The One Phone Call
All we needed was a factory and a store. Other functions would lead to unnecessary expenses for our customers. Eliminating the middle margin allowed our customers to merit from the price cuts, which no doubt they will be pleased.
If customers were to come across shirts of distinctive quality, with prices that promised a great deal like ours, their jaws would surely drop to the ground with astonishment. The launch would be a success if this could be made into reality.
I shut myself up in my house, prepared the sewing specifications, and asked the artisans of the field for blueprints and patterns. However, commuting from my house in Kamakura to the city became an issue.
So, I decided to rent an office in Tokyo.
If paying rent led to the rise in the products’ prices, this would go against the interest of our customers. That is why I decided to earn the expenses for the office by taking on the role of a consultant, utilizing my years of experience in the clothing industry. That is how the supply service and marketing firm, Sada Merchandising, was born.
We were able to rent an office at half the cost by suggesting that a knitting firm from Niigata invest in a Tokyo office themselves. It was about 60m2 with a desk and a telephone. I informed as many of my friends, acquaintances, and associates as possible that the business was up and running. And every day I waited for the phone to ring.
Despite waiting, the phone never rang.
I had never waited this long for a phone call.
I kept waiting…and waiting…but still the phone didn’t ring.
Is this all I have to show for my career?
After about 10 days, when I was losing my self-confidence entirely, the phone gave a blaring ring. I leapt for it and the first words I uttered were simply: “Thank you”. I was truly grateful.
I was saved. Full of gratitude. The utmost gratitude. And at Kamakura Shirts, we will never forget the significance of that one phone call, and the feeling of gratitude. With this gratitude in mind, our employees will not keep customers waiting for more than two rings.
A friend of mine said at a university lecture that the first step to great customer service is the phone, He said that you can tell if a company is good or bad by how they operate on the phone. He said that Kamakura Shirts’ telephone service is world class. “You should give them a call!” he told his students; this company will never let the phone ring more than two times.