How to handle the irate customer? Check out How to Talk so Kids will Listen & Listen so Kids will Talk by Adel Farber and Elaine Mazlish (the teen version is equally excellent). This bible of child rearing is one of the best non-business books that makes perfect sense in the business world. Read it and you will believe.
One of the best take-aways from the book was how to use the following expressions Uh-huh, Oh, Interesting, Really? I See and Mmm, along with sympathetic silence, during a customer rant. It was astonishing at how powerful these simple little words made it possible to diffuse/resolve a situation with the irate, unreasonable, emotionally charged, often loud, unhappy-and-wanting-justice customer in the calmest, most peaceful way possible. Speaking from experience, these practical tactics (and some appropriately interjected humor) help to restore sanity and harmony in a tough customer/workplace situation. Though we might fantasize about strongly articulating, why you gotta be so mean?, logically, we know that a defensive posture will just be a lose-lose situation. In the end, what we really want is to retain a customer who will remember that we tried hard to solve a problem to his/her satisfaction.
Here is an excerpt from a summary of the book …..The more I move through life and the business world, however, I am struck how the same techniques enhance communication between adults in all aspects of life. This book should also be listed in the Business/Management section. It says all the same things the high-priced consultants say — treat people with respect, do not deny their emotions, state the facts (only) and shut up and listen. This book also talks about giving praise and recognition, which makes it another reason to use it in real life, inside the family AND outside in the “real” world.
Some tips with tactics from the book:
Apologize and Listen. Immediately respond to the customer problem with, You do sound unhappy, my apologies. Let me help you. (or) I’m so sorry, I want to try and turn this around (or) if all else fails, It sounds like we owe you an apology.
Then…let the customer talk and respond at intervals with, Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See (non-judgmental words) so that the customer knows you are listening.
Treat people with respect: actively listen, acknowledge with short bursts of Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See. If appropriate, throw in a that does sound frustrating. As the customer is able to air the complaint, he/she should start to calm down.
On the other hand, if the customer is just becoming increasingly angry and/or abusive, try to retain integrity and calm and say something like, I understand that you’re very unhappy and I want to help you, but at this point I need to put the president of the company on the phone (or) I need to ask for your name and number so that the president of the company can call you back.
State the facts back: Ask yes or no questions, only, to get the full details of the complaint. And to reach a resolution. Once you think you have it, remain sympathetic. State back the problem and resolution. Gain agreement that the resolution you’ve discussed is understood by the customer. Say something like: So that we’re both comfortable (another good word from the book), we’ve decided that our company will fix the equipment and you will pay to have it shipped to our location (or) Just to confirm, you understand the step-by-step set-up instructions and you are now comfortable in completing the set-up?
Thank the person for calling; document the conversation point by point.
And be awed at the huge impact of Oh (or) Interesting (or) Uh huh (or) Really? (or) Mmm (or) I See!
Hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading and subscribing!
Wanted to share this blog by Jonathan at Catspit Productions. It’s well done and answers the question for many of us who are often frustrated with the process. The Catspit Forum is a great place for Q and A.
Thanks for checking out this video and subscribing.
This small, screen printing shop strives to offer sustainable, fairly-traded t-shirts and other products that are screen printed. Check out their website at www.sustainablescreenprinting.com. It’s a great source with lots of practical information besides showcasing their products and business.
This is their Modus Operandi that is: We print t-shirts! (among other things).
We seek to work with businesses, organizations, musicians, artists, crafts-people and anyone who would like to see their vision become an amazing screen-printed reality. We are here to promote beautiful situations and empowering surroundings for whole living.
Sus•tain: v. 1. To keep in existence; maintain. 2. To supply with necessities or nourishment. 3 To keep from falling or sinking. 4. To support the spirits or resolution of; encourage. 5. To endure or withstand: sustain hardships. [< Latin. sustinere, hold up.]–sus-tain´a•ble adj. -American Heritage Dictionary
Sustainability- “…meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet there own needs.” -1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development
What does it mean to use sustainable practice in screen printing?
Small is Beautiful~ 1st we are a small shop. Being small allows for great efficiency in the use of resources and materials, such as water, electricity, ink, and other tools of the trade, while still being able to handle large volume orders.
There are several other practices we use to bring our products closer to an ideal of sustainability.
•We use water-based inks, which have a much lower environmental impact than the pvc-based industry standard.
•We print on garments made of 100% certified organic cotton.
•We print on garments that are sweat-free, either American-made or in foreign facilities using fair-trade standards.
This does not mean our products and our process is perfect. We are always researching and tuning our process to provide a product that creates the least possible impact on our home, the Earth.
Hope you enjoyed this information as we all strive to consciously be sensitive to Mother Earth.
Beware of late night blog attempts to churn out “just one more” even though you believe that you are at the top of your game despite the fact that you’ve been running on high for the previous 15 hours (with no caffeine – based beverages). I share this fresh experience and ask that you please re-read, the MUST DO blog completed in the early hours of 5/23 that now includes the CORRECT link to the American Screen Printing website. Please click HERE to check out this site.
I offer sincere appreciation!
There is a wonderful publication in Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples, Florida, and probably others that are similar throughout the country, that specialize in providing the broadest possible amount of information regarding the local area attractions. “Must Do” targets arts venues, festivals, restaurants, the best beaches (#1 Siesta Key Beach)
natural attractions, family fun, single fun, night life, shopping, accommodations and more. And it includes a plethora of coupons from 2 for 1 meals to rent one kayak, get the second for half price. The publication is a “Must Do” for both tourists, part-time residents and local residents.
So…in the fashion of this magazine, here is a short list of “Must Do” items for screen/graphics printers:
Attend a trade show. This is where you get revved up. Learn about the latest technologies and techniques, see hands-on demos, meet manufacturers, attend seminars at, for example, ISS/Las Vegas, August 12 – 14, the Chicago/Craft Hobby Association show,July 16 – 19; the NBM show in Philly, September 21-23; SGIA Expo, October 18-20 in Las Vegas.
Invest in becoming educated and involved in Social Media to up your game. Doesn’t matter your age, just get going! Start with Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitpic, Foursquare, Google+, Orkut. Figure out how to add an e-coupon to your marketing campaign that will help you engage others to learn about what you/your business has to offer.
Learn how to navigate youtube.com and watch hands-on video demos. People love to teach and post on youtube.com/screenprinting and there are plenty of screen/graphics printers out there who relish in sharing their craft and art in step-by-step educational videos or ones that are just plain hysterically funny.
Join a forum such as the one offered by Catspitproductionsllc.com (this site also offers educational videos) and talk to the experts. Reading all the Q and A’s is a great way to figure out how to formulate your own questions, find start-up business equipment and sources for products, screens, supplies, and more.
Research and then institute the use of eco-sensitive, screen cleaning products like RhinoClean Green² to help lessen your carbon footprint on mother earth. The introduction of these types of products into a shop showcases responsible business practices that have enormous advantages for employees and customers, as well.
Read/subscribe to trade publications either on-line or in the printed version. This is where you can receive guidance, read about new printing techniques, learn about all the new innovations on the market. For example, pick from any number of publications such as Sign and Digital Graphics, Impressions Magazine, Printwear, Screen Printing en Espanol.
Follow/subscribe to this blog and others. You’ll find who/what to follow on Twitter, Facebook and all the other social sites.
Best of luck on your adventure and, as always, thanks for reading and subscribing.
The question is: why should screen and graphic printers participate in ?
Simple put…because Pinterest is a gold mine of ideas, a prime place to display your creative genius, another avenue in which to engage and exchange with others in the screen and graphics printing worlds, to maybe even sell some of your t-shirts, hats, hoodies, pillows, invitations and more to new clients you’ve gained as a result of your involvement (pillow screen printed by Emily Chushman, Living Room Board via Pinterest).
To join, however, you must first be invited. Once you’ve been invited per email, its NBD to begin.Just follow the prompts and read everything to ensure frustration-free Board creations. Site creation begins with a series of Boards that showcase your company’s screen printing work and/or, for example, community events you’re involved in, travel, art, adventures, fashion, fair trade clothing, architecture. From your boards, you can view all types of sites and “repin” other photos from Pinterest that pique your interest to your boards. Slowly, your repertoire will be constructed and your step into this new world of liking/repinning will evolve into fresh e-social circles. It’s motivating, too.
Uno Estudio is a great example of how this company is using Pinterest. The company has a board that displays grafica (that gives credit to the artists – # 1 in etiquette). It also has one titled Screen Print complete with a video, a small screen printing project and more. RhinoTech recently had its RhinoBond Crystal, an adhesive catering to craftsters, jewelery-makers and hobbyists, repinned from its Jewelery Board to another jewelery designers board. And the 300 people following her will now have the opportunity to read about this product and …. on it goes from there.
This excerpt from a New York Times article, Drilling Down: What Small Businesses Should Know about Pinterest, helps answer the initial question:
Q: How do you determine if Pinterest may be right for your business?
A: Can you answer yes to these questions: One, do you have, or can you create, interesting and sharable content on your Web site? Two, do you have products to sell that can be presented visually? Three, are you willing to devote the time that it takes to market on Pinterest? Businesses are lured into social media marketing because it’s free. But the primary investment in social media marketing is time, not money. If you are not willing to devote the time to Pinterest, or any other social media, it’s not right for your business. It must be a scheduled business activity, just like opening the doors or doing payroll.
Be bold and may you reap intense exposure.
Thanks for reading and liking this!
Map invitations courtesy of Carisa Lee via Pinterest.
Thanks to BrandLove for the incredible 9 tips toward Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn. I worked the tips on my personal page to highlight my business and business page on LinkedIn. Here are the results:
Tip # 1 regarding Completeness of Profile: I agree that you should complete each section on the profile, but because I really want to highlight my business and not my personal profile, some sections (sadly) are not as complete as I’d like them to be. Following Tip # 4 (rearranging profile), however, I moved the incomplete sections to the bottom of the page to emphasize a focus on my company and key words. Eventually, all sections will be finished.
Tip # 2: Regarding a Vanity URL. I created one. It was easy by just following the steps, as described. And I agree, it will be so much easier and less time consuming to find me and my business on LinkedIn.
Tip # 3: Regarding the creation of “sexier, more appealing links, again, I followed the directions and named my sites instead of just using the plain old Blog moniker. I used all three website links; though I’m not sure they’re sexier, at least they now have a more explicit description. These changes should definitely “help optimize my profile and drive Google PageRank to our other web properties.”
Tip # 4: Rearranging my Profile was easy. Again, I just followed the steps and moved the areas that I felt weren’t as complete to the bottom of the profile. Now my profile is highlighted with all complete sections at the beginning. And my business information, including the blogs I’ve posted, will also show up more clearly.
Tip # 5: Regarding Search Engine Optimization of Your Profile, I took this to heart and went to town. Each section now focuses on key words used in my business and industry. I want our business to be easily extracted from all other companies in my industry and by increasing the number of key words we have the potential to be found by increased numbers of people. I’m excited about the new format.
Tip # 6: I changed my headline to emphasize key words closest to my business and industry. In this way, LinkedIn is more likely to pick up my profile/business for those searching for screen or graphics printing or similar words. Optimize, optimize, optimize!
Tip # 7: Regarding Joining other Groups, I followed this tip prior to reading the tip by initially joining groups as soon as I developed a LinkedIn profile. I continue to learn how to navigate the four groups I’ve connected and have to say that I have connected with some exceedingly helpful group members. I intentionally kept the original number small until I learned the basics of belonging to groups. The only downside (that is also an upside, I suppose) is that I was overloaded initially with requests to follow/like members on FB and Twitter. It’s calmed down a bit, but seeing all those requests initially upped my anxiety level too much. Now it’s under control.
Tip # 8: I love this tip about adding Applications! Again, I followed the directions and immediately became linked. Some great links are listed and I encourage you to try this step. I’m going to add more.
Tip # 9: I’m taking the liberty of just sharing the tip in its entirely because it’s great the way it was written. Here’s how to Build Your Network. Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network. Here are some things to keep in mind: when asking to connect with someone, use “we’ve done business together” rather than “friend.” Be sure to personalize any requests to connect with how you know the person or where you met or who you have in common. If you do decide to try to connect with someone who may not know you well, be absolutely sure that you defend your network invite in the personal note section, such as saying you just purchased their book or saw them speak at a major conference. If you invite people to your network and they mark your invitation as someone they do not know, you will be banned (temporarily) from inviting new people to your network unless you know their email address.
Thanks for following. I hope this industry-related news will help you be even more successful.
Been working so hard … Been punching my card… Eight hours, for what… Oh, tell me what I got… I’ve done this feeling… That times just holding me down…I’ll hit the ceiling… Or else I’ll tear up this town… Now I gotta cut loose…..
When I saw the flyer stuck in my car door that screamed “Work Less, Make More Money” all I could think of was – SERIOUSLY?
I often wish it were true. But…I know that’s not the case and besides, I like my job, I like the screen and graphics printing industry, I like going to trade shows, especially when I get to talk to the “artists” in attendance. A standout was the tall, extremely tattooed guy from Hawaii who had the most strikingly beautiful, vibrant peony tattooed on his hand and a tribal tattoo on his throat (he said that those two hurt the most, but were worth it). I get such a kick out of talking to the youngest, just- starting- out- printers and students who are unable to hide their enthusiasm and are adorned with their creations that sometimes just stop me in my tracks due to the language or graphic nature of the t-shirt design. And I love the 60’s husband/wife teams (with the really long gray braids down their backs) who have been printing for all these years and remain interested and excited by industry advancements.
But work less and make more money? Seriously? Too much juggling of marketing, social marketing, sales calls, designing equipment, developing new products, keeping employees happy, traveling to trade shows, creating ads, taking orders, building equipment, orchestrating partnerships, AR/AP, answering customer questions juxtaposed with meeting production schedules and keeping customers happy. The youngest printers are entering an incredibly changing industry and will have to work long hours, do all of the aforementioned in combination with upping their business-savvy to have an enduring platform for their creations. As a result, they will have possible opportunities for fame, an appearance on Shark Tank and prosperity while fulfilling the needs of businesses who will always need screen and graphics printing projects.
As it has been through the ages, it will be through sheer determination, ingenuity and working long hours that will enable printers to “make more money” and, hello retirement, to eventually work less. And those enticing flyers? There is a prominent place in reserve for them. It’s called the round file. Have a great week!
After all the arduous work – or just great luck - of coming up with a brand and slogan that will burn into brains of potential consumers, now comes the “follow-up” part. And this is the part that will help to ensure longevity of your company and what it sells, sustainability of your livelihood and customers; excitement and encouragement to meet the beginning of each new business day. It’s called INTERACTION! And this needs to be accomplished each and every on-line day via all your current and new social interaction tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, Foursquare and all the other sites you use to attract and keep customers interested, informed and excited about your company.
And now we diverge. Please click on the “new rules of branding” as compiled by Inc.com (even though this was written a year ago, it still holds true). And be sure to watch for these words: Consistent, Excel, Dive in, Social Media, Respond and Showcase, because these are the words, thoughts and deeds that will keep us all up and running on a spectacular course in the business world, no matter the size of the company.
And I have just one more tip to add: as part of the follow-up, become hugely thank you-based. That means, send out thanks for comments/posts, include a TY note w/a packing list when an order is shipped and again when you know it’s been received. And, if an option, dare I say, actually telephone in a personal thanks for the customer’s business.
See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet!