Thursday, March 19, 2009
Personal Service Trumps Customer Service
I recently clicked onto Etsy and found a pair of earrings I liked, from Laura at Urban Eden Designs. On Etsy you can always contact the seller and learn a bit more about their wares, or ask for customization.
Laura's profile reveals that she's an art school graduate who sometimes makes music or writes, and who also creates really nice small batch body care products (loaded with olive oil, shea butter, and no added fragrance, hurrah), upcycled kimono silk eye pillows, and other artisan goods for sale on-line and at her local farmers' market.
I ordered a couple of pairs of earrings and the package arrived yesterday, complete with a note thanking me for choosing these from among the so many options available in our super-abundant world.
Laura's earrings come mounted on little handpainted cards, which I will keep for their charm factor. They lured me in because of the rolled up words and images out of which they are made, from pages in magazines.
This made me think about how every single experience I've had on Etsy has been a happy one, involving personal service and attention to detail. I'm not a terribly high maintenance customer in any context, but there is an extra dimension to this form of commerce that makes it so much more satisfying than just snagging (for example) assembly-line earrings from a big box store.
After taking a look at elenabella, Laura sent me this message:
"You have gotten me to thinking about funding for the arts, and how it creates jobs. My husband builds harpsichords for a living. His main customers are professional musicians--who don't have venues without funding--and universities, whose endowments have all shrunk dramatically. So you just motivated me to write a letter explaining what arts funding does for us."
Personal service trumps even the best customer service. It's a little less anonymous, and reveals more about the underpinnings of our economy and our lives.