Written by Ordant on September 6, 2017
Does your printing business need standalone customer-relationship management (CRM) software? If your business isn’t too big, probably not. A full-featured Print MIS program can also function as CRM for printers.
Big enterprises use dedicated CRM programs such as Salesforce to track and analyze all sales, marketing, and customer-service interactions with current and prospective customers. Keeping track of interactions matters when several employees are are working together to sell big-ticket products to a major client. Finalizing a sale can involve months of communications with multiple decision makers. Sales executives often use CRM data to track how close a potential customer might be to actually making a buying decision.
After the sale, everyone involved in serving that client can use CRM data to help retain the client. With detailed, up-to-date information about customer interactions, all sales, marketing, and customer-service personnel can deliver the personalized service each customer expects.
CRM Features in a Print MIS
If your printing business primarily serves small, local businesses, you probably don’t need all of the bells-and-whistles of dedicated CRM software. A well-organized, easy-to-use Print MIS program such as Ordant can give you all the customer data you need to build successful long-term relationships with your best clients.
For example, you can save and access information such as:
- The types of jobs you have quoted on for this customer in the past
- The types of jobs the customer has ordered from you in the past
- How long it has been since the customer last placed on order
- Why you lost certain jobs to competitors (pricing? service?)
- The Pantone colors used for the company’s logo
- The types of products customers order through your web-to-print module
You can keep a record of:
- Complaints and compliments you received on each job for this customer
- Problems such as late payments or demands to reprint the job
- Discounts that have been requested and/or granted
- How often the customer called to request information or changes
- Upcoming events such as a company’s 50th anniversary celebration or new store openings
- Which employees from the company have visited your facility
- Whether the customer cares more about price, quality, or turnaround time
- How each client prefers to learn about new services (email? phone? in-person sales calls?)
Keeping updated customer contact records also matters to the efficiency of your work.
You need to know:
- The person who placed the order
- The person authorized to approve the proof
- The person to contact if a problem arises during production
- The address to which the finished job should be delivered
- The person who should receive the invoice
As the volume of short run jobs your print shop handles rises, so will the number of people you will deal with. If you work with 3 or 4 people at each company, some employees will move in and out of key positions each year. Email addresses and phone numbers can change too.
Even with personnel changes, your clients will expect the same level of personalized service -- not just from salespeople or customer service reps, but also from production employees.
Analyzing and Using Your Print CRM Info
Eventually, you will use data from your Print MIS program to analyze which jobs were the most profitable and which jobs you were unprofitable. When you look through the customer interactions related to the unprofitable jobs, you may discover that some losses were incurred trying to appease difficult customers.
You may not want to sever all ties with a company that has the potential to bring you a lot of business. But if the customer data shows that a particular employee from that firm is super-demanding and critical, you might not want to actively pursue more business from that company until the employee is replaced by someone new.
CRM data can also support targeted marketing. If your CRM data shows that it’s been awhile since you have heard from certain customers, you can reach out to them with a friendly email or phone call. And you can offer special promotions to your most loyal customers.
The Advantage of a Cloud-Based System
With a cloud-based program such as Ordant, you can easily access data about your customer relationships on your smartphone or tablet wherever you happen to be. If you get a late-night call about an angry customer, you should have all of the job-related information you need to check what went wrong and get back to the customer with a solution. Even better, your best employees may be able to resolve many situations without even calling you.
When everyone involved in producing a job knows more about each customer, they can communicate in a way that makes every customer feel as if they are your most important customer. That type of personalized service can keep customers coming back for more.
To see how Ordant software enables you to manage customer relationships along with estimating and order management, visit ordant.com and schedule a demonstration.