We always want to look for ways for your company to really stand out from all your other print competition. I've drafted up a list of ideas I hope you find helpful. 1. What's Easy To Give? - Think of things you could do to bring a little extra value that perhaps other printers just can't be bothered doing? It might just be taking the time to give extra advice. Maybe you can help introduce them to a good mailing house? It might even be help finding a supplier for something you can't offer? Maybe you have a suggestion for how they could produce their job more cost-effectively? One that comes to mind for me is a customer I once had was printing a 60ppA5 Booklet. I explained that because we were printing in 4 x 16pp sigs it would actually be cheaper for them to print an extra 4 pages. As you can imagine, they were delighted and became a very loyal customer. Think about spending just a little more time with them and seek out other ways you can bring your experience to the table to help. It will go a long way!
2. Unrequested Perks - You might already offer free file checking to your customers but if not, you should definitely consider it. I can't tell you the number of times I've stopped a print run because the fonts weren't embedded properly or an image wasn't hi-res enough. If you're able to stop a customer from making a costly error and allow them to fix it or indeed fix it for them, again it's things like this that build loyalty. Have a think about unexpected things you can do to make your customer feel more cared for.
3. Reverse Engineering - One exercise really worth taking some time on and we cover this a little in our competitive analysis but check out all your competitor's reviews online. Look for repetitive complaints that customers constantly have issues with and reverse engineer these within your own business so it now becomes a selling point for you.
4. Survey Your Customers - It's important to watch and learn from your customers. Find out what they like and dislike about the process of working with you. You might not be able to always do what it is they want but you have at least listened and who knows, you might actually get some great suggestions from it.
5. Special Treatment - I've seen this quite a bit of late but why not send Thankyou Cards to customers. Perhaps 1 to thank them for placing their 1st order with you, maybe if any special dates come up through conversation like a birthday or an anniversary you can make a note to send them a card at the time. It shows you pay attention, appreciate their business and care about the relationship. Some other things you could do for instance if they are coming in to visit your offices, if able to, maybe you could reserve a car parking space for them or have a special welcome note in reception for them?
6. Break The Rules - This is one you need to be careful with but if handled well can really delight your customers in their hour of need. Let's say they've missed the 10 AM cut-off for booking their job in but you know it's for an important event and the job being a day late could be a real issue for them. Obviously, make it clear that it's a unique situation but if possible, push the occasional job through to help them out.
7. Make It Personal - If you have a good CRM in your toolbox, use it to build a profile of your customer. As previously mentioned, make note of special dates, the names of their partner or kids, where they holiday, etc. It always makes your conversation easier if you can open a conversation with something personal relating to them like "How's Steven and Mary getting on at school?" or Did you and Caroline get up to much at the weekend. Again, it shows you pay attention and you care.
8. Get Tech Savvy - One of the things I implemented into a CSM I developed years ago gave full transparency of the production of a job from when it was booked in right through to delivery. My customers could log into their portal, view the job to check it was all still on track, and give them peace of mind. The beauty of having tech like this is that it will also reduce the number of inbound calls and emails you receive from customers looking for updates.
9. Which Communication Methods? - It's important you pay attention to the preferred method of communication the customer chooses to use. Some prefer the telephone, some prefer text or email, some prefer Zoom, and some prefer in person. You also have things like LiveChat, Messenger, or Whatsapp now too. Every customer is different but if you respect their preferred choice, they are more likely to want to stay engaged with you.
10. Always Be Honest! - One of my biggest gripes is being given a lame excuse for why a job is late. When it's blamed on the courier not collecting on time or perhaps it's been misplaced at the dept. The problem is people see right through these excuses and you can only use them so many times. That's why it's always best to be 100% completely honest. At the end of the day, we're in manufacturing. Things go wrong. Paper doesn't turn up when it should, machines break down and often take longer than we'd like to fix. The customer might not be happy their job is delayed but if you just tell them the truth, they'll respect you much more for it.
If you've found this useful and would like to know more about myself, The Online Print Coach, you can visit my website www.theonlineprintcoach.com. FESPA UK members also receive a 20% discount to The Print Growth Academy. You can access this special discount at https://www.theonlineprintcoach.com/offers/gMYNWLnS?coupon_code=FESPA_MEMBER