Glencroft was founded in 1987 by Richard and Justina Sexton. Over thirty years later and we’re still in business, so we must be doing something right! That’s why we’ve decided to compile some of our top tips for new businesses. Don’t worry if you’re not in the sheepskin and wool industry- these tips are pretty general so should be useful for every sort of small, independent business.
1. Customer Service:
One of our core values is to treat all of our customers, trade or retail, like a friend. This means when someone orders from us we will handpick their items, give them a thorough checking over, before packing them up with care. If this person then has an issue with their order, we’ll try to go above and beyond to resolve it to their satisfaction. We always try to empathise with customers under any circumstance. If we keep our cool and be as helpful as possible, hopefully we can prove that we’re a reliable and trustworthy business and improve their relationship with our brand. In retail, it’s a bit harder to demonstrate these customer service skills as the only contact customers have with us is the click of a button on our website, whereas we’re often sat chatting on the phone to our trade customers for hours. We’ve tried to improve our retail customer’s experience with us by introducing the option to sign up to our newsletter, as well as writing blogs like the one you’re reading right now. This means they get to hear our voice (so to speak) and see that we’re real human beings just like them!
2. Add the Personal Touch:
We often try to visit our trade customers and this has seen us go to all corners of Britain (and hopefully even further afield in the future) for a cup of tea and a catch up. It always helps when customers can put a face to the voice they hear on the phone, or the words they see on an email, and this means that they often even become our friends. Lots of our trade customers have been buying from us since we first began our business in 1987 and some of them have even known Richard since the 1970s. These relationships have then crossed generations, as children have taken over their parent’s businesses. Of course, it’s not possible for some businesses to go and visit their customers all over the country, but there are other ways you can include that personal touch. We will often handwrite a thank you note to our new customers, which only takes us a minute, but shows the customer that we really put the time and effort into their order.
3. Don’t Forget Your Suppliers:
It’s easy sometimes to focus too much on your customers and not enough on the people you actually rely on to make your products. Here at Glencroft, we work closely with the factories which make our products and have built relationships with them over many years. This means that we’re well-informed on the manufacturing process and can pass on this knowledge about production to the customer. We also like to understand the demands our suppliers are under, so that if they are really busy at a particular point in the year we can avoid ordering from them then. This means we don’t have to face delays in getting our products and that they are still producing goods in their quieter periods. For example, we co-ordinate with a few local mills who allow us to come in at the end of the year and browse all the spare yarn they have left over and then order a product made from this. This is how we get our 100% Wool Weave Up Travel Rugs. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, as we get a premium product made at a lower price and our producers get to keep their machines running and avoid waste.
4. Do It Yourself:
Of course, in business there’s going to be some things you need to get a professional in for, but a lot of the time it’s surprisingly simple to just do it yourself. Some things, particularly e-commerce, might seem daunting but are actually quite simple once you know how to do it. There’s plenty of free assistance out there, including Google Digital Garage and a plethora of YouTube tutorials on a whole range of topics. After all, catch a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish…
5. Make it Easy:
One of the main things we’ve found in our 30 years of business is that even the smallest barrier can really put a customer off. This is why we try to make it as easy as possible to do business with us. This includes turning around orders within 48 hours if the stock is available (and if it’s not, letting the customer know ASAP), offering free carriage to retail customers on orders over £30 and to trade customers on orders over £300, making it clear where our products are manufactured and stating the material a product is made from. In theory, the whole process should run like a well oiled machine, and even if it doesn’t, if the customer has had 99 good experiences with us, they may be more understanding of that 1 time when we do have delays or mishaps.