Last Monday while on a tour, myself and a friend decided to stop into Sweetwater Sound. It was halfway in between our Michigan and Indiana gigs and there was no way we could turn down the opportunity.
We met with their Artists Relations Director and he gave us an extensive tour of the 100,000 sq. foot facility – in-house music store, distribution warehouse, recording studios, music school, coffeehouse, gym (yes I said gym), and salon (yes, they cut hair there too).
The place is huge and state of the art. But even more impressive, is the company’s customer service. Upon leaving I had so much more respect for Sweetwater. Here are a few things I took away.
WALK YOUR TALK
Sweetwater is known for its excellent customer service, marketing, and friendliness in the form of non-intrusive courtesy calls, follow-up emails, and shipments full of candy. They have over 15,000 twitter followers, over 115,00 facebook followers, and they reach more individuals by internet than they will ever meet face-to-face. They don’t necessarily have to be any better than their internet presence already is. Despite all of this, their face-to-face communication with customers is top notch! They are helpful and inviting and go the extra step even when its not necessary. Sweetwater walks its talk.
TAKE YOUR JOB SERIOUSLY
We were pretty surprised when the Artist Relations Director offered to give us a tour of the facility. A 5-minute conversation quickly turned into a 30-minute tour, which then turned into a 15-minute repair session to fix one of our instruments! The following morning we received a follow-up email from him letting us know we could contact him if we ever needed anything.
OPERATE ABOVE STATUS QUO
I personally think that what makes Sweetwater the largest, most successful music store in the nation isn’t the fact that they have an excellent website or a state of the art building. What makes them great is that they go the extra mile even when they don’t have to:
- Their sales department houses over 150 employees, you can actually get through to someone when you call, and more importantly, each person knows what they’re talking about because they’ve been through an extensive training program. They also meet with gear reps on a weekly basis to learn about new products (something else we learned).
- All images of products on their website are specific to a particular piece of equipment - not a stock photo. In other words, if they have two (2) Fender American Vintage red guitars, they will take photos of each guitar and post them online. You are seeing the exact image of the product you’re ordering.
Readers: your music, your web presence, and your on-stage and face-to-face interaction with fans is of utmost importance. Do you walk your talk? Do you take your job seriously? Do you operate above status quo? Do your fans know that and see that in how you represent yourself? Do you see a positive return from your efforts?
We know Sweetwater doesn’t need our help to get the word out about their products, but these things were worth mentioning and we hope they challenge you to be better at what you do. That’s all.