Inspiration: Setting standards for e-commerce customer experiences

When I started the doll story project mid-2016, I purchased a lot of older dolls online new in boxes with the idea of keeping the ones that fit the story then simply re-selling those that didn’t. I’d received many a sloppy and damaged box from ebay doll purchases, so when I received one from “Kimberly,” dolls carefully tissue wrapped, Barbie lapel pins in a small organza sachet bag and lovely thank you note all packed inside a clean sturdy shipping box, which came on a particularly rough day for me. I was touched in a way I didn’t expect.

Over the next few months I purchased more from her and each package was as thoughtfully packed as the first. But then, she completely surprised me with these beautiful dolls, “a gift,” she wrote. Her kindness, the kindness of a stranger, served as an unexpected and powerful emotional salve.

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I mean, an Angel? She sent an Angel? Playing a harp? A musical Angel. And the lovely doll in lavender satin she made “at a doll party,” she said. The painted shoes, her makeup, the hair styled, the dress. And I have no idea the story behind the silver one, except that the dress is handcrocheted. All three were immediately added to my doll story (BackTalkCafe.com) lineup.

Not only did Kimberly inspire me with her kindness and generosity, but she brought back home the idea of “customer experience” that I’d not experienced online. The dolls, the tissue paper, the lovely packaging, the note, all of it took me back in memory to my much younger days working part-time at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. I was only 19 so it was a great way to build a quality professional wardrobe for my office day job. (We enjoyed generous employee discounts at that time.) And Dallas in the early 1980s was all about clothes (and big hair, which I did not and do not have) with competition fierce in the professional arena. The care with which we were trained to attend our customers was commensurate with the exquisite designer fashions and attention to every detail expected of the Neiman Marcus brand at that time.

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Kimberly reminded me that its not about the venue, rather it is about the customer experience, which is no means limited to the product. Each product category is different of course, but for me, in a way, the dolls and clothes take me inside a miniature Neiman Marcus as I set them up in displays to photograph for listing to sell online.

I’ve sold probably 1200 dolls and doll fashion sets in the past year; and each are carefully wrapped in tissue paper, tied with silver ribbons, packed efficiently in clean shipping boxes. And most include a small gift, such as extra shoes or hangers and hairbrushes in colorful organza sachet bags — and a thank you note. (Although I am running low on those little gift extras as the last of the inventory sales, one by one.) The cost is oh so minimal and it only takes a few extra seconds per package, but I want my customers to know that I care about the dolls and/or fashions and their condition as much as they do.

Kimberly was the spark of that inspiration; she set the standards as far as I’m concerned. I owe her for showing me how to achieve 100% positive customer feedback; the Kimberly factor. I will always be thankful to her for teaching me so much with her thoughtfulness, attention to detail, and kindness.

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Photos in this post © Krystyn Hartman 2018

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