The Customer Isn’t Always Right — April Nichole Reveals her Secrets to Keeping Customers Delighted


Judging by the number of things she can cram into her schedule, it would sometimes seem that a.Nichole has found the secret to adding a couple more hours to the 24 that already make up the day. Between her business and the brands she manages, a.Nichole also finds the time to create content for YouTube, record Nikki’s Thoughts podcast, be a mother, and be a Ph. D. candidate.

Somewhere in that hectic schedule, a.Nichole also has to squeeze in some customer service – the part of her work that is sometimes her least favorite.

“When it comes to customer service, I don’t believe that the customer is always right,” a.Nichole explains. “And I think that’s still one of my biggest struggles, even though my preparation is better than most businesswomen.”

a.Nichole came into entrepreneurship after a career in mental health and social work, and she believes it trained her well for dealing with all kinds of people. Still, it can sometimes be hard to handle when she receives unrealistic complaints, especially about things she has no power over.

“People sometimes feel powerless in their day-to-day life, and then they come onto a call or an email exchange, and they give you all the grief their boss, partner, or parent should handle,” a.Nichole explains. “And they don’t get that customer service people, even if they’re also business owners like me, aren’t trying to mess with them.”

Because she’s busy building so many different things and finding ways to satiate her creative, social, business, and academic curiosity, a.Nichole doesn’t like to put up with customers who are in the wrong. A firm believer in boundaries, she’d much rather cut toxic customers off than have them invade her peace with their behavior.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that not all money’s good,” a.Nichole explains. “You have to let some bags pass you because you’re going to make up for it on the back end. You have to pick your battles, and keeping some customers will cost you more than their business is worth.”

Still, businesses need customers, and it would be impossible to run a business successfully while waiting on the perfect customer. With her background in mental health and psychology, a.Nichole has learned all the tricks to pacifying situations quickly and efficiently. It might be figuring out that the customer wants free shipping and then estimating that giving it to them makes more sense than losing them.

She’s also learned that it pays off to be proactive. “One of the things that I do that doesn’t cost too much is I always give a freebie in every order,” a.Nichole explains. “It can be a crystal, some candy, whatever. So even when stuff goes wrong, you can always ask them to confirm they got the free product, to remind them I’ve sweetened the deal from the start.”

These small gifts can go a long way in building customer trust and loyalty if things don’t go wrong. a.Nichole’s strategy for keeping her customers delighted rests on creating high-quality products that do what they’re supposed to. Still, the freebies and the small touches will help people find their way back to her Black Sauce products.

“Being honest also helps, as a lot of people don’t know what it takes for you to do what you do, and for me, they think I’m just slapping the label on some products,” a.Nichole says. “So I educate them about my process, tell them the shipping takes as much as it takes because I have to make the stuff I’m sending them first. Once I started putting that in my order confirmation emails at the top, I stopped getting emails.”

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