Friday, January 14, 2011

Breeder Etiquette

While I know that some people may have enjoyed the Customer blog from yesterday, it got me thinking...

Yes, the customer is someone that can forget the common courtesies that people would appreciate, but what about the breeder?

Breeders have a higher standard to live up to, as they are the ones that are providing the animals and the service that people are seeking.

"The Customer is always right" comes to mind, however difficult that may be to swallow.

And as I mentioned yesterday, that isn't always the case...

But here are a few rules I truly feel need to be followed by all breeders, big and small.

RULE ONE:

Stand behind your animals 100%, or don't sell them at all.

If you don't believe that your animals are top notch, super high quality, and healthy, why sell them?

At least for things you don't want to sell, just let someone else sell them.

Pet stores, flippers, wholesalers, the lot of them just look at the animal for the type and the dollar signs, not the quality, so those are the people that will sell those types of animals.

(Something to keep in mind, my friends, when you are looking for the morph of your dreams in times when the animals are scarce, ie right now)

Is this to say that I don't sell to Pet Stores or other people?
No... I do. I admit that I do.
I supply the local TRUSTED pet stores with low end morphs and normals when need be. This is part of producing a decent amount of animals.

But the ones that I sell personally, I know what went into getting them where they are, i.e. feeding, hatching, caring, etc. That is why I back them up. I know what I did! They are healthy, well-fed individuals with a history I can call upon if need be. That is what buying from a breeder is all about. (We will touch on this again on Monday, per an e-mail request)

RULE TWO:

Answer questions and calls as if they were your own.

Yes, we touched on this yesterday, but I wanted to elaborate on this.

Getting a one sentence e-mail from either the receiving or sending end is not appropriate.
You care enough to sell your animals, care enough to respond with more than one sentence.
"Thank you for your interest" is enough to make it more sincere (at least if you mean it) and more personal.

Also, do so in a timely manner.

Two weeks is not timely, unless you are on vacation and have already told the particular individual that ahead of time. A month or more?? You could be dead for all the customer knows, and heck, if I were them, I would have already moved on to another breeder to find what I was looking for.

It's not rocket science, people. It's common courtesy.

RULE THREE:

The Customer is your friend.

Remember that the customer is not someone who is set on working with you only. There is a reason why they chose to buy from you, albeit quality, price or just cause you are cute, there is a reason.

BUT that reason could also be a reason for them to take their business elsewhere.
There are plenty of breeders out there, and plenty of snakes.

Remind them why they chose you by being courteous, friendly, helpful and there when they need it.

This can be done by a simple e-mail check-in, to an actual full blown friendship, which I personally have done many many times over the years. I am proud to call many of my customers my friends, and I hope they would do the same.

RULE FOUR:

Treat the Customer as you'd like to be treated.

This one is a doozy, as there are so many ways to take this.

Scenario: 

You buy an animal, and two weeks later, it dies. What do you do???

Answer: 

Contact the breeder and see what they say. Hopefully, they have clearly defined Terms of Service that outline what they would/could do for you, but even if they don't, do you expect anything from them? It depends, but I know if I were the customer, I'd at least like to hear what they think happened. Would I expect a replacement animal? Well, again, depends on the TOS of the breeder.

Me personally? I would replace the animal if it were thru no fault of the owners. How is that determined? Necropsy or something of that nature.

Now of course if you step on the snake and kill it, that is a line in which I am not interested in crossing again by providing another animal.

Now lets look again at the Rule.

"Treat the Customer as you'd like to be treated"

Again, we come back to courtesy, respect, kindness and so forth.
Sometimes this is hard for some people. If that's the case, take a step back, a deep breath, and stick to e-mails. You can always type out what you think and edit it later.


This is of course, not the complete list of rules, as I am feeling as if some of them are melding together anyway.

Just remember this, my fellow breeders and aspiring hobbyists:


Customer service is key. Your animals speak for themselves, but you speak for you. Represent yourself and your snakes honestly and with compassion, and you will get far in the industry.


Have a fantastic weekend, my friends.

2 comments:

Chelsea Boocks said...

I tell you what, I wish the man that sold us our cinnamon would read this blog. We've already decided that we're never buying from him again because he was so rude. Snapped at me for calling snakes cute. "It's just a damn snake" well, if it's just a damn snake to you, why are you breeding/selling them? I was complimenting your animal, you can at least be courteous. Anyways, done with my mini-rant. I'm glad you went both ways, with customer and breeder etiquette. Made for a really really good blog.
Chelsea

Krystal said...

You're absolutely right! It's good to be a buyer and a seller so one can see how both sides should or should not act. For example, my grammar grump from yesterday's blog works for sellers, too: if they can't be bothered to type "you" or "to," how do I know they're making the effort to keep their snakes in top shape?

Something that's gotten on my nerves a couple times with regards to sellers is when they don't answer all my questions. I realize it's easy to miss one here and there--that's completely understandable, and I do it too. But when I ask three distinct questions in an e-mail and get an answer to only one of them, I start to get a little concerned, especially when it happens more than once with the same seller. (That's never been you, by the way, in case you were wondering. ;)

I'm not looking forward to those times when either a snake dies or gets sick soon after arriving, but I know it will happen eventually, and I hope I will always be able to deal with those situations in a cool, courteous manner.