A few unhappy and vocal customers could easily void the best marketing plan and destroy a woodworking business. Therefore, it is imperative to stay conscious of your customer’s experience with you and your company. The next few points touch on principles we feel should constantly stay at the forefront of your mind as you build business and trust with your target market.
Create Quality Products
There is no better marketing than having customers and clients organically tell others about your products and services. So create products they will talk about. Cutting corners never pays off and only cheapens a customers experience and devalues your product. It would be better to err on the side of perfection than on the side of carelessness, especially when dealing with handcrafted wood items. I remember being in a store that had a beautiful live edge slab table for sale that caught my attention. It had very interesting metal legs attached to the underside of the wood slab and my curiosity led me to take a look underneath. To my surprise, the woodworker had used various types of screws to attach the legs, and my perceived value of this particular live edge table instantly dwindled. Now that may seem petty, but if you are going to spend all the time it takes to create a beautiful slab table top, one would think the same attention would go into every facet of the project. My impression was that they ran out of screws and didn’t care enough to make a trip to the hardware store. Whether I am wrong or right about that particular situation, I feel that it goes a long way when your customers believe that you as the artisan put your heart and soul into your work.
Be Conscious of Your Personality
This cannot be stressed enough. Being rude and unfriendly will drive people away faster than anything else. If you are not a people person, find someone who is that will represent your woodworking business. Mistakes can often be smoothed over by humble and friendly customer service. On the contrary, harsh and defensive tones will push customers away and might even warrant some nasty reviews. In business, we all know that the most important person in the business relationship is the customer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the customer is always right. It would end up being better to take one loss than many potential losses due to bad reviews. After all, 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor customer service, according to American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer. So be friendly, go the extra mile, and when face-to-face, don’t forget to smile.
Engage with Customers
Engaging with your clients and customers and letting them know you appreciate them builds trust and a feeling of security. Also, making yourself accessible, quickly responding to messages and emails, and returning phone calls in a timely manner will all lead to an increase in sales and customer trust. Engaging follow-up tactics could include sending genuine thank you emails or letters, posting social media shout-outs, and even asking customers to fill out a review of their experience to help you better serve them. These points of contact show your customers and clients that you are around, invested in your business and more importantly, you’re invested in them. Think about it, have you ever purchased something online or were thinking about purchasing something, but when you tried to contact the company they were nowhere to be found? Have you ever felt like a business owner was trying to avoid you? Have you ever felt like you were put on the back burner? Consistently engaging with customers lays all of these feelings and fears to rest and leads to healthy business and customer relations.
Instead of trying to convince customers to purchase what you create, how about creating what customers want to purchase? By listening to customers and clients you are gaining knowledge about what they are willing to spend money on and what sparks their interest. A simple tweak to your wood products or addition to your woodworking services may make the difference between a sale and a lost opportunity. Many customers and clients will not openly speak about their true opinions if they have a negative experience. They will simply go somewhere else in the future. So it is important to ask questions to ensure they had a healthy experience and when able, engage in conversation about what drew them to your business in the first place.
Be on Time
Whether you are offering a woodworking service or running a retail store that sells wood products, being on time is important. Nobody wants to drive to a store only to find it is closed during business hours. The chances of that customer returning are slim, and if it happens twice you have almost assuredly lost a customer. The same goes for having told a client that a project would be finished by a certain date. Let’s say you promised to have a live edge table finished before the client moves into their new home but you are a week behind schedule. No matter how nice the table is when finished, the customer didn’t have a table for a week! It would be better to be on time, schedule and prioritize correctly, and have happy customers.
We hope this post helps you stay conscious about keeping your customers and clients happy and that you find this information useful. At California Pacific Specialty Woods, we try our best to practice what we preach and give our customers the best experience possible. Please feel free to leave a comment or send us an email here letting us know how your experience was working with us or how we can serve you better.