Domino’s Pizza is a favorite guilty pleasure of mine. That seasoned crust is just amazing! And despite many complaints over the years about bad quality and service, they’ve been doing quite well lately. And how? A total gut job of their customer experience.
One of their many updates is a cute little pizza tracker that comes up when you order your pizza online like you see above. For some reason my husband and I love this! It’s fun, it’s colorful, and most importantly it’s helpful. The concept is simple. The tracker tells you when your pizza order has been placed, who is preparing it, when it’s put in the oven, when it’s being boxed, and when it’s ready for pick up or out for delivery. It’s an ingenious tool that keeps their customers aware of what’s going on, and Domino’s employees on track and focused on their job at hand rather than stopping to answer the phone and tell customers where their pizza is.
But more than the novelty of it being cute and entertaining, it provides a crucial component of customer frustration, status updates. For pizza this is necessary because people want to make sure their pizza is hot and fresh when they pick it up but they also don’t want to sit and wait. If it’s being delivered, they want to know how much longer they have to wait before their doorbell rings.
For design, it’s even more important. Clients have spent a lot of time, thought, money, and energy on achieving the look they want in their home. Whether they’re purchasing home decor products from you, or have hired you to design their home, they have a lot invested. And not only that, they’re excited. This adds up to a lot of emotions, both good and bad. One way to quell those possible upsets are with continual updates on the product or design status. Now, it doesn’t have to be daily certainly, but weekly, or every other week, depending on how long the time frame for completion is a good idea.
When clients have a lot of money out there, it makes them uncomfortable to not know “where” the money is per se. Thinking that their money is out there in the wild blue yonder just floating around is not a comfortable feeling. If at all possible, let them know how it’s being put to work. Let the client know that their custom wing chair is being upholstered, or their parsons table is getting its custom finish, or that their pillows are now being sewn. Giving customers regular updates is a wonderful way to keep clients happy, excited, and aware. And letting them know what your update schedule will be, at the beginning of the project, is always a best practice as well. And of course sticking to it is key.
If there are setbacks, which there inevitably will be, tell them as quickly as possible and apologize. And also let them know that you will continue to stay on top of the situation to ensure that there are no further setbacks. When people are excited and then something is delayed, people get irritated and anxious. Unfortunately, even if the setback is not your fault, it’s always best to apologize. Admitting fault first is always better than waiting for them to blame you! Putting it out there first almost always means for an easier conversation rather than having to react to a possible tirade. It calms them, lets them know you’re aware of the situation and taking care of it, and that they can relax.
You may not be able to control how many setbacks, delays, etc. occur in your process, but you can control how you handle these issues for your client, and how aware they are of their status. And try to make it fun. This design or product is something they’re greatly anticipating. So send pictures, entertaining quotes, or any clever idea you can think of to keep your client enthusiastic. Make it something that adds an additional element of enjoyment for the client rather than stress. And if you can create a digital tracker like Domino’s has above, double points to you!
If you have any unique ways of keeping clients aware of their design or product status, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!