Thinking Inside the Box

Wait. What?

You read that correctly. This article is about “Thinking Inside the Box”.

Not “Outside”.

What I mean by this is thinking about what you are putting inside the box, and actually how you are putting it in there.

It can’t be a jumbled up mess and look like some college kid’s laundry.

As we move into one of the busier seasons of the year, most shops will start to take on new staff to accommodate that increased workload. Which means that you have new people on board.

They absolutely don’t know what you know. Or your current staff knows. Including the history of a particular client, or how something got messed up last year at this exact time.

Which is why we want to concentrate on what is going inside that box. Managing production properly matters.

Inside the Box

What is inside that box anyway?

Here’s a clue. It isn’t shirts.

Physically yes. Those are shirts.

But what is really inside that box is your customer’s expectations and a mental picture of what they bought. Locked in their brain is their definition of what a box of custom decorated apparel looks like.

This is based on a few things.

Past experience.

Maybe they have ordered from you or another decorator previously. This next order that is shipping out will be judged against that.

Other industries.

We order stuff all the time. Amazon is the leading contender on how things should be delivered. Like it or not. You are being measured against that.

How they would do it.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain about something at one time or another. They will say, “It’s common sense.” Whether that’s true or not, who knows. But you are being evaluated based on that mental model of delivery.

Delivering on Expectations

So let’s consider this for a minute.

When you are loading that box up with your finely crafted awesomeness, how are they being placed in the carton?

Are you crisply folding them so they look perfect?

Is the decorated image visible?

For a box with mixed sizes, do you rotate the groups 180 degrees so it’s obvious when you go from Small, to Medium, to Large, to X-Large, to even more X’s past that?

Do you include a packing list? Is it signed and verified with a person’s name with a handwritten note in red ink?

Is there a Thank You card or some other sort of note included?

What about a piece of cardboard on top so the shirts are protected if they open the box with a razor knife?

Yeah, We Do That

Sure you do.

Every time? When was the last time you audited that process? Maybe even taking pictures or a video of what you customer might see when they open the box?

For new employees do you go over the importance of making sure your shop’s process is handled every time and more importantly, the reasons why it matters?

The difference could mean more repeat orders from your online store or customer.

Here’s Why

When things get busy and stressed, small details get missed.

Shirts are not folded as crisply. That piece of cardboard that should be on top is left out. That last dozen for the order is crammed in upside down.

Who’s going to notice anyway? The box gets sealed up seconds after it is filled.

I will tell you who notices.

Your customers.

They are the ones that you need to constantly delight. Do you really think it is that hard to decorate a shirt?

How you package that order is the first thing someone notices and checks a mental note about quality.

Ask Yourself One Question

I want you to Think Inside the Box.

With that, here’s the question you should be asking.

“What can we do to improve our customer experience when receiving an order?”

Get started brainstorming on that and elevate how your customers feel about working with you.