Quilting and Refinancing

Last summer I refinanced my house. It was semi-painless, took several weeks and I got a major reduction in my interest rate. But what does this have to do with quilting?

During the whole refinancing process, I was sent emails and received phone calls, whenever anything was done, needed to be done, documents received, documents or papers being sent, etc. Sometimes it was almost annoying, but most of the time it was reassuring. I KNEW what was happening at any given time during the refinancing process.

I kept thinking, how can I apply this to my machine quilting business?

After doing some thinking about this, here is what I have been doing the last few months.

After working a bit on a customer’s quilt, I take a photo (or two or three) of what I am doing. I send it to my customer attached to an email letting her know that I have started working on her quilt. If the quilt is large or is going to take a longer time, I will send other emails along with more photos of my progress. Then, when the quilt is completely finished, I take a photo of the completed project (I usually hang the quilt outside on my clothesline for a full view photo). Again, I send that photo to her telling her the quilt is completed and is ready to be picked up.

I have received many nice comments about this from my customers. They really seem to enjoy getting the photos and updates on my progress. They especially enjoy receiving the full view of the completed quilt.

If you are working on a “quickie” quilt, you may not want to send a photo in the morning and then tell your customer that the quilt is completed a few hours later. You may want to wait a day or two before sending word of the quilt being finished. If you have the customer that, after sending the first email, calls you repeatedly to know when her quilt is finished – I may not send a photo to her until the quilt is completed. You have to make the decision on what works best for your “unique” customers.

Does this add a little more computer time to your business? Yes it does. But, what are you gaining in the realm of customer service? What if you are the only quilter in your area that does this? Will this set you apart from the competition in your area? Yes it will! You can use this as a marketing tool and state on your brochure/website/blog that you send quilting updates when working on their projects. Also, tell your customer you will be doing this when you are doing your initial quilting consultation.

I am working on a quilt right now that is going to be completed way ahead of schedule. I have sent photos and an update letting my customer know that her quilt will be ready a couple of weeks early. On the other hand, if, for some reason, you get significantly delayed working on a specific quilt, send an email and let your customer know what is happening. Maybe you can tell your customer that their quilt is “number X” in line to be quilted. Again, you have to make the decision as to how much informaiton you need to give to your customer.

Sendng emails and photos is a relatively simple way to keep your customers informed of your progress.

If you have any thoughts about this, please leave a comment.

If you have any other ideas on how to keep in touch with your customers while you are working on their quilts, please leave a comment.

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About Cindy Roth
Mother of 3, Grandmother of 11 and quilting forever!

10 Responses to Quilting and Refinancing

  1. gdcleanfun says:

    My customers tell me, too, that they really appreciate the progress pictures of their quilts that I email to them!

  2. Robin Mainzer says:

    This is a great idea. I am going to use it in the future.

  3. Yes! Good communication is the golden nugget of a prosperous and growing business. We grew another type of service business in this way, did not advertise, even in the yellow pages, collected most of our clients by word of mouth, etc. People love to be kept informed and especially with our quilting, are so anxious to see the final results. Even though seeing only snippets of it with a photo, it just heightens the anticipation of the finished product. Using a tablet or I-Pad with camera is a very easy way to take the photos, too. No downloading, just email.

  4. Linda Morris says:

    I worked in a quilt shop prior to starting my business. One issue I heard consistently was a customer not having any idea of when her quilt would be returned by the quilter. I always give my customers an expected return date. If anything happens that keeps me from being on time, I communicate as soon as I know. I also let all my customers know I am a caregiver for my 94 year old Mom and if for any reason she becomes sick, she comes first. So, along with communication, I try for no surprises for my customers.

  5. Joanne Crowson says:

    I have posted completed quilts on my Facebook page. I am always careful to ask permision first in case it’s a gift. I don’t want to spoil someone’s surprise. Everyone loves seeing the quilts and I have received several orders because of my facebook photos. I also use e-mail to update customers on quilts.

  6. Dar in MO says:

    Cindy, I always take a picture of the finished quilt (front and back) and incorporate it on the invoice that I prepare for the customer. I think it helps them keep up with what they done (especially if they give them away) and how much they spent on getting it quilted. Often times I will notify the customer by email with this invoice as an attachment. Nice touch.

  7. Julianne says:

    This is a great idea..Thanks

  8. Kay says:

    This is a fantastic idea. I’m going to put into place right now. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Cindy, I totally agree that this is a great idea. This is something that I do in my quilting business. Being a sales rep in my “real job” helps me to know that keeping the customer informed is the most important thing in establishing and building a great relationship with them.
    Even finishing early is something they need to know. If they are on a limited budget, they may not be prepared to pay two weeks in advance. I believe you can’t communicate enough. 🙂

  10. Ann P says:

    Great ideas. I’m not quilting as a business yet but looking at and keeping all advice I can for the future! Thanks.

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