How important is customer service?

Yada, Yada, Yada (16 x 16))I’ve had a unique experience that I want to share with you all.  Especially with those of you who are artists and are making a go of being considered a professional in your field.

On September the 11th, I ordered a piece of artwork to be sent to my dear friend who had just emerged from Hurricane Irma, as a gift to her to remember that she is special.  The artist is an acquaintance friend, who is extremely gifted in a unique form of art, and a very dear person.

I paid her right away, and she promised to ship that weekend.

As you can imagine, I was anxious for my friend in Florida to receive the gift, as she had just gone through the hurricane, and I wanted to lift her spirits.

Mid week, the next week, I sent a message to the artist, asking when she expected it to be there.  She stated that she was having some financial difficulties, and could not afford to ship right then.  I offered her an extra $20 if she would ship it right away.  She thanked me profusely, and promised to get it out right away, along with the promise that she would include a special extra for making me wait, and send me pics. (That’s two promises so far!)

Six days later, I checked in with the artist again.  No response for a couple of days.  Then, a response, with the excuse of family issues.  I understand.  Things happen that are unforeseen.

Another week went by…another promise of making it to the Post Office that day.

And yet another week – another promise.

I offered her suggestions.

More excuses.

Today, I made an uncomfortable decision (after messaging her a few more times, with no response – and being promised six times total that she would ship), to file a complaint with Paypal.

I love this artist. She is gifted.  She is soulful. She has that “intangible” that I speak about ad nauseum.

BUT, she doesn’t have customer service.

I don’t trust anything she says anymore….which is unfortunate, because SHE is an artist I would love to support, but can’t.

I went on her facebook page – several collectors have made comments about the same issue.  Which makes me sad for her.

Artists are collectors.  I am a HUGE collector, but, unfortunately, I will not be collecting her art.

So, HOW IMPORTANT IS CUSTOMER SERVICE FOR AN ARTIST?

Probably one of the most important things that you do.

Communicate with your collectors.  Occasionally, snafus happen.  Communicate.

But, never make promises that you can’t or won’t keep.

And, don’t take 5 plus weeks to ship.

May we walk together as one.

Paula

 

8 Responses to How important is customer service?

  1. Yes ma’am! As artists we create and that’s all we’d love to do. Just share what we do, share our messages, and not worry about that nasty little word “business.” But if this is a means of income, then we are a business. Nothing wrong with that. And if we are a business, then we need to BE a business. Big hugs to you for your kind reminder message to all artists!

  2. I see this as being beyond customer service. When you give your word repeatedly and continue to not follow through it becomes more about honor and character.
    When we buy art from someone, we are collecting more than something to adorn our homes, we are getting an object with their essence.
    My personal belief is that if you do your best to be honest and honorable, it will be a reflection of your character and will impact your art and your success.

  3. Ouch. I am so sorry this happened. My big fear is falling through on my agreements. I have done it once with family and I feel terrible about it. Part of it wasn’t completely my fault but the painting was still a week late – too late for the birthday present it was supposed to be. Than you for this reminder. I think artists are often viewed as flaky and we really need to fight this as a community. Be your word.

    • I think that this is the main consensus. We DO need to fight the “flaky” impression that others have of us. No other business should do this, so, why, should we get this sort of pass?

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