Saturday, August 29, 2009

Psst!...Did you hear what that customer said?

Hello Folks, it's Tim. Patti and I had a good day today at Brickhouse Craft Shop. We were doing some Porch Sitting at the end of the day and as we were talking it reminded us of WHY we had a good day.

Over the years, Patti and I have spent our fair share of time on the other side of the counter, so we know a little bit about being a customer. There's not much to it - right? You go shopping and you either know what you want before you get there - or if you're lucky you'll figure it out when you see it. Sometimes you're looking for something special - sometimes you're just looking for something.

Today we had a new customer visit us and she didn't know what she'd find when she first walked in. Patti greeted her and explained that all our Crafts were handmade by crafters from all over the USA including some local crafters. When Patti mentioned that the Pottery was made by a Potter from our area (Bob Miller at Indian Trail Pottery), that was all the customer needed to hear and she spent the rest of her time in front of the Pottery display. She seemed to know a bit about pottery and really liked what she saw - although she did have some specific suggestions about some of the pieces. Can Bob make this piece with a different color or glaze? Can he make this same piece, but a little bigger? And she was wondering if he could make a piece which she couldn't find. These were all good questions and Patti said - 'well, lets call him right now and ask him.' Patti called and discussed the customers questions with Bob and got some answers right away. Based on the answers, the customer bought some pieces and may be back for some additional pieces. Obviously, we were glad she chose to buy some of the pottery and that we were able to take her questions directly to Bob, who took the time to answer the questions. We also gave her Bob's business card and found out that she called him again later to discuss some of the other items and questions she had.

Another customer (who has visited us many times) came in today and Patti and I decided to show her a new item we were working on to get her thoughts. She liked it and ordered one - so we will be making it available in the Shop.

For a customer to be heard is one thing - for a customer to be LISTENED to is quite another. Understand, Patti and I strive to stick to the 'Prim' theme and there are some suggestions we may not act on but we also know that our customers have some great ideas. I never planned on making church birdhouses but because of a customer suggestion, I can't seem to make enough of them.

Sometimes, it's a matter of the item the customer wants and where they want to put it in their house. We had another frequent customer visit us and she saw an item she really liked but knew it would be too big for the place she wanted to put it. She came back with measurements and said if the crafter can make it smaller she would buy one. Again, Patti called the crafter and the crafter said it would be no problem to make a smaller version of the item.

So call us crazy but we get more excited knowing we have some great crafters who also understand what it's like to be a customer. And they know how to listen to the customer. Of course we want to sell crafts but that's not why we're doing what we do. We know we have many folks who follow this Blog and some are our crafters and some are our customers. I've said before that what the customer buys at Brickhouse is the craft item - but what we are selling is the experience. At Brickhouse, we believe part of the experience is listening to the customers and trying to accommodate their needs and listening to their ideas (you should see all the Post-It notes Patti has!). On any given day, we can have new customers visit us, some quite by accident or coincidence. But to get the same customers to keep coming back - and even bring friends along - doesn't happen by accident. It's not necessarily hard work - you just need to know how to listen sometimes.

to our customers: Thanks for stopping by - we hope you enjoyed your visit to Brickhouse.

and to the crafters: Psst!...Did you hear what that customer said?


Vickie said...

What a great way to think about things! Wish more shop owners thought about their customers like ya'll do. Now, about those church birdhouses...

OldeAnniePrimitives said... much I wish your Brickhouse was near me. Sounds like a wonderful shop and a couple of wonderful owners! ~~Annie

Chatty Kathy~Palmetto Prims said...

I love it!! If more businesses handled their customers like you do, they may still be in business. Congratulations for "knowing" your customers whether new or old!!!!

Holly Hills Primitives said...

Hi Tim, you sure hit the nail on the head! Shopping should be a FUN experience for the customers and it sounds like you "get it". None of us would be in business without our dear customers! Good for your crafters too. Sure wish I could come sit on that porch! Have a great $$$$ day, Dawn

Anonymous said...

Patti and Tim I am so proud of you two and what you have accomplished. I know how long you both have wanted a shop and how hard you worked to have one. I am always telling everyone about your shop and how you both work as a team. As soon as you pull up to the shop you feel welcomed. When you walk onto the porch it feels like a place you want to sit awhile. And it is so welcoming. And when you walk through the door it is so cozy and there is a friendly feeling you get. Keep up the good work!!!!