September '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 S E P T E M B E R P R I N T W E A R 2 3 will take when goods must be replaced. Determine if you would rather ship to the customer, deliver to them, or have them come back to your business. It is reasonable to expect your input and final say on any big concerns, such as replacing an order or returning an en- tire shipment of incorrect product. By establishing some guidelines with your decorators and your customer service reps about when you need to be in- volved in a correction or decision, you are protecting both yourself and your team members. As the owner, you need to make the decisions that involve major delays or major unexpected expenses on an order. In those situ- ations, you will also have the opportunity to deal with the customer personally and that may make the difference in keeping them as a customer. Bringing a complaint to a business can be intimidating for the customer. When that customer's complaint or concern is addressed im- mediately and appropriately by someone that can make a decision or get to a decision-maker in a timely manner, it says a lot about your company. When you experience such a lousy evening at a restaurant that you bring it to the attention of your server, you expect some sort of result to correct the situation. A replacement of the meal, a reduction of the bill, a complimentary dessert, something. If you leave the restaurant with no adjustment to the bill, no considerations, or no offers towards a future visit, are you very likely to return to that business? Probably not. And you are likely to share your less than stellar experience with others. This same risk applies in your business. An unresolved issue can turn into a wrecking ball that you are unable to control, much less eliminate. By having clear and reasonable guidelines in place, you are protecting your risks and em- powering your team to make the best decisions in a timely and professional manner. Help your business run at its best by setting parameters in place that will allow your team members to do the right thing, or know that they will have access to you to confirm how the situation will be resolved. PW Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a profes- sional organization for apparel decoration business owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP members with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, volume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to

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