By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc. – 07/06/2023 Published in American Printer
“Educating your Customers… starts with relentlessly 1st educating your personnel”…………………Anonymous
Who does your Buyer call… first….?
It’s not the department of the supplier - that’s not allowed to take interrupting calls from customers.
It’s not the department of the supplier…that doesn’t know many answers, or how and where to go - for answers.
It’s not the department of the supplier that gives the impression they don’t have time to be bothered… about anything other than processing an order.
It’s not the company whose telephone and voicemail systems…just don’t work correctly…or reliably. (When was the last time you tested your phone and voicemail system – after hours…or on a holiday….?)
Your customers know they’re not of primary importance by what they – and your personnel….experience….!
I’ve heard – and read - that primary school teachers – and nurses – make terrific CSR’s….not for their innate knowledge about printing….but because of their combined capacity for empathy… intelligence…and integrity- to do things the right way… promptly.
However, we lose customers…too often…quietly.
Six to twelve months - or more - after they’ve gone elsewhere, someone up the ladder finally sees the drop-off in revenues, and asks, “What happened to Ms. Smith?”
Rational reasons Ms. Smith does want to pay your price?
We conducted a Periodic Business Review (a.k.a. PBR’s) at least once a year, and always found new ways to improve: (a) our service, (b) our communications, (c) our consistency of product quality, and (d) our ease of doing business. (Note: This required exercise led to our being introduced to two other divisions of one customer.)
We helped our customers find new suppliers, that they desperately needed, repeatedly…. Over time, they learned to call us - first.
We helped their Art Dept. more correctly use their new software.
Our electronic storage systems allowed them to not be in jeopardy of losing valuable files when one of their designers might leave. (Note: We now send them a list of their files we store – every six months.)
We were able to clean-up their computer files, regularly, which increased the speed of their computers, and improved their defenses against hackers.
Our review of their mailing lists and response profiles increased their ROI on all their Direct Mail marketing initiatives.
We taught their marketing dept. how to use (and cross-reference) “public databases” for better targeting of prospects.
Several customers have attended our Trade Shows with us, taken many notes, and improved their development of new customer markets, and new customers.
We shared our approach to “Systems Thinking,” with several major customers …and it’s now become a regular part of their “Quarterly Department Performance Improvement Reviews.”
When we ask for Referrals, they often respond with not just names, but with personal introductions. This one initiative improves our mutual importance to each other, including their value to us…!
This business can be far more about Value - than “low price wins.”
What is your organization recognized for…? What does your organization communicate….? What’s the message…?
“If you think you can’t afford ongoing education & training for your organization, you probably don’t realize you are already paying for it”…….Allie Hutchison, Sr., Hutchison Allgood Printing Co.