Make it Easy for Your Customers

For the last 11 years I have held a clothes swap at my house. It’s simple, I invite about 20-25 girlfriends and they bring everything they don’t want in their house (have yet to have a girlfriend bring her husband or boyfriend – lol) and bring it to mine. There are bags and bags and bags of items people don’t want and they spread them out throughout two rooms and then they all go “shopping”. The women take others items and see their “get rid of” items be picked up by someone. What isn’t picked up by one of the attendees is donated to one of a few local nonprofits (this year Sacred Heart Community Service and St. Justins Outgrown Shop). It’s a super fun day filled with great women, good food and helping others. This year we donated more than 800 items to two different charities. Believe it or not, this year was a small donation year!

The clothes swap has been successful since the beginning and most of the same women are still coming with the addition of a few new women.  This is how my clothes swap relates to your customers – 1) make it easy and 2) make it predictable.

1) Make it easy: These women have busy lives. They have careers, husbands/boyfriends, kids, social lives and so much more going on. They have very little extra time but I make it easy for them…bring in what you don’t want and I’ll do the rest. I’ll sort through all the items so that the appropriate nonprofits get what is right for them. I’ll put items on hangers. I’ll save you a trip to a bunch of locations so that you can hang with a bunch of awesome women while you socialize, shop and eat.

Your customers are super busy too. They have families, social lives and let’s not forget, lots of vendors that they’re working with. Don’t waste their time. When you say you’ll only need 30 minutes, take no more than that. When you give them a document to review, makes sure that it’s in a reviewable format. I think you get the gist. The easier you make it for them, the more that they’ll be willing and want to work with you.

2) Make it predictable: Most of the women who have been coming to my annual clothes swap have been coming for the entire 11 years. They know exactly what to expect ahead of time, during the swap and even the follow up after.

Again, if you say it’ll take 30 minutes, don’t take a minute more. Also let your customer know exactly what you expect out of them. If you’re writing a press release on them, let them know how long they will have to approve it, when you hope to release the press release, what the post press release process will be (media outreach, post to your website, social media…) and any other items. This way they’ll have the opportunity to tell you at the beginning if they can participate and if the time line will work. However, if they have to change the timeline at any point in the process that’s okay. Yes, it’s okay. I know you have deadlines to meet but the customer owes you nothing. You can give them a nudge to speed up the process but never ever get mad, yell or threaten them because they aren’t meeting your timeline. The customer owes you nothing! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Got it?

It’s that simple…make it easy and make it predictable!


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