Whether you’re brand new to the embroidery business, are going into your second year and are looking to increase sales, or have been around for a few years, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your Customer Experience and evaluate what you’re doing and how you can do it better.
So what is the customer experience? It’s more than just customer service – how you deal with questions and issues. It’s the whole experience your customers receive, start to finish, when they are interacting with your brand – your company. It’s how your customers feel throughout all touch points with your business – from the initial contact they make with your business, to when the final product is delivered to their door.
Think about some well-known brands: Starbucks, Disney, Nike, Hilton, Abercrombie & Fitch. Chances you’ve made image and word associations with these brands. It’s not by chance that these images and words pop into your head. There were deliberate decisions made by these companies. If you go into a Hilton Hotel you have a certain expectation about your experience, and anything that falls below that expectation will feel off, and even negative.
If you’ve never really thought about the customer’s experience before, it might seem like a lot to consider. But if you start by asking yourself “what is the personality of my business” everything else will extend out from that.
Think of your business as a person. When your business interacts with your customers: What do they wear? What do they sound like/how do they talk? How do they treat their friends?
A lot of times, if you’re a home based business, the personality of the business is in fact, you! (or an extension of you). It doesn’t have to be though, you can still be a home based business and still give off a professional attitude, or even as a larger commercial embroidery business have a relaxed, friendly attitude.
Once you’ve written down the personality of your business, then start to think about all the touch points your customers and potential customers have with your business:
- Your website/Facebook account/etc.
- The phone
- In shop/store
- The delivery
- The follow-up
When a customer interacts with all those touch points, does is the experience they are having reflect the personality of your business? For example, if you’ve decided you want a professional business experience, do the emails you send out start with “Dear [customer’s name]” or “Hey [customer’s name]”? The second example (Hey) is very casual, and does not fit in with a professional experience.
Let’s take a look at three of those touch points to show you how your business’s customer experience can be showcased, and improved.
Your website or business Facebook account is often one of the first touch points with customers. They may have just searched on the internet for local businesses, they may have gotten your card, or been referred by a friend. However they heard about you, they’re going to your website because they want to know more about your business and the services you offer, whether it’s embroidery, or t shirt transfers, they want to know ‘will this company be able to do what I want?’ First impressions are essential. As soon as that customer comes to the website, what is their experience, how are they going to feel. If you’re a home based business, often a business Facebook account is all you’ll need, and it’s okay to have pictures of your pets on their. But you probably don’t want to include pictures of your summer vacation on there. If you’re a professional style business you may want to consider hiring someone to create a really clean website.
How do you (and your employees) answer the phone? No matter what the personality of your business is, it’s always a good idea to have some kind of greeting. This reassures the customer that they’ve called the right place and sets the tone. If you want a very professional personality, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple: “Good afternoon, thanks for calling Custom Embroidery, this is Stephanie speaking. How may I help you?” If you’re a home based business it can be more casual: “Hey. This is Joe’s T-Shirts. I’m Joe. What can I make for you?” Whatever you do make sure the customer feels like they’re dealing with a business they can trust.
Even how the product is delivered to the customer affects their experience with you. No matter if you’re a home based business or a larger scale business how the customer feels when they receive the product is important. If the product is just haphazardly tossed into the box, that’s not going to give a good impression. We have 5 simple things you can do to make the delivery of the product that much better:
- Include a thank you note. Whether this is handwritten every time, or a pre-printed card you sign.
- Individually box the sizes if it’s a large order, or if it fits in one box, make sure the sizes are all together and in order.
- Deliver the product in reusable containers that you can come pick up later that week.
- Put a candy, small toy, or some other inexpensive small object in – paper flower, a rubber duck, an embroidered patch – something that fits the personality of the business.
- Individually bag shirts.
Depending on your business personality you may find that including a toy doesn’t fit with your brand, but the thank you note, and reusable containers would really resonate. Only adopt what fits your personality, and think about other things you may want to consider trying out.
The best thing you can do is write all this down. From the personality of the business, key-words you want customers to associate with your business, how you’re going to answer the phone and emails, how the packaging is going to look, to even the colors you use across your website and branding. This can change and evolve, but once it’s written down, each time you interact with a customer, refer back to the list and ask “did that interact fit the personality of my company?” If not, what do you need to do differently?
Any businessperson will tell you that it costs more to make new customers than to keep existing ones. Your recurring customers are what will make your business a success. So take a look at your customer experience and think about what you can do to keep your customers coming back. Customer experience doesn’t have to be complicated; sometimes the little things will make a big difference.