3 Key Concepts for Managing a Client’s Expectations

managing customer expectations

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3.  Being Knowledgeable, Staying Relevant, and Being a Design Oriented Manufacturing Company Provides Clients With a Valuable Combination of Services

I also have the ability to talk about trend concepts that are sometimes more than 1 year out from the ideas that mass retailers are currently looking to develop for their customers. I can better manage how to bring high fashion and trends down to the everyday masses of people.

I stay relevant to our customers by making sure I and my team are following trend forecasting services, staying up to date with runway/ready to wear fashion shows, doing continuous international and domestic shopping, attending trade shows, seeing what people are wearing on the street, staying current with our clients’ Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other social media outlets. It’s important to keep up with all streams of relevant information that apply to your business. Doing your homework is key.

With a vast supply of forecasting information combined with current business successes, I can help to develop ideas specific to each of my accounts. I start with broad brushstroke concepts early on in the development stages and as we continuously meet with our accounts, we move forward through the process.

Our first meeting may be all about touching on the “big picture” design concepts being touted for the season and honing in on which ones apply to my account. Not all ideas are meant for every account so we try to identify the key concepts that will translate for our account.

The next step might be to see what my client’s own design teams are proposing as conceptually correct for their own brands and finding a place where our ideas reconfirm each other’s points of view. Many of the client’s I work with have their own internal design teams that I work hand in hand with, but many times—they still do not have enough design helping hands on their end to work through all of the art, technical design, and factory liason/relations to manage everything that they need to execute. This is where my company can provide a valuable service of being an extension to their own internal design team.

Working with their design teams’ point of view, we lay out the specific color palettes, silhouettes, stitches, fabrics, CADs and graphic artwork  that we think work for the brand and start to put these designs into work for sampling based on our account’s management meetings that help guide what should remain in the brand’s line for each delivery and looking carefully at assortment plans, costing challenges, and mark-up goals.

It’s very important to build these strong working relationships with my clients. I want to be able to inform and help guide my client’s ideas of what is good for their brand by having product and information that can support my point of view.

Being successful at this means having the knowledge and experience of designing great product as well as having enough experience on the production side to be able to design smart and beautiful product collaboratively with our accounts to meet target costs.

This can be difficult when working with mass retailers whose cost expectations are quite low and mark-up expectations quite high. When you don’t keep your clients looped in through the process of leveling down to hit target costs, they feel frustrated and almost cheated that they had to give something up to hit a price point. But if they are involved through the process and take a part in making the smart and calculated decisions—they feel empowered and highly invested,

People always are amazed at how beautiful high priced garments are--Why? High end design has limitless options for beautiful fabrics and trims—these garments should be beautiful! The real challenge is making something look beautiful that needs to sell to our buyers in the range of &9.00 to $10.00—that takes a lot of calculated design choices.

It’s what I do every day and I help to make my accounts know that they are getting a fashionable high quality item by sharing design information, production knowledge, and market intelligence to give them the ammunition to make smart decisions.

Making your account feel like they are still achieving a beautiful end product that feels authentic to where you started from the initial process is what gives them the trust and confidence to continue the relationship and that’s the end goal.

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About the author

Tina Trevino

Tina Trevino is the Senior Design Director of KBL Group Intl. Ltd. in NYC and manages their large creative design team and Director Community Relations for Latin Business Today. She shares all of her insight on upcoming fashion trends for the season with her team to start the collaborative design process. The company specializes in sweaters, knits and wovens. It provides product for ladies, men, contemporary, jr, and children. Tina specializes in coordinating directly with large US retailers to design exactly into their targeted customer needs. With many years under her belt in the industry, she has also gained the ability to go beyond the fashion component and help to work through sourcing, fitting, production and merchandising issues as well.