Top Posts Of The Year 2014 – #1!

This was the most-read post I wrote in 2014.  It is about one of the favorite topics here on the screed: customer service.  This one was a pleasure to write as was the experience upon which it was based.  It was originally called “Service Done Right,” and that’s something I hope the screed continues to provide for you.  Happy New Year!

I go on an annual golf trip – no shock given that golf is a frequent topic here on the screed. This year’s takes place in a few weeks and part of our group’s tradition (it’s our twentieth trip!) is that each guy brings “free stuff” for every other guy. Of course, it’s never free to the giver, but that’s part of the charm, I guess.

Over the years I’ve made a variety of commemorative T-shirts for the group as my gift and I’ll be doing that again this year (sorry if I ruined the surprise for any of my group that visits here). I designed them and sent the file off with my order to Design-A-Shirt, the company I’ve used several times before. What happened next is customer service at its finest.

First, when they began working on the order, they sent out proof sheets to show me how they had cleaned up what I sent them and to get an approval to proceed.  This is the first step in very smart customer service.  After all, why take the chance on an unhappy customer (bad) or on having to redo an order (worse, and a killer of margins)?  This was NOT a form email.  It came from a person and I responded to a personal mailbox as I approved what they were doing.

To this point, I’d call this above average, smart customer communication.  Here is where it gets extraordinary.  I got this note yesterday:

Hello Keith,

I wanted to follow up on the order you placed with us to provide you with a production photo of your design printed on fabric. Please see the attached photo for reference. We are concerned about the text… as it’s a bit hard to read. To fix that we would either have to move the “ball” up to make the font larger, or use a different, thinner font that would be more legible. Please advise!

Wow.  They printed the approved design on T-shirt fabric and had a human give it the once over.  That same human took the time to write me a personal note and to ask for guidance.  I should remind you that this is for 13 shirts and the total cost was around $150, far from a big order.  Even so, they made me feel as if I was ordering 13 dozen.  Giving equal attention to every customer is part of doing it right.  Not surprisingly, late last night I got an email that the order had shipped and will be here at the end of the week – several days ahead of when it was promised.

Think I’ll be back?  You bet.  More importantly, by using them as an example of perfect customer communication and service – that which goes above and beyond the customer’s expectations – I’m hoping you’ll both learn from them and given them consideration if you need to make a shirt or two.  I know I talk often in this space about how excellent customer service costs less than you think and retaining a customer is always easier than finding a new one.  Hopefully this real word example resonates.  Does it?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

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