How is your customer service in your shop?
Best in class? Incredible, with raving reviews from your customers?
Maybe the other end of the stick is a better description? Frazzled. Not quite educated on industry lingo or how to do things.
I’m not talking solely about your office team either. To your customer, the guy on the receiving dock, the printer he talks to during a press check, and even the artist that sends the proof, all represent your company too.
How would you rate your customer service with those people? Do they get a good review and applause from the people that pay your bills?
Here’s another idea. Inside your company, between departments, how is the internal customer service with your crew? Helpful and friendly? Finger-pointing and blaming?
Customer service matters.
In this article, I want to explore what that means for a decorated apparel shop, and what you can do to improve it.
Service In Customer Service
To get the ball rolling let’s simply define that the concept of SERVICE is the fuel for customer service. In my view, this means someone is helping with a friendly smile on their face. They want to do it. It isn’t forced. Just like breathing, it’s natural.
I’m a freak for customer service. Mediocre to poor customer service is everywhere. Which is why when you see exceptional customer service you take notice.
You know this.
Where you live, you have your favorite restaurant, gym, coffee shop, or business that you frequent simply because of the way they make you feel. You don’t think twice about going somewhere else, and in fact, probably pay more for whatever you are getting just because you know they have your back.
It’s a gut-level emotional response. It’s so great, you become their biggest advocate. You bring new customers to them because you want to share the gold.
And when piss-poor customer service effort presents itself, you get outraged.
You tell all your friends. Maybe even share on social media the entire sordid story. “You won’t believe it, but here’s what happened to me when I went…”
You don’t go back, and your crowd doesn’t go back either.
That can be a nail in the coffin for a lot of businesses.
Customer Service is Mission Critical
Which is why you need to spend effort in building a culture of exceptional customer service focus both inside and outside of your company. This is attitude driven.
Think about every member of your team. From the newest hire in production to the leadership team running the company.
Is everyone on the same page? Are tasks getting left behind or people making seemingly dumb decisions? How is the follow up on things?
If you are struggling with internal challenges, what’s missing is your company culture that projects a sense of inside customer service. You want people on your team helping others downstream from them. But also really with anything.
Customer service is mission critical. If you don’t have it with your own employees, you won’t have it with your customers either.
What Customer Service Is Not
It hurts me to even write this.
But yet, I feel that there isn’t any way I can describe a concept-driven piece about customer service for the decorated apparel industry without out mentioning some bad habits I’ve seen or heard about.
- It’s not making fun of our customers. Their bad art. Crazy deadline. Funky hair when they walk in the door. Whatever it is. When some comment is made that belittles them, this carries over to how others will feel about their order too. Our number one job is to help them with whatever they need. Not for the customer to become a punchline. If you see this in your shop you have to stop it immediately. Otherwise, another job gets pushed in front of theirs. Or there is a snicker when they pick up their order. Karma rolls downhill.
- Finger-pointing. You didn’t do this, so we didn’t do that. At the end of the day, does it matter? Fix the problem. Find a solution. Work it out. Make things happen.
- Apathetic or rude behavior. It’s the tone of voice or body language that screams “I don’t care about you”. Whether this is in front of your customer or another co-worker, nothing can be as divisive and dangerous. These people absolutely don’t need to work for you.
- Any sort of harassment. Sadly this exists in our industry. From stupid jokes to unwanted physical contact, some people think that this is acceptable. This may be happening in your shop right now. Wake up and take action.
Your Business Is Known For How It Treats People
Every day your staff goes home to their families. Your customers come into your shop or talk to you on the phone, and then they get on with their day.
When someone asks this question, “Hey honey, how was your day?”, what response do you want them to say about your company?
This is the window that others will view your business. From someone else’s perspective and interaction. Therefore, in everything you do, how do you make people feel?
This is what they will remember.
Think about your shop for a moment. How are you controlling those experiences?
When was the last time you had a meaningful discussion about creating a bigger positive impact on this? Where would you begin if you wanted to change or improve something?
Where You Start
Start with defining what Customer Service really means to your company.
To your customers that pay your bills.
To your staff that makes the magic happen.
Describe what success looks like. Then illustrate what failure looks like. What drives both?
Learn how you can engineer more success, and implement those actions to the point that they are just your shop’s way of doing business.
The secret though is to start working purposely toward improvement and excellence.
Remember, you are only as good as your customer service.
“The best customer service is when the customer doesn’t need to call you, doesn’t need to talk to you, it just works.” – Jeff Bezos
“Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Their needs and wants impact every aspect of your business, from product development to content marketing to sales to customer service.” – John Rampton
“Southwest Airlines is successful because the company understands it’s a customer service company. It also happens to be an airline.” – Harvey Mackay
While we certainly have shop owners from all over the country coming into our Shirt Lab Columbus, Ohio, event on October 27, 2018, this remarkable decorated apparel industry Sales and Marketing workshop style training event was designed for shops within this area.
Not sure if you should attend Shirt Lab? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have an effective branding campaign established for your shop that is incredibly strong and powerful?
- Does your website have fantastic conversion rates for online sales?
- How are you with your sales lead generation? Have you built a fantastic funnel for customers interested in what you do?
- What about how you close sales? Are you the master? Do you have a process?
- Now, think about your social media. Are you using videos to create amazing content that resonates with your customer market?
- What are you doing to add more revenue per order to increase your sales?
- And finally, have you created your own channel where you don’t have any competition?
If you need help with any or possibly all of these, then Shirt Lab is tailor-made for you. It’s built by people in the decorated apparel industry, and all of the instructors are masters at what they do. It’s a workshop-style day. You’ll be having fun while interacting and learning.
Our goal is to melt your brain with the best Sales and Marketing information that we can possibly provide.
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