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Handling Custom Card Requests (Read 3298 times)
Corrie_131338
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Handling Custom Card Requests
Oct 7th, 2010, 4:05am
 
Realizing that not every artist on GCU is also experienced at communications and public relations, I wanted to post some tips for handling custom card requests (including troublesome ones) as well as some examples of message you can send. I hope people will find this helpful.
 
BE PREPARED
If you’re going to accept custom card requests, I suggest you make your life easier by saving templates of your cards. For each card design you create, save one copy in layers, and create a second copy (.jpg) to upload to GCU. This way, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time a customer requests a minor change like background color or text. If you have lots of cards, invest in an big external hard drive, and don’t forget to back up your files.
 
MAKE IT CLEAR
When you’re logged in, go to Manage Store - Global Preferences. You’ll find Custom Requests. Here you can include a message which customers will receive when they fill out the custom request form. Your message should be something like:
 
“Thank you for your interest in my custom cards. I will get back to you within 24 hours (except during weekends & holidays, when it may take a little longer). PLEASE NOTE: I will be getting in touch with you via my personal email (email address) so be sure to check your spam folder if you haven't heard back from me within 24 hours. Kindest regards, (name)”
 
Why do this? Because customers may expect to receive an email from GCU itself, and your response may end up in their spam folder or be ignored because not everyone realizes GCU is actually composed of thousands of different artists. Giving the customer a message to expect a personal reply should get you a better response.
 
CONFIRM THE DETAILS
When a customer uses the contact form to request a custom design from you, they will most often include an explanation of what they want. Before you do any work, send a confirmation email to the customer. The confirmation email should read something like this:
 
“Thank you for your interest in my cards at GCU. I received your request for a custom greeting card (PID #000000) with the following changes: (list details). If this is correct, please get in touch with me as soon as possible so I can begin processing your request. I look forward to working with you. Kindest Regards, (name).”
 
Do no work until you receive confirmation from the customer.
 
If you’re making a personalized photo card, this is also the time to check any photo the customer has sent to you via the form, and make sure it’s usable. If not, you can let the customer know your requirements now.
 
STAY IN CONTROL
Once you’ve completed the assignment, don’t forget to save a copy in layers (in case of changes) and upload the finished card to your Private Gallery. You can use the Fast Track option, but I prefer to Waive Review as the card is instantly available. Of course, there are hazards doing it this way. You have to choose what’s right for you.
 
Send the customer a message letting them know where they can find their card. Here’s an example of the kind of message you should send:
 
“Your custom greeting card is ready. Here’s where you can view the card as well as place your order: (link). Thank you again for choosing my design for your (type of card; example: Christmas) card needs. Should you have any other requests in the future, please get in touch. Kindest Regards, (name)”
 
You’ll notice that nowhere in this message do you tell the customer anything like “if you have any further changes” or “if you want me to change anything else.” Why? Because when you make those kind of statements, it’s a sure bet many customers will be primed to request further changes to the design, when they likely would have been satisfied had you not brought it up. Do yourself a favour - don’t ask for extra work. If there’s really something wrong, it’s up to the customer to tell you. It goes without saying that you’re going to do your best to produce error-free cards, right? Good.
 
If you’ve made an original design, and the customer requests many changes, how far you take it is up to you. If you’ve done your best to meet the customer’s needs, and you feel you can’t keep making time-consuming changes without compensation, you’ll send a message like this:
 
“I received your request to make the following changes to the custom card design we’ve been discussing: (list changes). Since this is an original design, I wanted to let you know that at this point, these additional changes will be charged at my usual rate of ($) per hour. Should you want me to continue, I estimate (X) many hours of work to complete your new request. The fee can be paid via (PayPal, etc) to (account). As soon as I’ve received your confirmation and your payment, I’ll begin work right away.”
 
Occasionally you’ll have a customer who won’t be satisfied by anything you do. It happens. If that’s the case, you have to decide how far you’re going to let it go. Should the situation become too stressful, I advise you to end the relationship with a message like this:
 
“I’m writing to let you know that, with regret, I’ve decided to discontinue your custom card request. At this time, it’s my belief that our views are incompatible, and I’m unable to continue working on your card. However, as there are many other artists at GCU who are available to take on custom requests, I’m sure you’ll be able to find someone more in tune with your needs. Good luck and take care. (name)”
 
So now you should be able to effectively communicate with customers, and lessen the stress of custom card requests.  Smiley Of course, you can always tweak the sample messages to suit your needs.
 
You may want to bookmark this post for future reference.
 
Corrie
http://www.corrieweb.nl
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Sandra_133229
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #1 - Oct 7th, 2010, 4:58am
 
Corrie,  
It is very kind of you to write this information for all of us.  It is extremely helpful.
 
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Delores_132508
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #2 - Oct 7th, 2010, 5:42am
 
As always, Corrie, your info is excellent.  Thanks for posting.
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Amy_137576
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #3 - Oct 7th, 2010, 8:30am
 
These are great ideas, thanks for sharing.
 
Unfortunately, GCU says there is a 150-character limit on the response note sent to customers.  Your example is 356.  I worked every which way to make one say what it should say and still sound decent within the limit.  It doesn't really - it is pretty curt.  I am guessing your customers are receiving a truncated message.  Seems to me GCU could do better there.
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Corrie_131338
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #4 - Oct 7th, 2010, 8:47am
 
That's odd, because what I put there is exactly the Custom Request message I use. And checking on a custom request form I got yesterday, the full message displays, it's not cut off at all.
 
A mystery!
 
The important part is that you'll contact the customer through your personal email.
 
Corrie
http://www.corrieweb.nl
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Amy_137576
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #5 - Oct 7th, 2010, 8:58am
 
That's strange.  I wonder why it says 150 character limit if it doesn't mean it  undecided.
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Sue_132963
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #6 - Oct 7th, 2010, 11:20am
 
Corrie, You absolutely blow me away!  To think that an artist who is so successful and so busy would take the time and effort to offer all that help to the community, is astounding! So many helpful hints!
You know, for as long as I've been doing this I've always put in the little part about, "If you would like any changes,"... No more!  Your idea is excellent.  They may be perfectly satisfied until I put the shadow of doubt in front of them!
Thank you Corrie.  You're a real team player.  kiss
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Rosalie_136698
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #7 - Oct 7th, 2010, 3:59pm
 
Wow Corrie, you are a champ!  Thanks so much for your help.      Rosie Cards
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Doreen_137017
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #8 - Oct 7th, 2010, 4:35pm
 
Thanks Corrie...Our Mentor  Grin
 
My custom message has been changed to your suggestion since the last time you posted what you use and its worked wonders for me.
 
You go girl  
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Beverly_133630
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #9 - Oct 7th, 2010, 8:27pm
 
SmileyGreat advice and direction!
 
Thank you very much Corrie!
 
bev
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Mindy
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #10 - Oct 8th, 2010, 1:43pm
 
Brilliant and greatly appreciated  Smiley  Such wonderful advice as always.
 
We'll double check on the 150 character limit.  Corrie's message does fit and displays just fine.  We did want size control on that field to limit the size it displays in the custom request window.
 
We will try to leverage/link to this from the wiki as it would be invaluable to all artists.
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Evelyn_142919
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #11 - Oct 8th, 2010, 9:36pm
 
Quote from Mindy on Oct 8th, 2010, 1:43pm:
Brilliant and greatly appreciated  Smiley  Such wonderful advice as always.

 
Ditto, Corrie. Thanks!!   Smiley
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barbara_133221
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Re: Handling Custom Card Requests
Reply #12 - Oct 10th, 2010, 2:30am
 

 
Great advice! Cheesy
barbara
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