Keeping ’Em Happy: How Indie Beauty Brands Handle Customer Service

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 15 founders and executives: What’s something you do to keep your customers happy and loyal?

Lisa MattamFounder and CEO, Sahajan

As an indie brand founder, I have always believed that every single customer is taking some sort of chance or leap when they decide to buy one of our products. A client could choose to buy a well-known staple from Sephora or Ulta, but something in her said, "I want to buy Sahajan," so I am grateful for that instinct. I honour it.

With that in mind, I do my best to interact personally with clients. We had a client write us because she got the wrong product delivered to her, and she was upset. She said our serum was a staple for her. I called her personally and explained that we were sorry, that our products are picked and packed by people and, sometimes, people make mistakes.

I sent her the serum and a little add-on. What amazed me was that two months later, she commented on our Facebook page that we had excellent customer service and that the founder reached out to her.  I saw what it meant to her and I make sure that if, for some reason, it can’t be me that responds, whether by call or email, that we always offer a personal touch so clients feel like they are dealing with real people.

Annie TevelinFounder, SkinOwl

Walt Disney once said, "Do what you do so well that people will want to see it again and bring their friends." I love applying that line to customer service. We are a very inclusive brand, one that highlights self-care, girl and boy power, and feeling good about the choices we make in life.

We include personal notes with every package, allow our fans to join in on our Insta-lives so that they can ask questions about their skin. And, most recently, we have integrated a texting application wherein customers can opt-in and ask us personal questions about their regimen, share their skin concerns and everything in between. It's much easier for our customers to text us vs. email us with how at-capacity their inbox already is.

Bethany McDanielCEO and Founder, Primally Pure

We recently sent out a note from me via snail mail to hundreds of our top customers. The note was heartfelt thanks for all the support they have shown Primally Pure over the course of the last year. It seemed to make a big impact, and we noticed many customers posting photos of the letter on Instagram out of excitement, which felt really good.

Alexandra Preston-MorleyCo-Founder, Coco & Eve

We are the only beauty product in the world which has a secret hidden message at the bottom of our jar. So, when a consumer finishes it, they can find the message to get a discount off their next masque.

Our customers and community are at the forefront of everything we do, and I cannot stress that enough. Every decision is made with them in mind. We offer free delivery everywhere, 24/7 support on our website, and we try to respond to every single comment on social media. We have a 100% money back guarantee policy, not only because we really believe in our product, but we also want our customers to be 100% happy, so if they're not, we refund them everything, including paying for shipping the product back.

Sergei GusevCOO and Co-Founder of Scentbird and Deck of Scarlet

Since many of our subscribers have been with us for the long haul, we’ve established a VIP program to thank them by sending them a treat every six months. Another aspect that we pride ourselves in is helping subscribers choose what fragrance they want to try next. Unlike most subscription services, we offer a choice. Meaning, every month subscribers can choose what they receive versus just sending out all the same item.

Kristen RunvikFounder, Lagom Body Co.

Writing personal notes with every order. I truly am grateful for every single order that's placed. Whether it's someone's first order or their 20th, I feel very privileged that they trust me with their skin. I love slowing down and taking the time to write a note to go with every order, and it's a way for me to stay connected with my customers.

Maya CrothersFounder, CircCell

Being a small brand, we try to make up what we lack in expensive bells and whistles with sincere and fastidiously responsive customer service. Many customer service issues make their way to me, and I communicate directly with the customer to make sure issues are resolved in a way that I am happy with. We respond very quickly and as thoroughly as possible. We are on duty over weekends and holidays, and our customer service e-mails get responded to within a few hours. We have a very liberal return, replacement and refund policy.

One of our most loyal professional spa customers needed to fill out their back-bar offerings because their existing supplier ceased operations in the United States. At the time, we were smaller and did not have an extensive back bar offering. This customer enjoyed working with us and asked if we could fill in what they needed. We worked with them to create six additional back-bar products very quickly that, initially, we manufactured just for them. Ultimately, we added these products to our general pro product offerings. Some may even make their way into retail versions. Not many brands can say they would go this far for customer satisfaction.

Lorena GarciaFounder, Majka

We always try to exceed their expectations. If someone did not have an amazing experience with us, we will recognize our mistake and send them a handwritten note to try to turn their negative experience into a positive one. We believe this creates loyal customers and brand advocates.

As a mother and business owner, I recognize the importance of convenience when shopping. We try our best to respond to questions through our social media channels within a few hours and often myself or business partner will respond personally.

A big part of our sales and customer approach is to interact and create meaningful activations and events. Our ability to connect, fuel and nurture mothers is what sets us apart in the wellness space and attracts a loyal following.

José SchnekenburgerFounder and Creative Director, Lock & Loaded

We have two customers that use our products: the hairstylist and the end consumer. A large part of our customer service depends on the stylist and their ability to deliver the desired results of the consumer. When I started my brand in 2008, I recognized a gap in men's grooming. Men wanted a stylized haircut you’d get at a salon without losing the raw simplicity from traditional barbering.

To address this issue, I created Fusion, a 10-step educational program for stylists so they could deliver the best customer service possible. It was so well-received that we expanded it. With the gained confidence from Fusion, stylists are able to provide consumers with a better overall experience, and they, in turn, got better haircuts and styles because of it. It's a win-win solution for everyone and helps us build brand loyalty because of its sincere roots.

Paula HossFounder, CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare

One of the roadblocks that we discovered was that people were hesitant to try new products without being able to touch them. We solved this problem by creating generous samples of each of our products that our customers can purchase for just $3, with free shipping, and that we include with each order. We've heard awesome feedback from our community that they totally feel the love of freebies, and that it reduces the uncertainty of trying a new product and encourages them to try something they might not have considered before.

Danuta DudekFounder, Cotarde

We personalize every purchase made on our website with a skincare test card. This is a unique concept as we want our customers to understand the impact of modern life on their skin. Many people who come to us are surprised to see their skin type being different from what they thought it was.

We try to treat our clients nicely and with respect, meaning we are honest about the suitability of our products and the amount one really ought to be using. Usually, with Cotarde, you don’t need that much to feel the difference instantly.

Calvin HangDirector of Operations, Honey Belle

Iris [Cherng] and I went into growing Honey Belle by being ourselves and truly connecting with each customer. From my experience from past jobs, I realized that I was able to get along with people who treated me as a friend rather than a customer. I took that on and treated each customer as if they were a friend and, by the end of our conversation, we became friends! This converted customers into friends who became happy and loyal to Honey Belle.

Evelyne NyairoFounder, Ellie Bianca

To make our customer service unique, we add a real human element to every interaction. Beyond the product, comes a personal relationship, too. We strive to get to know our customers, communicate, spread our gratitude and cultivate a global connection that inspires women. This might mean we send a quick note, write a thank you email, check in, send a small gift or comment on their social media channels. Every interaction counts. In a world full of distractions, deep, authentic connection is what keeps our customers happy and loyal, and us, too.

Luis PachecoFounder, TO112

We try to anticipate customer service in advance with an online tool we created to help clients select the right products from the beginning. It's a personal touch in this modern world where customers can customize virtually anything to get exactly what they want. It had a massive impact on our online presence, engagement and conversions.

Michelle RanavatFounder, Ranavat Botanics

I hand pack boxes here in our HQ along with notes and a generous helping of samples. I love sending these small extra surprises as a gesture of gratitude.

If you have a question you’d like Beauty Independent to ask beauty entrepreneurs, please send it to editor@beautyindependent.com.