Editor’s corner – July 2016

As our industry advances, millennials have risen to power and printing companies have had to keep up with their expectations to survive. Speed, ease of use and “where’s the app for that?” seem to be the criteria to keep these customers happy. Today, excellent print quality and being a marketing services provider are expected. Soon, adding value with special finishing effects might also be standard. So how can printers cost-effectively differentiate themselves from their competition while earning and keeping new business?

Might I suggest actually making friends with customers and showing genuine interest in who they are and what they do? I’m not saying you should become buddies with everyone who walks into your shop. Just understand that speed and efficiency are, by their very nature, cold and impersonal. I’ve always believed that we’ll forgo a trip to a printer that’s cheaper, in favour of one where we’re treated as a friend and can share a laugh or two. Be honest: Don’t we ourselves choose companies that give us that feeling more often than not?

Check out a story on our www.graphicartsmag.com website under our “Marketing” banner at the top, titled “The power of old-school service: Four reasons your business should bring it back.” In this feature, author Joseph Michelli insists that mom-and-pop “retro” values are sorely missed. “You can provide customized, on-the-spot service and still make people feel like they just had an authentic, deeply personal experience,” he said. He points out that people don’t want to lose the perks of technology. But when we need to get on the phone with a person, or when we’re face to face, we want to know that we’re talking to a human being who has our interests at heart. Bottom line: This can be one service style that helps you stand out from your competition – without spending a dime!

I feel that many companies today have lost that human connection. If you don’t believe me, try this. Locate a company on the Internet and try to find their physical address and a direct phone line. (Good luck with that!). Oh, you can send them an e-mail or visit their Facebook page. But what about actually talking with someone who cares about your concerns? In my experience, it seems like these companies do NOT want to hear from you directly. And by encouraging online contact only, they want to get back to you when THEY feel like it. What do you think?

Until the next time, always remember that we’re here to help you.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.