Oftentimes when building a business, the customer experience can get overlooked. Or if your business has been around for a few years, people often assume that their customer’s experience is good, because they’re still getting business. However, regardless of what stage your business is at, it’s important to take some time to evaluate what you (and your employees) are doing in terms of the customer experience, and then take a step back to figure out how you can improve it.
When we talk about customer experience, we’re talking about more than just customer service, which typically only looks at how you deal with customer questions and complaints. Customer experience is looking at every touch-point the customer has with your business – start to finish. How do they interact with your brand? And how do they feel when those interactions are taking place. As an example, a new customer/prospect wants to email you to ask for information/quote. If it’s difficult to find that information, that’s not a positive customer experience.
Customer experience will have a enormous effect on whether or not a customer decides to continue to do business with a company.
Take a moment to consider one of the leaders in customer experience: Disney World. Every aspect of Disney World (and the Disney experience as a whole) is designed around providing guests with that Disney experience. Everyone who works in the parks and hotels is in costume. There are hidden Mickeys in the decor in the hotels and in the parks. Guests in the park have come to expect that every touch-point will have branded personality and will have the highest quality of customer service.
While your custom apparel business will not be on the scale of Disney, it still gives you something to think about when building your customer experience. Are all touch-points with your customers accurately portraying you and your company?
Consider your business as a person. They have a unique personality. Things they like and don’t like. Favorite colors. Favorite phrases.
Oftentimes in custom apparel, that personality will be your personality, as you’re the owner/operating and customers are dealing directly with you. However you still need to take the time to consider how your personality is being portrayed to your customers. If you have a bubbly outgoing personality and love bold colors, but your website is quite stark and clean lines, there’s a disconnect between the website that customers are presented with and the person they speak directly to.
Even if you are a home-based business you may want to present yourself as a more professional company (depending on the type of customer you want to attract). In this case, it’s even more important that you consider all touch-points to ensure that level of professionalism.
There are a number of potential customer touch-points you’ll need to consider:
After taking some time to determine the personality of your business, review every touch-point your business has with customers to ensure they align with your desired personality.
To get you started we’ll look at three touch-points and some of the things you’ll want to take into consideration.
Your online presence is often the first contact and impression customers are going to have with you. They need some custom embroidered jackets or bling t-shirts and do an online search for businesses in their area. Or you meet with them in person and they go to your website for more information on you.
What does the personality of the website look like? Does it match the professionalism and personality of the person they met? Does it make customers feel confident and excited to do business with you.
Especially with Facebook, pictures are a great way to showcase your businesses personality. Include pictures of the apparel you’ve created that reflects the type of business you want to attract, whether it’s polos with business logos, charity event t-shirts, or bling cheer shirts. Then pay attention to language and the copy you use. Too often this is not given enough thought and the image caption disconnects from the image itself.
This touch-point is often where businesses start to fail in their customer’s experience. Making an order should be as painless as possible, and in fact, should leave the customer feeling good about their decision. In retail sales they often talk about buyer’s remorse. This can often be a impulse buy that the customer later regrets, or an uncertainty that they made the right choice.
You want to make sure that first, the customer’s order is 100% correct before you start filling the order, and then that they leave excited to see that order filled.
Touching further on the first point of ensuring that the order is 100% correct, you can still provide a casual friendly atmosphere for the customer to make the order, but make sure no steps in your process are skipped, and also have the customer review and sign off on the order via an email confirmation, or signature. This also ensures that both you and the customer are on the same page with an expectations on the order.
A customer’s experience doesn’t stop once the order is delivered. That should never be the end of your relationship with someone. The follow-up is just as important. It gives you an opportunity to reconnect with the customer to find out how everyone is enjoying their shirts. It tells the customer that their business was and still is important to you.
The follow-up also allows you the opportunity to address any complaints. Oftentimes customers won’t tell you what was wrong, they simply won’t buy from you again. This provides you with the opportunity to make things right, turning an unhappy customer into a potential loyal customer.
Your first follow-up should be done within the first week of the delivery, or in the custom apparel was for an event, just after the event finishes.
Create a personality for your business and write down a few key-words that you want customers to associate with your brand (ex: friendly, professional, family-oriented, etc.). Then consider how you can adapt all your touch-points to reflect that personality, whether it’s changing the colors of your website, updating images, or providing something extra in each delivery.
It is this overall customer experience that will keep customers coming back to you, and have them referring new customers to you. Customer experience isn’t as complicated as it may seem, because in the end it comes down to the little things you do as a business, for your customers that make the biggest impact.
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