Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yikes! I Have Encountered My First Dissatisfied Customer!

Worry dolls from Guatemala.  
School, work, and life in general has always stressed me out.  When I was a kid, my parents bought me a set of worry dolls.  I got a small wood box with about six small dolls inside.  Supposedly, if I put a doll for each worry under my pillow, when I woke about in the morning the worry would be gone.  These worry dolls did not work for a couple reasons:  1.  Six dolls did not cover all my worries.  2.  New worries surfaced by the minute.  At night, I would have nightmares over math.  I could not stop the math problems in my head and it did not help that the answer was always wrong.  I have always wanted to succeed at work, but I am human and screwed up from time to time.  Once, when I was working for Congressman Bonior, I answered the phone and it was Dick Gephardt, the House Majority Leader on the other end.  I was so nervous that it was the Majority Leader on the phone that when I put the receiver down to tell Congressman Bonior he had a call, I forgot to press the hold button.  Fortunately, everyone had a few laughs and it was no big deal.  But, I initially thought I was going to have a heart attack at the age of 22.  My personal life has been known to have messy streaks -- I can embarrass and make a fool of myself daily.  This can be endearing to some and annoying to others.  This is just who I am.  When Mimi was born, I decided to quit my full-time job to full-time job to become a stay-at-home mom.  I have had some part time jobs in the past five years to keep my brain fresh.  But since leaving the full-time workforce, my stress level has decreased in many ways.  I sleep a little bit better and I am a lot happier.  But, then, this pillow thing started.

While I have to say it has been fun and exciting trying to get this pillow experiment off the ground, it has also been stressful. I am kind of putting myself out there.  I write this blog to share my experiences with the entire cyber world, literally.  I sew pillows.  I make something.  I want people to like what I make.  I don't have thick skin.  So here is where today's story starts...

My rejected pillow!  Sadness : (
I got an order for a pillow right around Valentine's Day.  As usual, I am thrilled with any and all orders, and I immediately shipped the pillow.  It arrived to the buyer on February 17th.  We left for vacation on the February 20th.  By the time we left, I figured that since I have not heard anything, everyone was satisfied.  Yes, I am nervous every single time I ship an order.  I did not check my e-mail until a rainy morning on February 23rd.  Yikes!  The buyer sent me a message on February 22nd that she did not like the size of the pillow, that the hand-sewn seam did not meet her expectations, and that she wanted a full refund.  I was a little shocked because I give the pillows a good inspection and everything was in good shape when shipped.  Of course, I told her I would give her a refund when I got the pillow back.  I also offered her 20% off of a future order.  I really want to make things right.  I also worried and stewed over this for a couple days.  When I received the pillow back at home yesterday, the bag was split open and the pillow was a bit dirty.  This worries me -- was the bag also split when she received the pillow?  The seam looked like it got caught on something and was cut.  Did this happen in shipping?  In use?  I guess I'll never know.  But, I do need to take another look into shipping options to ensure that pillows I mail out to customers arrive in the same condition as when they leave my home.  Issues may occur in shipping, but I want to minimize the frequency of those issues.  This was my first return and it sucks!!!  I tried to make myself feel better thinking about all the things I order online that either did not fit or I did not like.  It happens.  That is life.   And, when I think about the fact that I have sold about 40 pillows and have received only one complaint, I feel quite a bit better.  

I am really hoping this is not regularly occurring in the shipping process.
Once I finish my transition to sewing pillow covers (and selling them with or without the pillow inserts), I won't have to worry about hand-sewn seams since all seams will be sewn with the help of my sewing machine.  But, I am sure I will find something else to worry about.  :)  Yes, I am always an optimist.  And, guess what?  I have almost perfected sewing pillow covers.  I am really excited to start using my new fancy fabrics instead of testing scraps.  There are always fun and exciting things on the horizon.  Personal taste and style may not always be a fit for what I sew.  I am human and I sometimes mess up; but, I am optimistic that selling pillow covers will be better for both me and 715 Pillows' customers.  This customer reminded me that there is always room for improvement, and there will most likely be another time to say "I am sorry." 


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  2. Awww, hugs. As for shipping, maybe ask if a few customers won't mind snapping a photo of the package when it arrives? You could also have a customer service survey of sorts. Just know that you cannot please everyone all of the time!

  3. Thank you, Pam! I really do appreciate the cyber hug all the way for North Dakota : ) I love the suggestions - I think I may do a survey in the future.