When does the Designer’s job end?

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Customer ServiceThis was asked of me recently whilst at Interzum by a very inquisitive door manufacturer. As it turns out his son had just embarked on a career with one of the larger German manufacturers and as part of the extensive training, he had been “instructed” that “come the sale, comes the end”!

My first instinct was to annunciate a couple of well chosen Australian vernaculars however given it was early in the day I decided to throw the question straight back and ask the father his thoughts on the matter.

His father, who held a senior position within the organisation was amazed that training in sales could teach this kind of “müll” (rubbish in German). He said that 90% of the business he brings to the said door manufacturer, came from his ongoing relationships with existing clients. He said that every great business is built on friendship – and he’s right. I asked one well known and respected designer recently what he thought of that sort of training and he couldn’t believe it either – he said that his attitude to others determines their attitude to him. Spot on I say!

There are, however some businesses that operate here in Australia on the very same basis – most of them you would know and one designer who had been through this aged indoctrination said to me last year, that the company’s policy hasn’t changed in years. “Whack them and leave them” was his exact words.

When does the Designer's job end?

To me these type of prehistoric sales tactics are not for our industry. They create an environment in which their customers may forget what was said but they will never forget how you made them feel.

A good (or even great) customer service experience is today’s retail battleground. Loyal customers don’t just come back – they recommend their friends and family. You whack them today – you’ve lost them forever.

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