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 the client feel they’ve been a part of the journey and have ownership of every step. It is important to clarify and verify to assure you can deliver what is expected, on time and on budget but have you ensured your customer feels confident in their decisions, and have you listened to the feedback given.
Thanks to the internet, potential customers can do their homework and educated themselves about your company and the products you provide. A well-designed website with a photo gallery and descriptions allows them to use terms they may not use every day. With this information, they then can come to you with the beginnings of a conversation you can now mold into the sale you are wanting and the sign they are needing.
However, having a dazzling website isn’t enough. Connecting to the customer is important. In my experience, the majority of customers do not know what they are wanting or needing when ordering a sign. It is vital to speak to them on their terms, use words they understand, and give real-world references. Be clear when providing examples, size references, and materials options. This shouldn’t be overwhelming, leaving your customer 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 overexplaining and showing off my expertise, however, that needs to be saved for the shop.
Your customer needs to be given options, choices, and coaching during the process that leaves them knowing they made the right decision based on knowledge on not by default. Check in with them during this process, be genuine and caring, welcome questions and deliver answers that make sense. Provide visuals, whether that be in a simple sketch or dramatic 3D rendering. This assures you are both communicating effectively and are on the same page. Using your experience, lead your client in the direction to give them the product 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 too will empower your customer as you peeled back the mysteries of a sign shop. Seeing their sign come to life will be an experience they will likely share with others and it is how your company gets promoted by word of mouth most effectively.
During manufacturing, send regular updates and pictures of the sign work in progress. This too adds to the excitement of it all and gives your customer reassurance that their project is successfully being created.
Lastly, be sure to offer your customer an opportunity to provide feedback. 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 less than ideal, constructive criticism will help you learn and grow yourself. This shouldn’t be taken personally, but you should always be taken it seriously. Right the wrong the best you can to assure ultimate customer satisfaction. These efforts will not only create a happy customer but also a raving fan.