According to a study by NewVoiceMedia, businesses in the U.S. lose $62 billion a year due to poor customer service. If your print company has lost business because of customer-service issues, here are some print shop customer-service tips to consider:
Recognize that customer expectations have changed. Good customer service is no longer enough. If your service doesn’t match the type of customer service your competitors provide, clients may perceive your customer service as flawed. So even if your customer service isn’t actually “poor,” it might not live up to the high expectations of today’s print buyers.
Provide information and tools to help customers get the answers they need. Today, many customers only contact a customer-service rep if they can’t find the answers they need themselves. For example, many customers like using self-help tools such as tracking numbers to see when an online order will be delivered.
If you publish self-help content on your website, keep it up to date. Consider posting video content to help make the instructional messages crystal clear.
Provide continuous training to everyone on your staff. Be clear in your expectations. Coach employees on how to communicate diplomatically with unhappy customers. Sometimes, slightly different word choices can a huge difference in how the customer perceives the message.
When new members of your customer-service team understand that continuous learning is part of the job, they will feel less defensive if you try to coach them to use a different approach
Although customer-service reps should receive most of the training, every person on your staff should receive some customer-service training. Remind employees that every interaction with a customer can affect that person’s perception of “customer service.”
Focus on first and final impressions. What type of actions does your shop take when a customer submits a job and when the job is delivered and invoiced? Make sure to thank your customers for their business and encourage them to provide feedback.
Emphasize empathy. Today, every employee’s performance is being measured by the results they deliver. Many marketing, agency, and retailing employees are under a lot of pressure to deliver high-impact results with limited budgets. So, they expect print-service providers to help relieve the stress of their jobs —not add to it. When customers seem grumpy or short-tempered, urge employees not to take it personally.
Encourage continuous learning and idea sharing. Each customer has different challenges, communication styles, and preferences. If one employee discovers a specific way to earn praise from a client, encourage that staff member to share the information with other customer-service reps. It’s ideal when employee in your shop can communicate with each client in a personalized, and consistent manner.
Make full use of automated tools. Show customers how easy it can be to find the status of job orders themselves. Use automated emails to thank them for their business and provide feedback. Send automated customer satisfaction surveys after each job. The survey results can help you make improvements and identify customers who might be willing to give your firm testimonials or referrals.
Use your customer relationship management system to maintain meticulous notes about mistakes and how they were solved. For example, if your team had to resolve a color-management issue for a specific customer, don’t repeat that mistake on the next job.
Be proactive. The printing companies that get the highest marks for customer service are those that anticipate and resolve problems before the customer has a chance to complain. When a customer is “wowed” by your customer service, they will be less likely to switch to another print shop, even one that offers lower prices.
Make it a priority. Customer retention depends on excellent service. When you lose a steady customer because of inferior customer service, it might cost six times as much to acquire a similar new customer. Companies that offer remarkable customer service retain good customers and attract new business from favorable word-of-mouth referrals.
Every print shop claims to offer outstanding customer service. But those claims aren’t credible if your customers don’t believe they are actually getting superior customer service. Your actions speak much louder than words.
A well executed, simple-to-use print-shop management program can help you manage all of the details that support exceptional customer service. Plus, your customers can be immediately alerted when proofs are ready for approval or be notified about the status of their jobs in progress. With Ordant’s order-management system, jobs can easily be rescheduled if one of your best customers needs a faster turnaround. And, if some jobs are going to be delayed, your customer service reps can immediately call the affected customers to let them know. For a demonstration of Ordant, visit www.ordant.com