is professional, first class, and full of good customer service.
Three Little Ladies Rabbitry