CUSTOMER EMPOWERMENT IS a key phrase heard often in modern times. But what does that mean, especially in the sign industry? Great customer service and an excellent product need to include making sure clients feel they’ve been a part of the journey and had ownership of every step. It’s important to clarify and verify to assure you can deliver what is expected, on time and on budget. But have you ensured your clients feel confident in their decisions and have you listened to the feedback they’ve given?
Thanks to the internet, potential customers can do their homework about your company and the products you provide. A well-designed website with a photo gallery and descriptions familiarizes visitors with industry terms they may not use every day. With this information, they then can come to you with the seeds of a conversation that you can now grow into the sale you want and the sign they need.
However, having a dazzling website isn’t enough. Educating customers is important. In my experience, a majority of customers don’t know what they want or need when ordering a sign. It’s vital to speak to them on their terms, use words they understand and give real-world references. Be clear when providing examples, sizes and materials options. This shouldn’t be overwhelming or leave your clients more confused than when they started. Take time to explain the difference between aluminum and composite, acrylic and polycarbonate. I, too, can turn into the biggest sign geek with the best of them, over-explaining and showing off my expertise; however, that needs to be saved for the shop.
Your customers need to be given options and coaching during the process that leaves them knowing they made the right decision based on knowledge, not by default. Check in with them regularly, and be genuine and caring, welcoming questions and delivering answers that make sense. Provide visuals, whether that be a simple sketch or dramatic 3D rendering. This assures you’re both communicating effectively and on the same page. Using your experience, lead your clients in the direction that will give them the products that they want.
When possible, invite them to walk around the shop, using it as an educational opportunity. People always love to see how things are made. This will empower your customers as you peel back the mysteries of a signshop. Seeing their signs come to life is an experience they’ll likely share with others and it’s how your company will get promoted by word of mouth most effectively.
During manufacturing, send regular updates and pictures of the signwork in progress. This, too, adds to the excitement of it all and gives your customers reassurance that their projects are successfully being created.
Lastly, be sure to offer your clients an opportunity to provide feedback after the work is completed. This can be through social media, an online form or an old-fashioned phone call. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing you’ve done a good job. However, should there have been an experience that’s less than ideal, the criticism will help you learn and grow your business. This shouldn’t be taken personally, but you should always take it seriously. Right the wrong the best you can to assure ultimate customer satisfaction. These efforts will not only create happy customers, but also raving fans.
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