Well here we are... kind of "on the other side"!
Whatever the negative impacts have been on my business during lockdown I have focused on and been overwhelmed by - the positivity that has come out of all this.
Support from our customers has been 99% OFF THE SCALE. The good will, the patience and understanding has been quite an inspiration and only drives me to be better and better - and this is what we have done!
The volume of enquiries and new business that lock down generated enabled me to plan for "post lockdown" whilst trying our best to help as many people DURING lockdown too!
Nobody knows what the future brings - but all I can do is continue providing my customers the care they deserve NOW and hope we can continue building on this good will on into the future.
The Latest Developments
Rikki (bottom right in the picture) has been with us for a month now and I cannot believe how naturally he has fitted in with us here - I already consider him an integral part of our day-to-day sales and support team with Jon & myself. What a lovely guy - and if it hadn't been for lock down our paths would have probably never crossed. Thank goodness they did.
During lockdown, it became totally apparent that our normal customer service structure couldn't handle the volume of enquiries coming in and that looking forward we would need to restructure how our business works to ensure the highest possible "connection" (I mean a human connection - not just a process if you know what I mean?) possible.
Step forward my wife who has been by my side for since I was 18 years old and has been involved in the business all her adult life. She not only took the reigns but gave them a good old shake - TOTALLY overhauling our processes (takes a woman you see - I can play the guitar but get a bit lost after that!!). I cannot believe what she has achieved in such a short period of time. Lots of long days and nights - getting her head around what is and isn't working - and making some strong decisions along the way. I am so incredibly proud of her. Also - currently if you are chasing an order or looking for some friendly support she will most likely be the person you will be communicating with.
Dylan actually starts this week and another full time team member who Teresa instigated with a role of "Logistics". Everything stock control, stock movement, returns, collections, back orders. Someone who has a total control of the movement of guitars through our entire process. This knowledge is often at the heart of any confusing scenario that can lead to frustration if we cannot pin point the information quickly. Currently my wife Teresa has all this in hand but is looking forward to off loading some of this on to Dylan!!! He is also a massive lover of guitar and cannot wait to be surrounded by them all day long (so he says - lets see lol).
A Fully Committed Team - Every One With The Same Goal
One of the biggest issues we faced during lock down (but it also showed the issues we face going forward too) is that passing on of information & job sharing is always going to cause us problems and frustrations for customers. Also - I have realized that for a member of the team to fully commit themselves to the best interests of OUR (not my) customers they need to be fully committed to business and the role they play. For the sake of the team - my customers - my own sanity - we can only have full time, fully committed team member who care passionately about our customers.
I can say hand on heart - without question - In my entire 25 years of running a guitar business that this is the best feeling - the most focused - the most inspiring environment I have ever worked in.
The private appointments initially brought in to comply with covid regulations but frankly right from the very first moment of introducing them it felt right for me personally - and I could see it made the customers experience go through the roof! The perfect environment for our customer every time. We get time to prepare in advance - to discuss the customers needs in advance - to ensure the guitars are prepared for their visit - and we can dedicate as much or little time to them as they need. Its been AMAZING and whatever happens in the future I do not want to lose this wonderful experience we can give our customers - covid or no covid! We will see ....
Sorry to anyone who has felt "put out" by not having immediate / open access to the shop. Really am sorry if its inconvenient but I think overwhelmingly evidence is the benefits to the people who are "buying into" our service greatly outweigh the negativity generated by passers-by who are upset we cannot let them in. All I can ask is that if you care about being served in the manner we want you to experience - you will appreciate what we are doing and why - book in appointment and experience it for yourself too one day?
Our service is all about providing the very best - We are not a general music shop - We are not really a "guitar shop". We are a dedicated team providing specialist advice, pre sale and post sale support and a customer experience we want to be second to none. The private appointments cement that opportunity for us and our customers to experience something special. We feel more connected to our customers - and hopefully they feel the same too.
You know what? I think we have finally hit on the perfect balance! Balancing expectation and VOLUME of enquiries!!
Hopefully you have seen the video I recently published which you can find on our contact us page or on youtube where I explain the basics so I wont waffle on here but in basic terms...
3 phone lines into the building - in fact we may even use 4 if needs be when Dylan starts. You can ALWAY get hold of us Tuesday to Saturday 10 -4.
Online Chat & Ticketing - We have 4 of us Tuesday to Friday on tickets and able to see if you are online enabling us to instigate real time conversations but also ensuring we reply promptly to your enquiry.
Ever since I started in business 25 years ago I have used live chat out of hours (yes I was the first to ever use it in my industry!) and I continue to use it to this day - when available of course!! If however I am not around we will pick up your enquiry on tickets the following day and of course you can call us too!
I believe I have - the technology - the resources - the commitment and desire from everyone involved to ensure you communication with us is always an enjoyable and pleasant experience
We care passionately - but its a team. You and us. I see us as ONE unit whilst you are making an enquiry or buying a guitar - or looking for help in the future. You and us - one team.
Between us we are the ultimate team. If you want to be a team player - we are your perfect partner I promise. If you follow football maybe this analogy fits...
Liverpool just won the league. They did it as a team. They had ONE vision - to win the title. Throughout their title campaign every part of that structure acted as one.
Imagine this scenario - The defender passes back to goal, but the goaly fumbles the ball!! Man U gets a tackle in and makes a goal.
What I am trying to say here is if you are thinking of joining (or have already) our team - join us with the knowledge that TOGETHER we are #1 and we are going to win the title.
We are nothing without you! IF we drop the ball - tap it back, give us a pat on the back and tell us its going to be ok. We will ALWAYS return the gesture.
We will always be here for you. Its the only way and once in the team - you are always in the team.
As a team member we need your total belief and support -and we will give you back the same - ALWAYS.