Size Doesn’t Matter. Your Customers Do.

The size of your print business is not a predictor of its success. In fact, there’s really only one thing that will help you know how successful you’ll be — your customers!

Think about it: Whether it’s a large business like Google or Amazon or a much smaller, local mom and pop shop, customers are the one aspect that tie all businesses together.

Your customer base is the greatest treasure you’ll ever hold, so it’s important you treat it as such. Consider that:

  • 47 percent of customers surveyed have switched companies after a single instance of poor customer service,” according to 24/7.
  • “A customer who is “totally satisfied” delivers 2.6 times as much revenue as one who is “somewhat satisfied.”

So, how do you go about maintaining your customer base and still make your business stand out from others?

The answer is: Go the Extra Mile.

“Yeah, I get that,” you say. “But how?”

Communication is Your First Step

Not everyone is naturally a great communicator.

It’s important to remember that communication is a learned skill, and you need to take the time to train your Customer Service Representatives on what to ask. For example, train your staff to run through these five essential questions to help them make sure a job is done right:

  • What: What product does your customer want?
  • How: How are you going to fulfill their request?
  • When: When does the customer need their job completed by?
  • Why: If a customer is requesting a product a certain way, ask why. Knowing the why helps you avoid frustration and accomplish their request more efficiently.
  • Where: Where is the customer going to receive or pick up the product?

Armed with the information you’ve gathered, you can then determine the most critical aspect of any job — if you’re able to complete what is requested. By finding out if the job is feasible, it creates an opportunity to acquire the job and the customer account.

Prepare for Perfect with Proofing

After communication, the proofing process is another area where you can really excel by going the extra mile.

If you haven’t already, put a process or checklist in place to ensure ALL jobs go through the same quality checks to avoid any missteps. Here’s an example of an effective proofing process:

  1. Art Department proofreads all artwork for any mistakes.
  2. Customer Service Representatives send artwork to the customer for approval.
  3. Customer reviews artwork to ensure that it matches their vision of what they wanted.
  4. If the customer provides print-ready artwork, Art Department still checks the files for any discrepancies or mistakes to ensure quality.
  5. If the Art Department finds any mistakes or discrepancies, it should be reported to the Customer Service Representatives.
  6. The Customer Service Representative will contact the customer to gain permission to change the file if possible or to request a new file for print with the corrections.

When you’ve paired great communication with an even greater quality process, your customers will quickly learn to appreciate your desire for going the extra mile. It is always good to have another pair of eyes to check for mistakes; after all, we are all only human.

Your Professional Opinion Matters

Aside from mistakes, be on the lookout for cases where your professional printing opinion could be offered.

If their headline is lackluster, let them know, and refer them to materials on your website that offer help. Or, if a piece of artwork has a shape or color that doesn’t bleed, for example, share your wisdom that it will look better if that shape or color is bled off the edge of the artwork.

Providing your professional opinion will allow the customer to know that you care about them. Once your customers know that you care about the quality of the job, it creates an incentive for them to keep coming back to you for business.

Double-checking art and providing a professional opinion can set you apart from other businesses. Other businesses will merely take customer art and run with it. This decision is dangerous because if the artwork is then printed with a mistake, the customer will not be happy. Not only is the decision risky, but it’s also careless. Customers will be deterred from continuing business with you as a result of those mistakes.

Production: Your Last Line of Defense

Once a customer file has been approved for printing, allow your Print Production Specialists to provide their expertise on how artwork should be printed.

Trust them to ensure the most cost-effective way to proceed forward with the printing of artwork. Aside from helping save the business money, they are also another set of eyes for proofreading in case your Art Department or customer missed something. Have them run a sample of the artwork and check for errors.

This is an excellent line of defense for you because once an error is caught, you can halt the printing process and notify the customer before proceeding with finishing their job. The process will then begin all over again to ensure that there are no other mistakes before sending to the customer for final approval.

Quality Over Quantity

So, you’re not the size of Google or Amazon. So, what?

You can be just as successful with growing and maintaining your customer base simply by going that extra mile and keeping a “Quality Over Quantity” mindset.

Written by

Joseph Casagrande

Graphic Designer, Banyan Printing

Joseph Casagrande has been a Graphic Designer at Banyan Printing since 2016. Joseph also provides digital content as the Social Media Manager and has a Bachelors in Computer Graphics as well as a Masters in Business Administration. Joseph’s knowledge and experience in the print industry have given him success in maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.