Customer Satisfaction Always
Mainie Founders – Denis Keeffe and Charmaine Saunders
By Denis Keeffe
My wife, Charmaine Saunders is the co-founder of Mainie Australia. Charmaine recently wrote about the absolute essential ingredient of any business – CUSTOMERS.
I would like to quantify the term “customer”
In my previous life in professional sport, our marketing gurus graded and rated many categories of “the customer”. All sorts of measurements and levels of involvement by team fans were considered, including differing participation rates, avidity levels, commitments, prices, etc. The objective was to firstly identify the customer and establish a current participation level with a view to target marketing this person or group to maximise the return. The aim was to stimulate higher levels of participation. Sorry if this is sounding like “sports marketing 101” but I am trying to paint the picture of the many types of customers who are involved in this industry.
At the highest levels of customer participation in the sports world, there are the corporate sponsors, box holders and the season ticketed members who attend all home games, and some away, if possible. They purchase the club’s merchandise, attend club functions, and watch the media coverage. The avidity is so intense for this customer that he or she has a significant commitment to their club. A less committed customer might just simply care about whether the team wins or loses, buy a t-shirt or cap and attend an occasional game.
The variations on these two fan types and their avidity are almost infinite, therefore the offerings to meet their wants and needs are accordingly just as limitless. At times, quite innovative, some might even say “bizarre” membership options are available e.g. pet membership. Some clubs even offer their fans the option to make their dog, cat or pet chicken a member – go figure that.
There are many “add-ons” to ticketing packages including home and away tickets inclusive of airfares, accommodation, transfers, parking, endless food and beverage packages, and payment options. The merchandise offerings are just as varied and expansive. It used to be just apparel like team shirts and hats, now it’s everything from baby wear to school supplies to homewares to car accessories and even dog collars. It is a massive task for the consumer to decide what, when, how, etc. There is something there for every customer and every level of fan avidity.
Most Mainie customers are discrete and quite specific about what they wear, how and when a garment is worn, the coordination, and of course the “message” such a garment sends to all and sundry. I wouldn’t say it’s a “statement” as such, but it certainly reflects the person’s values and individual preferences.
In the five years that Mainie has been supplying high end luxury fashion accessories in the form of pure silk scarves, wraps and kaftan tops, we have supplied thousands of individual products. In that time, we have received only one return – and that was not a return in the real sense because the lady who requested the return, exchanged her purchase for another Mainie scarf as she wanted a different colour.
Every Mainie customer is special and valued. Each has made a conscious decision to purchase an authentic, luxurious, and unique fashion product that reflects the timeless “dreamtime” spirituality of our First Nations People. As Mainie remits royalties on all sales to the Aboriginal artists who produced the original artworks, the customer frequently acknowledges this as a contributing factor in their decision to purchase.
The Mainie customer who appreciates many of the qualities that contribute to our products is usually a repeat customer. Often this person will purchase many Mainie products over time or will make multiple purchases in store, online or at our stockists’ outlets. We have attempted to research this customer and we almost always come back to the obvious conclusion. This customer wants to engage with the high-end luxury, understands our ethics, loves the look and presentation of our products, appreciates the value, and is a person who wholeheartedly endorses all the qualities that Mainie embodies. They are the fashion version of the “fully committed” in a sports sense.
At the other end of the scale is the customer who appreciates the Mainie story. They support how we work with Aboriginal women artists from remote communities to assist them to create genuine opportunities to earn an independent income and preserve their traditional cultural heritage. This customer might not even buy a Mainie themselves but will show their patronage in other ways by engaging with our social media and sharing our story with friends. They may not be in a position to buy when they visit our store but will wait for our sales, or hint to loved ones about a gift from Mainie when a special date like a birthday or Mother’s Day draws near.
Every Mainie customer is important to us, so our practised customer service philosophy is simple. “Complete customer satisfaction always”. We stand behind the quality of our products and the integrity of our brand. At Mainie, we set great store by the LOYALTY and TRUST of our Mainie customers at all levels and do everything we can to maintain these important relationships.
We thank our customers for their shared commitment for our passion and values. It gives us hope that Mainie can survive these testing times and prosper as proud Australian and global contributor.
By Denis Keeffe