Mail Order Tips for Beginners
Thanks to our great customers, our business is continuing to grow at a steady, uphill rate. With this increase in business, we seem to notice the beginning of customer complaints about our turnaround time for processing orders.
At first, I became "paranoid" and thought I was doing something wrong. I forced myself to work 20 hour days, eliminated my social and family life completely and ignored anything else that didn't pertain to business. Unfortunately, this approach did not solve the problem. I ended up running my body down and became so ill I was confined to bed for almost 4 days. So, what did I gain?
Then, I received another complaint about our turnaround time a few weeks later. But this time, instead of getting "paranoid," I sat back and analyzed the situation. The 3 complaint letters had one thing in common, they were all from beginners in mail order. My long-time, repeat customers had not complained in the least, just 3 beginners in mail order.
So, I telephoned one of the people who complained and learned they had expected their order within 4-5 days after they mailed their original order in. Since it had been 2 weeks since they ordered, they labeled our turnaround time as "very poor." It suddenly dawned on me that they were expressing the same behavior all beginners experience, lack of patience! But, they aren't entirely at fault.
Why? Because most beginners in mail order are used to shopping locally. They walk into K-Mart, pick out what they visually want to buy, pay for it and take it home (no waiting.) In addition, when these beginners get involved in mail order, they are excited about their business. They are ready to go! They wait and watch their mailbox everyday for the order they in. Their patience wears thin.
Another reason beginners to mail order are so impatient is because the advertisement they answered to send in their order motivated them. They were excited and wanted to learn more. Since they don't have many customer orders to process and take up their time, the beginner will rush to their mailbox everyday, hoping to find their order. Time is slow for them and a week seems like 2 years. So naturally they become angry because they are tired of waiting. What happens to a child who is promised a day at the circus if they clean up their room? Don't they hurry and scurry around just to get the reward?
Eventually, these people will understand why turnaround times can take several weeks for average mail order dealers. If any mail order business has been around for several years or decades, they are probably processing huge tons of mail on a daily basis. And since most of us are too poor to hire outside help, we do most of the work ourselves.
In addition, we operate on low budgets and therefore do not have all the updated equipment that would make our jobs easier. And on top of all this, most of us are very conscientious about our quality and would rather take the time to do each job right rather than "rushing" just to get caught up. That's right! Most of us don't have large offices with 200 employees. We're one-person operations and have to sleep and eat once in a blue moon!
Most beginners cannot conceive the idea of hauling a mail sack or tray full of mail home on a daily basis. Then, it takes 2 or 3 hours just to open it all and another hour or two to separate and begin processing the orders. Couple these duties with phone calls, price quotes, marketing, picking up supplies, designing advertising materials, etc. the average mail order dealer works his/her "behind" off!
Heaven help the guy or gal that has a family. Or a single mother working a part-time or full-time job and running a business out of her home. These people are doing the best they can!
So, if you are a beginner, give us a little slack if your order is delayed (within reason, of course.) The inner-circle dealers who have been in business awhile are there because they have proven themselves to be honest and reliable. They want to provide you with the best quality, so give them a few extra days!
And if you're finding it difficult to wait and you have a lot of time on your hands, send for a few Big Mails and read some of the tabloids and adsheets to occupy your mind.
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