What the Girls taught us about Communication
One thing is for sure about our favorite gals; they were always 100% up front and honest with one another when it came to giving advice about work, fashion, dating or heck, even starting a business. There are times when they weren't sure if they should reveal certain information (i.e. After advice from Rose, Blanche reveals that Dorothy's scuzzy boyfriend, Eliot, hit on her), or even if the reaction doesn't go as well as planned (i.e. Dorothy did not believe her) they still stick to honesty and openness. That's something we can all strive to incorporate into our relationships, regardless of the nature.
As I continue building my business, one thing that was extremely important to me was building relationships with my customers by way of communication. One thing that has always driven me absolutely bananas is when people don't tell you what's going on, especially when it directly affects you.
When I worked in an office setting, it would drive me mad to be waiting on someone to deliver their part so I could do mine and when I followed up with them, the response would be something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, it won't be done by the time we agreed. I'll have to get it to you a few days later." Or there were times when I knew that I would not be able to hold up my end on time so I would contact the appropriate person ahead of time to let them know. Sometimes, the response I got was, "Oh yeah that's fine. XYZ won't be ready to incorporate it into anyway so we're all good." Sure, all ends well in this situation but I'm prioritizing something so it will be done (possibly put aside other projects that need attention ASAP) and knowing I had extra time would have been extremely helpful. Had I not followed up, would that have ever been communicated to me?
Finally, one of my pet peeves when dealing with vendors of any sort is a lack of communication. Have you ever ordered something online and feel like it just goes into some abyss and you're not sure you'll ever see the product (or your money!) again? That's horsesh*t.
I decided from the beginning that I wanted to let customers know that I know they ordered something in my shop, I'm thankful for their business and that I'm working on it. I also let them know when it ships so they have a better idea of when to expect it. There have been a few times when the t-shirt supplier I use is out of a product or not getting a restock until weeks after said customer should have already received their item. This stresses me out to have to contact the customer and tell them even if it's something beyond my control. However, what I'm finding is that customers usually really appreciate just knowing what's going on. They're either happy to wait for it or they pick an alternative and are totally fine with it. In short, they're more receptive to open communication than they are annoyed that what they ordered comes with a caviat.
Why am I surprised by this??!
This is exactly how I am. I just want people to tell me what's going on, especially as soon as they know that things have changed. That consideration goes a very long way and I'm learning more and more that this communication is a good part of what builds trust with the people who believe in and appreciate what I do. It's really a relief to see that the choices I'm making are really helping my business and my gut instincts, despite what I thought for so long, probably make me a better business owner.
In friendship and cheesecake,