Chitty chatting with my business partner this morning, I got inspired to write this entry. It’s good to know that we are reading from the same page, taking the right bends or whatever the phrases are these days.
When it comes to our outlook on how we feel about our customers (or how we want our customers to feel about us) we are very much in sync. Having neither of us had our own business before, our approach has always been instinctive and organic. Luckily, this seems to have worked so far (well, mostly). Our basic premise was that we would try our best to treat people how we wanted to be treated ourselves.
I know I bang on about this subject a lot, but it really is the very heart of our business and I believe in it very strongly.
In fact, it’s so much part of our business that it’s very alien to us when someone comes in who just wants any old frame, is in a rush or who doesn’t engage back with you at all. By the way, this probably says more about us than them!
You can’t always be on top form of course (that would be madness) we all have our bad days, and you can’t get along with everyone all of the time. But if you resolve to give it your best on the day, turn out a good product and more importantly, if something goes wrong, sort it out properly, then 95% of the time it’s going to work out OK. We all make mistakes but it’s more about how you sort them out at the end of the day.
We all have a little ego and when you work hard to get things right, of course we all want recognition. The product(s) are, of course, a huge part of your business, but for me being interested in someone who has bothered to walk through that door, is my top priority. I do want to get to it right and I am interested.
We are in the process of relocating our business premises nearby and this has been of some concern to us (which all business owners will understand). Sitting there, biting our nails, thinking, will anyone follow us if we go? Well, of course, that can never be answered. But recently, I’ve been amazed at how much of an interest our customers have taken in us, just by talking to them about what we intend to do.
This process has set us onto a path of communication like never before. I’ve set up this blog, our company has been producing e-newsletters, taking customer’s e-mail addresses, setting up a Facebook page and generally getting out there raising the profile of us and framing in general.
Our bid to keep our customers informed has given us a real boost. To our surprise, they actually want to be informed and engaged. They seem to care about whether we are going to be around or not and for that we are truly grateful. The thing to remember is that it takes a lot of time and effort this communication lark but now it’s becoming an integral part of our business that we just can’t ignore.
Back to the chitty chat I had this morning. I was interested to see what my business partner had to say on the subject. So, over a coffee, I asked the question. What do you hope our customers feel when they come into the shop? The answer he gave I was quite satisfied with, “if people like us, it’s good, if they don’t, that’s sad but as long as they think we are genuine, that sits OK with me”. Well said!
But the real meaning behind what I am saying, is that you must keep in touch with your customers. Keep them informed, help them understand that you give a damn and in turn, it should build a mutually beneficial relationship for many years to come.