"In the end, the customer doesn't know, or care, if you are small or large as an organisation...She or he only focuses on the garment hanging on the rail in the store."
--- Giorgio Armani
One of the thrilling aspects of running a business is providing great customer service. When we receive positive feedback from our customers, it's as if nothing else matters. It is like being overwhelmed by that first kiss or the sight of the first new car: all focus is on the moment.
It is not that profit and success doesn't matter, but those things become peripheral when a customer voices his or her satisfaction. The words of a satisfied customer are like magic. They are similar to honey for the bee, drawing us in to savor the sweet sound we long for.
"We can believe that we know where the world should go. But unless we're in touch with our customers, our model of the world can diverge from reality. There's no substitute for innovation, of course, but innovation is no substitute for being in touch, either."
--- Steve Ballmer
Of course, we would never know what our customers think if we never asked. Asking can come in a variety of forms. We can simply ask the customer face-to-face or on the phone, "Hey, how are we doing? Are you satisfied with the way you've been treated? Are you happy with the results of our service?" We may never know if we didn't ask.
There are other forms of asking, such as through email surveys, (we offer this service!), snail mailing surveys, questionnaires attached to invoices. Whichever form is used accomplishes two important things: First, we get to find out what our customers think of us… duh! Second, our customers get a sense of how much we care about them because we do take the time to ask them what they think about us.
"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better."
--- Jeff Bezos
We can't just take all of the good comments about us and bask in them. No, we also must face the music and listen to any negative comments our customers might have to say about us. We have to analyze them and find out ways to improve the service we provide.
Here is a scary suggestion: You know how some businesses frame all of their positive, flattering comments from customers and post them where others can see them? Why not be really bold and frame all of the negative comments as well. Include in the picture frame what your company is doing to correct whatever bothered the disgruntled customer. It is a gutsy move, but one that displays honesty and a willingness to do whatever it takes to correct a bad customer experience.
"Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business. Yes, and that is also true if you are a housewife, architect or engineer."
--- Dale Carnegie
A friend of mine runs a commercial landscaping business. He has 88 employees and does a little of $5 million per year. Commercial landscaping in Central Florida is a cut-throat business where finding employees is difficult and keeping customers even more so. This friend stays in business because every employee understands the concept of great customer service and is empowered to make the customer happy at all costs.
If an employee accidently blows grass onto a vehicle, the employee can provide the owner with a voucher for a car wash. If a sprinkler head is broken, the employee fixes it immediately or has it repaired the same day. Foremen are empowered to bring lunch for the client's entire office staff without a reason.
My friend is currently setting goals to double his business in the next three years and looking into franchising ---- all because he understands great customer service.
"For us, our most important stakeholder is not our stockholders, it is our customers. We're in business to serve the needs and desires of our core customer base."
--- John Mackey
Engineering & Testing Graphics for Reliable Performance
By Kenneth M. White & William J. Hunt, Ph. D.
How confident are you that your customers' graphics will look good for the life of the intended applications? To help protect your customers' brands (and your reputation) this article discusses the necessary tests, standards and questions you should be asking your suppliers when it comes to graphic performance in a variety of environments.
Read the article...
A Guide for Sign Shops: Taking the Plunge into Digital Fine Art and Photo
By Jennifer Chagnon
This article will focus on the wide range of digital art media in assorted weights, textures and finishes that can affect how the final image looks and feels. And also provide sign shops with useful tips and advice for successfully jumping into this lucrative market.
Read the article...
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Sign near roadside mall in Nebraska:
"Qu!t 5T3AL!N6 OR LETT3R$
Sign at truck stop near TN:
On a Septic Tank Truck:
"Yesterday's Meals on Wheels!"
We know those funny signs are out there. Take a moment and send them in to us and we'll share them with the world. Send all hysterical observations to: email@example.com.