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Do You Provide Extraordinary Service?

Last week I mentioned that during my vacation the hotel staff asked how they could make our stay more pleasurable. It got me thinking about extraordinary service and how rare it is today. Have you ever experienced extraordinary service? More importantly, do you provide extraordinary service?

I can think of several examples when someone in my family received extraordinary service. One that always comes to mind is my husband’s experience with Nordstrom. Service is legendary at Nordstrom, and I know a quilt shop owner who took a part-time job at Nordstrom to learn its service training. Back to my story: My husband purchased a suit at Nordstrom and on the first wearing, he caught the sleeve on the rear windshield wiper of the SUV, and it tore. We called the store to see if they could get another jacket or fabric so their tailor could replace the sleeve, anything to avoid a loss. It was irreparable. What happened next falls into the extraordinary category. My husband’s salesman called and offered my husband any suit in the store as a replacement, gratis. Wow, that’s extraordinary.

For me, when I stop at the local quilt shop, ordinary would be greeting me and asking if I need help. Moving toward extraordinary might be steering me toward the new items. It would be telling me what fabric has just arrived or the experiences of customers with some of the newer notions. It would be asking me to share my latest project. It might be showing me photos of samples other customers made to inspire me or introducing me to other customers or inviting me to the local sit and stitch at your shop. Really extraordinary might be giving me a fat quarter folded into a flower because it was my birthday, or I just moved into town, or I was having a really bad day.

I think what takes ordinary service to extraordinary is that it establishes a personal relationship between the parties. It’s an experience for the receiver, and, as the receiver, it’s one you want to share with anyone who will listen. And, it’s one that reaps rewards for the giver way beyond the service provided. I also believe this extraordinary attitude also starts at the top, and the business owner needs to look for ways to encourage her employees to provide extraordinary service. I’m not saying do this for everyone or all the time. It’s hard enough to be excellent every day, all day. Try looking for for simple ways that you can express support, affection and a desire to serve your customers in an extraordinary way. Here are some suggestions:

1. Have some fat quarters set aside for gifting on a random basis.

2. Have a quarterly luncheon and invite some of your best customers. And, ask them to bring a friend.

3. Today we rarely send or receive much handwritten mail. Once a week, send a handwritten note to one of your customers thanking them for their business.

4. Call your customer on her birthday.

5. Ask one of your customers to stop back in the office, share a cup of coffee and treat, and get to know him or her.

Once you start to look for ways to provide extraordinary service, you’ll find the ideas are endless. These “extraordinary  extras” will set you apart, strengthen your relationships and remind your customers that they aren’t simply the source of your business income.

Please share some examples of extraordinary service you provide.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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4 Responses to “Do You Provide Extraordinary Service?”


  1. Jessica Schick said:

    We think that extraordinary service is the backbone of our company. We often get emails complimenting our customer service. We provide digital & paper patterns. We custom print patterns in any size that a customer wants because we feel that there is a wide variety of quilting needs & desires & who’s to say that just because one person likes the way that a pattern looks at one size that it’s the size that everyone wants or needs.
    On the digital side of things we try to catch any orders that might have an issue or a mistake made by a customer before they even know that there was a problem. We also provide customers that find a mistake made on our end with a free pattern from my design collection to compensate them for their time & thank them for their patience while the issue is fixed.
    Another part of our extraordinary service is to provide sales on most new patterns when they are released, which allows customers to purchase the latest, greatest patterns at a substantial discount if they watch out new items category on a regular basis. We have staff “on call” for emails about 16 hours each day for customer service, as we know that what we would consider normal work hours are not the only hours that our customers might need assistance. We answer questions on all makes & models of longarm machines & computerized systems to the best of our ability, in addition to answering general design questions, looked through our thousands of patterns to help customers find that pattern that is just right for the quilt that they are doing, and when that design is not currently available we work with many of our customers to design a pattern that will work for them, then post it to our website.
    On the digitizing side of things we strive to be the best digitzing service in the quilting industry. We are super compulsive about quality of our digitizing & also strive to be super fair with the designers that we work with, which is about 40 to date. We have the best royalty split in the industry and try to provide an environment where we are all flexible enough to bend to some of their schedules in order to get designs done for them if they have an event or project where a particular grouping is needed.
    These are just the top of the list of ways that we try to provide outstanding service to our customers, as well as the designers that work with us.

    I know that there are times when we have to be tough also, but we strive to treat everyone with the respect that we’d like to be treated and assure customers that we care about their needs.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Schick
    Digi-Tech Designs
    http://www.digitechpatterns.com – downloadable & printed quilting patterns
    http://www.digitechembroidery.com – downloadable designs for machine embroidery
    http://www.digitechvectorart.com – downloadable stock artwork


  2. becky said:

    In the past I have ordered post cards with a Thank You printed on it + a discount on their next purchase. This worked out great and was easy to do and a bit cheaper than a card to send.

    http://patchworkposse.com


  3. Diane McGregor said:

    This is great article. I gets lots of emails asking for donations for quilt retreats and shop hops. I recently got an email asking for a donation and I donated 12 patterns. I then received a hand written personal note from the person thanking me for the patterns. She said that she had also looked at my website and was excited to buy some of my patterns. Whether she buy any patterns or not she certainly made me feel great. I usually get thank you letters from people that ask and receive donations but most of them are a standard form letters that are sent to everyone. It was so great to get a personal letter.


  4. Diane McGregor said:

    I had a customer who ordered about 50 patterns. I sent the order and email her that it had been shipped. Two months later she called me to say that she had not received the order. I check the postal tracking and it said that the parcel had been delivered. When I told her that she said that parcel were delivered to an office in a mall instead of directly to the store. So the parcel went missing between the office and the store. I couldn’t claim insurance since the the parcel was delivered as far as the postal service was concerned. I reshipped the patterns for free and she paid the shipping. She still continues to place orders.

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