In this issue we focus on standards. Jason Lisi explains the importance of standards in our industry to deliver what the customer needs. Sometimes businesses shy away from standards for fear of drowning in process. More and more however, clients are requesting that print providers be certified. This begs the question – do you wait to be asked or do you get in front of it? Another concern is the fear that standardization can make you too much like your competitor. Lisi explains why this is a myth.
If your procedures are standardized where do you find your competitive edge? Truthfully, if your processes aren’t lean, it’s likely that you’ve been struggling because print is a competitive industry. There is no more room for inefficient cost control. The most common complaint I hear is that printers are reluctant to take work off of their equipment to do press runs for standards. In the area of colour management for example, dedicated press runs to run patches are daunting. However, colour scientists are creating charts that can run alongside your work, and take up much less real estate. It’s coming.
I’d like to share with you another important factor to consider – you can have all the standards, but if your customer service isn’t top notch, all the work is for nothing. For example, I was doing a POD book order and looking for suppliers in the photo book sector. There are lots of options here, but service differs greatly. I was able to find companies that range in price by 200%. This price difference is reflected in their level of service. If you don’t already have a customer service email procedure you should consider it. In print it’s typical that each client has a CSR assigned to them, and this is whom they email if there are questions or concerns. It relies on the responsiveness of your employees. There are cloud software tools to help you standardize how complaints are received on your end. An example of this is Zendesk, which manages support tickets for a low monthly premium (which ranges anywhere from $5 to $199 per CSR depending on your needs). This is worth considering, especially as more of your clients are Millennials, who expect to be handled with care…immediately! There are many neat solutions in this area.
Enjoy the issue and happy summer!