“The customer is always right” is a popular edict among business owners. But how many entrepreneurs actually live by that rule 100 percent of the time?
Justin Finkelman, founder of customizable clothing company Fitness Wear  understands the importance of this saying more than most. And living by it has allowed the company to provide a high level of service to each and every customer.
I caught up with Finkelman for our latest Smart Hustle Report. During our conversation, Finkelman shared a bit about his customer service philosophy.
He said, “It’s hard sometimes to see from the customer’s point of view but if there’s an issue where it comes to the question ‘is the customer always right?’ The answer is going to be yes. And that’s because if you’re put in that position it’s most likely because you didn’t think about that problem before it occurred. You know, you have to think about every single thing that can happen during the process of an order and make sure it doesn’t become a problem before it occurs. You know. I guess an example, would be color. Your definition of red could be completely different than my definition of red.”
So instead of worrying about quarrels or money lost on merchandise, Finkelman uses those situations to learn how to better serve customers in the future.
He said, “So when you say ‘I want my logo. I want it in red and I want it on the front of the shirt’ and you open the box and you’re surprised that the color is not what you expected. That’s because we didn’t communicate with a precise system of color codes that will tell you exactly the shade and color that you’re looking for. So there are no surprises. Thinking about those details and making sure we cover it with every single order and making sure that we inform our customers on the process and how everything works. It only sets us up to have a platform to give them a custom shirt experience that doesn’t leave them with any surprises.”
To hear the full interview with Finkelman, check out the SoundCloud player here:
Tips on How to Deliver Excellent Customer Service
If you’re interested in stepping up your customer service game , you can potentially learn a thing or two from Finkelman’s expertise. Take a look at some top insights and tips below.
Personalize Your Communication Efforts
Automation might be all the rage. But when it comes to communicating with customers, Finkelman still thinks that a hands-on approach is best.
Finkelman said, “I mean, you can look at my email threads with customers and they go hundreds of emails long because you know I don’t want someone to open a box and to be surprised. I really, sure there’s the online store where there’s convenience where all you have to do is press a button, but with the custom apparel industry people don’t want to be surprised by opening their box and realize they ordered 100 shirts for an event that’s happening tomorrow and it’s not what they thought it’s going to be. So, yes I work one-on-one with the customers, our sales people work one-on-one with the customers, and we have a very intimate conversation all across from step one to order process to completion to make sure the customer’s always in the know and we’re always understanding exactly what they’re looking for.”
Learn from Your Mistakes
No matter how great your service is, you’ll likely still have times where your customers aren’t satisfied. But Finkelman uses those times as learning opportunities to improve the customer experience even more.
He said, “I see it as a growing point for myself and for my company and I say well, you know, the customer thinks they’re right because they weren’t informed well enough before the order was placed.”
Hire Passionate Employees
As your business grows, you also need to ensure that your team understands the importance of this personalized service  as well. This can happen through training as well as the hiring process itself.
Finkelman added, “We only want to bring people on board who really have a passion for the same thing that I have a passion about and that’s getting customers a t-shirt or a piece of apparel, pants, shorts, hoodie, anything that’s custom and personalized and we have a hand in getting that to them and we all kind of get that joy out of being a part of that process with them. When I hire people that’s what I look for. You don’t necessarily have to be a pro at the craft. We can always teach you how to print.”
Image: Justin Finkelman