Get these three keys right and you’ve positioned yourself, or your company, for long term growth and success, get them wrong and one, two, three strikes, you’re out!
Two articles I’ve read recently really hit home with me regarding one company that does all three of these items really, really well.
Terry Dean wrote about customer service in an article recently and asked if it was important. I commented to his post about my experiences with Taylor Guitars. I’m a guitar player and like most guitar players, I love guitars.
Troy White, who wrote articles for Clayton Makepeace’s Total Package , wrote an article yesterday titled The Easy Way to Boost Sales by 163% (sorry, link is no longer valid), stating that a direct mail information service survey found that 78% actually want to get mailings from you. According to Troy, using creative contact methods with your prospective and existing customers really pays off. Again, this brought to mind Taylor Guitars.
Taylor makes high end guitars of extraordinary quality. Their factory is in Southern California. Bob Taylor who owns the company has spent his life in pursuit of better methods, technology, and techniques to manufacturer higher quality guitars.
Three Key to Success that Taylor Embodies:
- Consistency in Quality
- Regular and Interesting Contact with Customers and Potential Customers
- Great Customer Service
Consistency in Quality is a Key to Success
No matter what business you’re in, if you’re inconsistent you’re not going to be very successful. If Bob Taylor only produced one guitar with that “magical” quality out of every 10, not very many people would buy his guitars. Even if he produced 9 “magical” guitars out of every 10, he could not have grown his company to be one of the major dominate brands. No, Bob gets really, really, really close to 10 out of 10. Every time. Day after day. Year after year. Unlike some of the major brands, when you purchase a Taylor, it’s playable the way it was setup from the factory. Some major brands vary so much that you really need the music store to adjust it for you. Unless you have a playing style that demands a unusual setup, a Taylor is good to go as delivered from the factory. Once you own and play a Taylor, you have no qualms at all about investing in more Taylor guitars. And yes, invest is the correct word… they ain’t cheap! You may start out with a $700 or $1000 model, but soon you’ll want one of the $4000 models, and then you’ll want a $12,000 Presentation Series. Some players get G.A.S. (Guitar Acquisition Syndrome) so bad they’re like a crack addict selling their soul to get another hit! But, consistent quality should not have to exist only in the stratosphere; it should be available at all price ranges.
Regular and Interesting Contact is a Key to Success
How does Taylor maintain contact with Taylor owners? They have the usual emails you can sign up for, but they have something that a lot of companies do not have. They have a newsletter. This is no normal newsletter; it’s a quarterly magazine style professional high quality publication. They have a staff dedicated to just this publication. I’m sure it’s a huge investment. However, I’m sure that if it didn’t pay off, they would not continue to publish it. The newsletter features letters from customers, articles related to all aspects of guitars: from playing and tech tips, to how they build them. There are articles on new models and features and much more. Also, in each issue is a section of Taylor logo products available for ordering. Taylor owners look forward to each new issue with a passion. Yes, with a passion.
Another way Taylor keeps in touch is to send company representatives out to local music stores to do free road shows. Taylor has world class guitar players put on these events. They also send a company technician to some events and offer to give a “once over” checkup up and free string change to any Taylor owners who bring in their guitars. These events have current owners drooling over more Taylors to purchase. Non Taylor owners who attend get to see first hand why they should purchase a Taylor.
Quality Customer Service is a Key to Success
My comment to Terry Dean’s post talked about my experiences with Taylor’s customer service and how they go above and beyond. In my case, I have a very special Taylor acoustic that I purchased several years ago. It was in the first group of guitars to ship with a new electronic pickup system call the ES. It turns out that there was a problem with the solder used on the circuit boards and connections and over time the solder joints deteriorated. I waited several years after my guitar exhibited problems before calling Taylor. I was expecting to be told that it had been too long for any warranty coverage on the electronics and that I’d have to pay to have it repaired. I was told to send it in and they would replace the complete pickup system free of charge. This is not a cheap repair; the electronics themselves are several hundred dollars, plus the labor to replace the electronics and the 4 body sensors, one of which requires removing the neck. No questions. Simply send it in and we’ll make it right.
By the way, Taylor’s “letters” section of their newsletter usually has several letters from customers with similar stories. Why is good customer service important? Because, it’s easier keep a customer than to get a new one.
What says the most about Taylor Guitars is that a high percentage of people who own Taylor Guitars own more than one. Why? Because, their quality, customer service, and ongoing contact with their customers makes repeat sales the modus operandi for Taylor owners.
And There’s More
So what’s the best present for a guy with 2 Taylors? Another one of course. After I purchased the guitar I mentioned above, I would go into the music store and play some of the other Taylors. There was one I really liked and they’d had it for a year or more. I’d play it and wonder if I should have bought it instead. Then, right before Christmas, my wife and I went in the store and I looked around for “my” guitar and it was gone. I asked where it was and was told they sold it. I asked “Well who bought MY guitar???” and I was told that someone just walked in and bought it. Christmas morning I had a small present from my wife and when I opened the little box it contained the warranty card for my “new” Taylor… seems that she was the someone who just walked in and bought it! I think she was happier than I was!
Instill this kind of love for your products in your customers and you can’t help but be a success!
Until next time,