Get in the mind of the buyer

Aesthetics and function combine when it comes to furnishing windows. Here are some things to consider that will be, or should be, top of the buyer’s mind…

A touch of Style

The aesthetic impact of window coverings is often the main motivating factor for buyers, as the right choice can completely transform a living space.

Social Media has had a huge impact on buyers -those beautiful inspirational pictures are generally centred on the style and look people want to achieve in their home, whether it’s contemporary, minimalist, country, industrial, beach hamptons, french provincial etc.

Pay attention to the pictures – there’s a reason they are showing you Instagram images. A buyer will want to “copy” the look and may go elsewhere if you try to steer them away from what they are showing you. Make sure you show them that you really ‘get it’ – the specific decorative style and colours they are after.

Control the light

Light control is an important benefit delivered by window coverings, and a facet that shouldn’t be overlooked, as it has a big impact on a home’s liveability. The buyer should know what they want, but you can ask questions relating to the room, what it’s used for, do they need to watch TV and movies in the room? What is the aspect and the warmth/cold that it endures? Make sure they’ve really considered light control and flexibility before purchase.

Ensure Privacy

With the majority of Australians living in urban areas and with neighbours close by, privacy is an important consideration.

If you can see through window coverings during the day, from inside at night, it will be the reverse, and people outside will be able to see straight in. So choosing the right coverings ensures a home remains private for your buyer.

Create Mood

The mood of a house is absolutely a function of the window dressings. Mood is influenced by many factors, including light, privacy and style – which can all be summed up in the right window treatment. Again, taking note of the pictures your buyer shows you is really important, and don’t forget to ask questions – what kind of mood do you see in this room? Peaceful, quiet… or fun, bright and active?

Deliver Thermal Comfort

Windows are essentially ‘holes’ in a home, so keeping the heat out in summer and the warmth in during winter is an important job for a home’s window coverings. They also help to reduce electricity bills.

Well-fitted, custom-made window coverings will deliver the highest level of thermal comfort, so make sure you bring this up when speaking to customers.

Add to Energy Efficiency

With Australians typically spending 41% of their household energy expenditure managing their home’s temperature, the right window coverings can save money, all year round.

Muffle Sound

Many people don’t consider the acoustic benefits of great window coverings.

A room with lots of hard surfaces that echoes, or hearing road noise from inside can be pretty unpleasant. But choosing the right window coverings can help dampen these sounds, so find out how noisy your buyer’s neighbourhood / family is.

Safety for Kids & Pets

Safety might not spring to mind when thinking about window coverings, but tangled cords pose a serious safety risk to children and pets. Most Australian households have either a child or a pet, or both, so safety is an important consideration. All modern window treatments comply with the latest child safety regulations, but make sure you mention this to buyers, find out if they have young children, and take appropriate action to minimise risks with their purchase.

We hope these tips have been helpful!

The Fashionline Team.

Customer Satisfaction and Your Ongoing Commitment to Service

Customer satisfaction is an elusive concept for every business, be it a huge corporation or a small family run business. Companies have spent millions compiling statistics, research, interviews, focus groups, and more, trying to determine the special formula for a loyal customer and repeat customer.

Every client is different and therefore will be pleased or disappointed by a wide range of personal exchanges and outcomes.

It is key to remember: Needs are different for every customer, and so you need to ensure that your staff are always looking to better their customer service skills.

First, it’s important to make sure that your customer service team has the right skills for managing your customer’s needs. No amount of CRM software can compensate for shortcomings in this area. But what skills should you be looking for in a customer service rep?

  • Empathy, patience and consistency. Some customers will be irate. Others will be full of questions. And others will just be chatty. You must know how to handle all of them and provide the same level of service every time.
  • Adaptability. Every customer is different, and some may even seem to change week-to-week. You should be able to handle surprises, sense the customer’s mood and adapt accordingly. This also includes a willingness to learn – providing good customer service is a continuous learning process.
  • Clear communication. Ensure you convey to customers exactly what you mean. You don’t want your customer to think he’s getting 50% off when he’s actually getting 50% more product. Use authentically positive language, stay cheerful no matter what and never end a conversation without confirming the customer is satisfied.
  • Work ethic. Customers appreciate a rep who will see their problem through to its resolution. At the same time, you must have good time management skills and not spend too much time handling one customer while others are waiting. Stay focused on your goals to achieve the right balance.
  • Knowledge. Ultimately your customers rely on you for their knowledge of your product. Stay informed enough to respond to most inquiries and know where to turn if the questions become too detailed or technical for you to answer. But don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” either. Customers will appreciate the honesty and your efforts to find the right answer.
  • Thick skin. The customer’s always right… right? The ability to swallow one’s pride and accept blame or negative feedback is crucial. Whether your team works directly with customers or looking for feedback on social media, they’ve got to keep the customer’s happiness in mind.

Not sure if your reps have the right customer service skills? Survey or interview your customers to understand whether your service team is showing each of these traits. Running a customer feedback survey through your CRM program, at the point of sale, or when you send customers an invoice is a great way to see where your team’s skills do and don’t measure up.

Look at every touchpoint

A bad customer experience at any point in the customer lifecycle can ruin your relationship. In addition to making sure the right skills are demonstrated, you need to be sure they’re being demonstrated consistently. Make sure you have a full view of the customer experience, or you risk lapses in service that can really hurt business.

Improve your customer interactions

If your staff has the necessary skill set, that’s a good start. But they still need to relate to your customers. Here are some tips for making sure customer service is both thorough and well received:

  • Ask reps to try to identify a common ground – like shared interests – with the people they help. Having this point of understanding makes conflict easier to overcome by humanizing the relationship, and it endears customers to your rep (and ultimately your company).
  • Practice active listening so your customers feel heard. Clarify and rephrase what the customers say to ensure you understand them. Empathize with and reflect their feelings by saying things like, “That must have upset you” or “I can see why you feel slighted.”
  • Admit your mistakes, even if you discover them before your customers do. This builds trust and restores confidence. It also allows you to control the situation, re-focus the customer’s attention and resolve the issue.
  • Follow-up after a problem is solved. Make sure the issue stays fixed and that your customers were satisfied with the service. Sending an email, or even a feedback survey is an excellent way to let the customer know you’re still on their side.
  • Get personal. Your customers want to feel like they have access to real people, not bots and FAQs. Offer more than just automated email responses, and do not let your telephone prompts or website send them down a rabbit hole. Take full advantage of social media (such as Facebook and Instagram) and write responses when your customers post on your page. Post photos and bios on your website. This shows your customers that you are real people working on their behalf.
  • Be available. Part of the personal touch is making sure your customers can reach you. For example, if your business is primarily online, meet in person occasionally with local customers and offer video calls (such as Skype) for those farther away. Work early and late when needed, especially if your customers are in different time zones. Even providing customers with your physical address helps build their trust and reminds them that your company exists off the internet as well.
  • Cater to your customers. Consider assigning reps to specific customers so they can build a relationship. Offer VIP treatment for your best customers to let them know they are appreciated. What special services might your customers like?
  • Create communities. Your customers will feel even more valued if you treat them as important members of a community. You can bring various customers together in numerous ways, including webinars, interactive websites, social media, trade shows and conventions. And don’t forget that while your customers come to these forums to learn from you, you can learn as much – if not more – from them.

Make sure your reps are engaged

You can have the best customer service skills and the best training in the world, but if your reps are checked out, it won’t matter at all. Improving employee engagement is another way to make sure customers have a great experience. Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to come forward with their problems, so consider an anonymous suggestion box or an employee engagement survey to see what makes your employees tick.

You’ll want to know how your customer service team feels about working conditions and compensation, opportunities for career advancement, training and their peers.

 

 

 

 

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