September '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 26 of 70

2 2 P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 2 2 P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9 Your Front Line W hen your business has a problem, can and do your front-line employees handle the situation the same way you would as the owner? When your salesperson or machine operator has a concern about an order, do they resolve their concerns the way you would? These are interesting questions, and ones well worth asking. If the answer is 'no' to any of these questions, it may be time to re-think the way your team accesses information, and the amount of decision-making power that they have. There is a significant difference between 'doing my job' and 'doing the right thing'. It is up to you, as the leader of your orga- nization, to define just exactly what you expect from your machine operators and from your customer service team members. AUTHORITY FIGURE Let's look at the machine operator question first. What do your decorators do if they think the wrong design has been selected, the wrong colors are about to be used, the pockets on the shirts are crooked, or there is a stain on the item? Some of these might seem like com- mon sense, but the question really is this: Are your embroiderers able to stop the production process to get confirmation or make the correction without risk? Is making the delivery deadline more important than making sure the order is correct? You have that luxury as the owner. Does your production team also have the authority to slow up and confirm something rather than make a mistake, with your support? How about the folks on the phone or at the sales counter, who deal with your cus- tomers? The financial well-being of your company is decided in these areas much more often than you may realize. Are they empowered to make a decision to 'make it right'? Do they have only mini- mal authority to do the right thing on be- half of that customer? Or are they in more of a 'no man's land,' without any power, yet still responsible for making that customer feel better about doing business with your company? Often, the fate of the customer rests in the hands of your front-line person. The way a concern is handled will likely determine whether or not that customer returns to do business with your company in the future. The people that make up your front line, whether they are your embroiderers, customer service reps, or part-time staffers working on the retail floor need to know how to handle situations that involve a po- tential problem. Clearly define the amount of authority that they have regarding how much time and money they can invest in correcting the situation at hand. As an ex- ample, you can set a dollar limit for the staff interacting with customers, so that they know just how far they can go with the cus- tomer to correct the concern. Replacing one item is radically different than saying the entire order will be replaced. Come up with some guidelines that give your team the op- portunity to act immediately to solve the situation, within reason. Set a timeframe of how fast and how soon the corrective action EMBROIDERY Stitch Solutions J e n n i f e r C o x

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