Managing invoices, billing, inventory and employees takes its toll, but any business that sells a product MUST hear feedback from customers and sometimes that’s tough to take. Feedback is the only way to improve your business but if it’s false or mean, well, that’s where the human trampoline comes into play.
Any wise sales person will tell you taking criticism is part of the job. So is waiting three hours for a buyer just to have them cancel or bringing in special treats for your buying team just to find they’ve closed their account. Sales people can be treated horribly so growing a thick skin is a must.
When it’s your own company, well, you need more than a thick skin. You need tolerance, good judgment, patience, the ability to refrain from immediate responses… tough one… and most importantly a good set of ears. You need to listen (Sales 101), really listen and decide if the input you’re getting is worthy of more thought or just mean words from someone who’s had a bad day.
In most cases, it’s the latter. Sales people… again, wise sales people… know most of the time, a customer isn’t really upset with you or your product. They’re bringing their baggage to you and unpacking it all so they can lighten their mental load. That’s why knowing how to distinguish the worthy input from the wasteful is so important. This is a golden rule for business owners too.
I have grown to accept and sometimes love the input we get from customers but rarely, VERY rarely, we get a critique that doesn’t ring true. People make mistakes and with all the options out there, I can understand how some can forget where they bought their Organic Cotton Bra from, but when a customer gets it wrong, I mean really wrong, I just can’t let that go.
In today’s world of social media, a company’s reputation good or bad can spread quickly. That’s why I find myself getting, well, a bit passionate when it comes to defending our business practices.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m on a mission to reduce the plastic waste being generated on our planet. Even if a bottle is considered recyclable, I won’t buy it. As for plastic bags, well those are my main source of irritation. We NEVER ship anything in plastic… NEVER! We only use 100% recycled, unbleached tissue to wrap our eco-friendly garments and we bag them in one of our cloth boutique bags made from excess fabric. We are proud to give each customer a reusable cloth bag they can take to the grocery store or use to tote their shoes in and we only use EcoEnclose envelopes that are recycled, recyclable and compostable.
We’re so focused on ensuring the shipping materials used to send our clothes don’t end up in landfills or outliving us that we were endorsed by blogger Katherine Kellogg who publishes the lifestyle blog Going Zero Waste. Katherine is a firm believer in ensuring the companies she endorses are the real deal, so when she saw what we do to ensure we ship as cleanly as possible, well she got behind us and shared us with her followers.
That’s why I took it personally when we recently had a customer claim she was unhappy that we used plastic to ship her order. Every day I do my best to ensure our business practices are clean and when it comes to plastic bagging, well, she definitely was confusing us with someone else.
So what would have been the right way to respond? Probably not the way I did… I have to admit, I came on kind of strong. Maybe sounding a little angry and definitely sounding defensive, but when you’re an advocate of the planet and you’re mistaken as a polluter, well, that’s tough to take. But something positive always comes from negative input.
The thing is, this feedback gave me an opportunity to connect with a customer. Even when her comments didn’t feel right I still had the chance to communicate with her and that input is valuable on both ends. She was reassured that she was shopping with a sustainable brand and I was reassured that accurate information was being shared.
So “When I’m falling, flying or tumbling in turmoil” I will remember why I’m on this journey to make beautiful ethically made apparel. Now I’m looking at negative feedback as a way to connect with and even educate a customer.
There are few clothing companies who truly operate the way we do at MAJAMAS EARTH. Yeah, you may find the fast fashion guys claiming they’re recycling their clothes or donating to some ethical cause… basically greenwashing their image… but in reality, there are very few garment companies that share our sustainability mission: To have the smallest impact possible on the planet.
You can feel good about purchasing from us and most importantly, you can feel good about sharing your input with us. Just remember we’re human and like you, we have feelings. We’re proud of what we do, so know this: If we get it wrong and you tell us, we’ll fess up to our mistakes and make it right. If you get it wrong, mistaking us for someone else or questioning our practices, well, we’ll let you know.
Human Trampoline? Yup, that’s ME and just like that trampoline, we will bounce.
Send us your input at firstname.lastname@example.org, share your thoughts on social media (Instagram & Facebook) or write a product review on our site & get a Gift Card. (That’s right! Receive a $5 Gift Card for each review… up to $25 store credit.)
We hope to hear from you!
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
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