I have two words for you Kraken lovers. Just the two. Yet between them they contain such explosiveness that they’re the social equivalent of a lit fart in a firework factory. Yup, I’m talking about customer service, that thing that we entrepreneurs are supposed to exude with ease but, for some, it would be easier to remove their kidneys with their own teeth. Here’s what I mean… When I started Kraken Kreations I knew that it was all about the customer service. There’d be no point in my furiously matching patterns and fretting about invisible stitches if I was then going to treat my customers as if they’d taken a shit on my doorstep. Late delivery of orders? Nope. Deathly silence following commissions? Never. Roughly bundled parcels shoved in the post? Over my dead body. Thing is, and I hate to be the one to break this to you, not everyone shares my customer service sentiment and it seems in my travels around local fabric shops and post offices I meet a boggling number of people who seem to hate me for giving them money. It’s from these people that I learn the most about treating customers as if they’re actual, machine gun-waving, paid-up members of ISIS. Take the aforementioned post office. If I treated my wonderful kraken lovers like my local postmistress treats me I’d need to lock myself under the stairs for my own protection. When I take in parcels she handles them as if they are actual bombs (she once sternly asked me if I was planning to make a plane explode). When I ask for proof of postage I get a reaction that I’ve only previously seen on dogs when they’re vomiting up grass. And when I ask for proof of postage on several parcels/ bombs she does all but punch me in the throat. In fact her clear mortification that someone is using her post office for purpose for which it is intended has been enough to make me use a post office a further two miles away. It’s been a customer service masterclass, but more of a masterclass on how to excoriate strangers rather than in how to encourage customers. And don’t start me on the fabric shops… I said don’t start me. Oooops, too late. The owner of one shop, a wonderful warehouse of fabric delights, grunts at me for daring to hand him £2O notes. If I go in there with Kraken Junior he actually tells a member of staff to follow me to “make sure that kid doesn’t touch anything”. When I kindly ask him to fetch a bolt of fabric from a rack (because he has large signs telling customers that they aren’t allowed to do it) I get the distinct feeling he’d like to spit in the stiff drink I need when I leave. He’s in good company though because another fabric shop near me is equally vile towards the very people it needs to thrive. Now, this place is spectacular. It is so stuffed with beautiful fabric that I catch my breath every time I walk in. Thing is, it seems as if the owner catches his breath too. He’s complained that I haven’t bought enough fabric (this was when I asked for four metres of a cotton print) and he’s complained when I’ve dared to feel the roll of red crepe from which I was about to take five metres. It wasn’t so much a complaint in all fairness. It was more of a snatching motion as he ripped the fabric from my hand before barking, “Well? Are you going to buy it or not?” In fact the entire shop is run like a museum. You can look but you’re gonna be wrestled to the ground if you touch. Look, I know that after reading this list of grumbles you could be forgiven for thinking that I am a truly wanky customer. I must be the sort of woman who wipes her nose on bolts of damask or the kind of customer who lets her child tie knots in the bias binding. Thing is, I’m not. Want to know the type of customer I am? The type who has such a searing adoration of fabric shops that I’d be more likely to set fire to a puppy than to soil a roll of ribbon. These places are my little temples, where I worship at the altars of Harris Tweed and shantung sink. I don’t even wash Kraken Junior’s hair with the gentleness with which I finger fabric. That’s how shitty a customer I am. Which means if anyone knows how to not treat her customers it’s me. If a customer left my online shop feeling as I do when I leave that post office I’d be agog with mortification. And if you have ever, ever, EVER had a message telling you where to shove your order, it as sure as shit wasn’t from me. In fact all of this has made me realise more than ever that one of the joys of buying a product is the personal service you get as a result. Instead of just handing you a hand sewn tote I like to think I’m handing you a cheery experience too, one where there are a couple of laughs, lots of consideration, patiently answered questions, bags of choice and at the end of it all, a gorgeously wrapped parcel with a personal message that leaves you aglow. At no point will I ask you if you’re a bomber. No, really. Well, not unless you want me to. Do you want me to? Ok then. I will! Now, THAT’S what I call customer service.