We run a business with customer service at the heart of what we offer. Stories we hear about the service nightmares others experience with other vendors are powerful reminders of what we think is important–providing great service.
Recently a new customer came in lamenting about a nightmare he had with another embroidery company. He had placed his order for shirts a whole month before the trade show he was attending. A whole month. The company, which had a storefront, didn’t deliver the goods in time and the customer was out of luck.
That’s not the first story we’ve heard like that. Like finding a good mechanic or real estate agent or hairdresser, finding a good source for embroidery is sometimes a nail-biter. Buying off the Internet can be dicey when you don’t know who’s actually going to fulfill the order and you’re not assured about quality. Internet sites sometimes offer extraordinarily low prices which seem like a real bargain until the customers sees the actual work and realize how cheap the quality is.
But as we’ve seen through the laments of some of our customers, walking into a local store is no guarantee that the product will be good and delivered on time. Here are some suggestions for improving your odds of being satisfied.
Seek out recommendations. Ask people around you if they have any recommendations. If that’s a dead end, ask people on Facebook and Twitter. This is a good and frequently fast way to get some tips.
Stitch-out samples. Another way to gain some confidence in an unfamiliar vendor is to make sure that the embroidery provider shows you a stitch-out sample. Without a sample you’re stuck with what you get. If you’re ordering on the Internet and speed is an issue, you may have to settle for a photo of the stitch-out, but that’s a lot better than guessing and hoping.
Guarantees. Find out if the provider guarantees their work and under what circumstances. If the company is local to you there’s a little more assurance that it will be honored, and you have some place to go if you have a problem.
Who’s doing the work? In today’s global economy you may not know unless you ask who is actually performing the work you’ve hired someone to do. Many Internet marketers are essentially just order takers. Some other company, possibly in another country, does the work. When it all works fine, everyone’s happy. But if you have an issue with the merchandise, getting the issue resolved can be a problem.
Ask for references. Especially if you’re placing a larger order for your business, it’s good to see who stands behind the vendor you’re choosing.
Reality check. Sometimes customers have visions of what they want done that are much more complex than what a provider can deliver, especially at a great price. Like anything else you need to know the limitations of the medium. A good embroiderer will be able to give you plenty of options to keep the costs down and the quality high.
Get the details. Part of a reality check is knowing how much lead time the vendor needs to get the job done. Vendors have to order products, prepare the art, and schedule the work flow. Giving generous lead times helps the conscientious vendor do the work in an orderly manner. Also as a reality check get the word on price and method of shipping.
Price versus value. It’s worth repeating our chant that the lowest price may not be the best choice. Some vendors might offer low quality garments to keep the price down, yet the quality may be so low that the end wearer won’t want to wear the thing. Be sure you know what you’re buying for the price being offered.