Have you ever sat down and taken the time to understand what it means to offer good customer service in the custom decoration industry?
It’s a lot more detail-oriented than you might think. We here at DecoNetwork pride ourselves on offering the best customer service to our clientele and you should, too.
In order to find out all the intricacies that come with customer service, we turned to DecoNetwork expert Zach Dewhurst, who has been a client of our software for years and also serves as a DecoNetwork consultant.
Talking with Zach, we were able to break down customer service from the print shop perspective into four major categories.
Business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), contract and affiliates.
And before you yourself can start offering the best customer service, you need to look at what category or categories your business model falls into.
In the first installment of this series, we will discuss a B2C business model and how you can best offer customer service to those sorts of customers.
If you’re running a B2C model, you would likely focus on the consumer who is looking for shirts for their mom’s 50th birthday party or for a family member’s graduation party. With the B2C model, you will be working directly with the end-user and if that’s the case, a different breed of customer service is needed.
Build A Good Website
One of the most important things you can do if you’re a B2C business is to have a good website. Having a good website allows you to avoid the walk-in customer that is not only more difficult to work with, but also cuts into your profit margins, according to Zach.
“Having a website to complete simpler transactions greatly helps a lot of the tedious customer interactions that aren’t very profitable,” Dewhurst said. “You want to have the website doing that.”
Should You Allow Walk-in Customers?
This brings us to our first major question to you as a custom decorator. Should you allow walk-in customers? It’s relatively safe to say that your typical walk-in customer has its pros and cons and you need to weigh that as a business owner.
“The walk-in customer can be an absolute nightmare,” Dewhurst said. “Walk-ins will often destroy any profit in an order. If you walk in my door and you want to talk about ordering one DTG shirt, I’ve already lost money. I will never make money off that order.”
However, if you’re willing to take that on and use a website in more cases than not to save yourself a bit of time and energy for both you and your customer, there are major benefits that can come from it down the road.
“What a lot of people will argue, and I don’t disagree with it, is you often take that one-off for that person and you don’t realize that they are married to somebody who is the CEO of a large company,” Dewhurst said. “It happens all the time.”
Keep Your Customer Informed
While your customer interaction with smaller transactions in a B2C model will likely not be as high as one in a different category such as B2B, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to inform to work with a customer to make it a smooth process.
At the end of the day, you as a business are offering a service. You’re in the business of taking a blank and decorating it, meaning your customer has a say-so in what the end result looks like.
Educate your customers on what T-shirt they should choose. Make choosing the right artwork as simple as possible. The average person isn’t going to know enough about the artwork process, so it’s your job to serve as the art department, whether that be you personally, or someone you hire that is in charge of that.
“I think a big thing when it comes to service is to not overwhelm the customer,” Dewhurst said. “Putting too many products in front of the customer can be dangerous. If you want to make life easy, narrow down your product mix so the customer can easily make a decision.”
Communication is key. In the B2C business model, you need to maximize every opportunity you get to make your customer happy. Even if you aren’t making a lot of profit from them in the beginning, you might down the road.
Don’t ruin a relationship with a customer before it ever starts.
Check back later this month for the next installation of this series where we will break down how to offer great customer service for the Business-to-Business model.