Print buyers are the number one asset of your business.
While buildings, equipment, and team members come and go, it’s your print buyers that will determine the level of success your print business will see. As Henry Ford once said,
“It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.“
As the world gets used to a new normal of doing business, most likely you’re quickly coming to understand who the true financiers are behind your business. And, as you look to secure your future in the printing industry, it will naturally lead you to questions like these: “What do our print buyers need from us right now?” and “How can we keep our customers happy?”
As your brand begins to research and meet the needs of your customers, you’ll begin to cultivate connections to get (and keep) your business moving in the right direction.
There are five basic needs your print buyers have that you can’t afford to ignore. They are:
Over the next five weeks, you’ll learn more about each of those needs and what steps you can take to ensure you’re meeting them.
Ready to get started?
Print Buyer Need No. 1: Service
How you serve others will differentiate you from other companies immensely.
Do your print buyers feel like you’re singularly focused on helping them succeed, or do they think you’re only looking out for your own interests? How they answer that question will give you some valuable insight into whether your service level is falling flat or hitting the mark.
The thing is, customer service is more than a single department that is designated to deal with customers. Customer service is (and should be) your entire company.
And your print buyers (and customers everywhere) agree.
In fact, customers regularly state that they would be more than happy to pay more if it ensured a higher level of customer service. That’s because a greater level of customer service means an increase in trust and results in your print buyers knowing that you’ll understand and address any issues they may have in a timely and satisfying manner.
Excellent customer service should cover three basic areas. They are:
1. Your Service Should Match the Level of Purchase
In a perfect world, everyone would experience the same customer service regardless of the level of purchase, but that’s not reality.
Think of it this way: When you head over to McDonald’s on your lunch break, you’re not expecting the young kid behind the counter to offer you a consultation on their best food options. More than likely, you’re feeling good about the encounter if the employee even said hello or made eye contact with you.
On the other hand, if you’re meeting with a caterer to discuss menu options for your only daughter’s wedding, there’s no doubt that you should expect a higher level of service that will match the (possibly painful) price you’re paying.
Keep these expectations in mind as you’re looking to step up your service game. And imagine this: how do you think your customers would respond if they came into your print shop or to your website expecting fast-food-like service, but left feeling like they’d hired a personal print marketing consultant?
2. Your Service Should Provide Security and Empathy
Did you know that 51% of people who have had a bad customer service experience claim they’ll never do business with that company again?
While customer experience becomes a bigger and bigger battleground, remember that you have two, not-so-secret weapons at your disposal that can make all the difference.
Your first line of defense comes in providing an overwhelming sense of security to your print buyers.
As recent events have shown all of us, none of us like uncertainty. So, remember, just as you wouldn’t buy a Rolex® from a guy on the street selling it out of his trench coat, your print buyers need to know without a shadow of a doubt that they’re safe and secure in doing business with you.
What does security look like to a consumer? Here are a few things to note:
- Use a Security Certificate, also known as an SSL Certificate, on your website so they know their information and payment process is safe and secure.
- Offer choices. No one likes to feel backed into a corner, so have options available for everything from paper choices to payment options to different ways to place an order.
- Show proof of quality. Print a sample kit you can mail out or offer case studies that highlight real-life success stories.
- Communicate that your print buyer’s peace of mind is important to you and a top priority. Sometimes all it takes to create security is a message from someone saying they’re in your corner and fighting for you.
Have you ever been tossed from one customer service rep to another in search of help? When you finally did find someone who could help, did you find yourself thinking, “Finally, someone who gets me!”
Empathy is another critical line of defense in the customer service arena, and as customer experience authority Don Peppers says,
“Empathy is the ultimate form of customer insight.”
Print buyers need to feel that your company genuinely understands their needs and cares about them. While empathy isn’t necessarily natural, there is no secret sauce to it. Empathy is built through little things, such as:
- Validating your customers’ concerns. Remember, whether you can resolve an issue or not, everyone wants to be validated.
- Listening to understand where they’re coming from. This doesn’t mean planning a (defensive) response. It means genuinely listening, so you can put yourself in their shoes and see where they’re coming from. (Added bonus: you’ll make better-informed decisions by practicing this as well.)
- Offering a friendly smile and showing interest in their day. If you can’t do this face to face, do it by phone or a sincere email.
One of the easiest ways to grasp the concept of empathy is to remember this: If your print buyer has a problem, make it your problem.
3. Your Service Should Always Include Guidance
Lastly, excellent customer service provides the right information at the right time to guide your print buyer through every step of their buying journey.
Offer guidance, informed purchasing, and have the answers to their questions readily available. Here’s an example of a buyer’s journey that is packed with information and guidance:
- Bring awareness and connection through social media content and consistent direct mail campaigns.
- Delight prospects through educational white paper content.
- Answer questions as they’re considering your company through your website’s Help Center, blogs, email newsletters, and more.
- Then, when prospects are ready to order, ensure your website has online ordering capabilities to easily guide them from initial idea to design to ordering to delivery.
How is your business meeting the service needs of your print buyers? Think through that this week and consider additional ways you can provide service that goes above and beyond and sets you apart from your competition.