Derek Brooks / June 29th, 2018
Recently, I was having a conversation with a fellow print shop owner, and the topic of customer service came up.
I mentioned that I thought customer service was more important than it ever has been in my 30-year career in the printing industry. He disagreed. “As long as I deliver a quality product in a timely manner everything works out great for me,” he said.
I’m not so sure about that. Allow me to share my opinion on my friend’s opinion.
There was a time in our industry that quality and speed would allow a printing business to charge a hefty price, rake in the dough, and control market share in their market.
In our new digital world, though, expectations are already high. Quality is not expected, it’s required. And speed? Ever since the microwave was introduced, society has been trying to figure out how to make the world spin faster on its axis!
To make matters worse, now that anyone can get into the digital printing business, there have been a bunch of newbies enter the print industry that have no clue how to price their products appropriately. That means it’s even more challenging to compete for the same margins that we once knew.
Are quality, speed, and price still important? Absolutely! But, they are no longer the only things that matter.
Today, we must outserve our competition. The equipment and talent field are more level than they have ever been, so your customer service is one of the few ways left to differentiate yourself.
Let’s look at customer service in a different industry to see how it stacks up. Let’s talk about fast food, or as it’s now called: quick-service restaurants. If we played a word association game and I said, “fast food – great service” what brand comes to mind? Did you say Chick-Fil-A? Whether you did or not, they’re on the minds of many.
First off, Chick-Fil-A was well in control of their culture before “culture” was a buzzword. Furthermore, that culture is based on exceptional service and always has been. They have an enormous research and development facility that is focused on providing more value to customers without increasing any prices. There isn’t a project in the building that will cost Chick-Fil-A customers more money than they are already spending.
When you talk to any team member of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, you can feel a positive difference from other quick service organization employees.
And if you thank any one of them, you can rest assured that they will claim that it was their pleasure.
You may or may not be a fan of the Chick-Fil-A brand, but the proof is in the numbers. Chick-Fil-A outsells every other brand of quick service food at the individual store level, and they are closed on Sundays. That means that, annually, they outsell all of their competition with 52 less selling days per year!
“We should be about more than just selling chicken. We should be a part of our customers’ lives and the communities in which we serve.” – S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-Fil-A
In today’s society, people are more connected than ever.
If we go above and beyond to serve them, they will not only appreciate it, but they’ll remember and return to us the next time they need our services. They’ll also share their experiences with their friends. Remember, the same is true if we don’t serve them well, unfortunately.
How about you? Do you outperform your competition simply by outserving?