Most printing companies are struggling. It’s not because of the sad state of our industry. They’re struggling because they’ve done a terrible job of doing business with their customers.
Even long-time customers aren’t really happy with their printers. They’re just not unhappy enough to drop a printer, because a better alternative hasn’t shown up – yet.
The process of dealing with most printers is painful for customers. Everything about handling an order is too difficult and too slow – and makes customers vaguely nervous. Customers wonder – “what’s all the mystery?“
The fact is, most printers regard getting a job out on time, printed correctly as cause for a minor celebration. They seem to be saying “Yayyy! We did it!” – as if it were a surprise.
Printers do a decent job of printing, but a horrible job of making it feel easy (or safe). Customers have a sense that printers aren’t in control of their own processes. So they squirm, they worry and they call. They only relax when the job is delivered.
Customers want something more. They want printers to make the process feel easy and safe.
A while ago, printing presented real technical challenges. Printing quality was the thing that made printers special, and management’s attention was almost entirely focused on the printing process itself.
Technology has eliminated most of printing’s technical challenges, but printers haven’t changed their interactions with customers to suit the modern world. They convince themselves that customers ought to be happy getting their jobs produced correctly, and hide behind silly sayings like “every job is different.” They ask: “Why can’t customers just leave it to us? If they’d just stop bothering us, we’ll get it done.”
But customers have gotten spoiled by all the other businesses they deal with – and those businesses see things differently. They’ve all organized to make the entire transaction easy and anxiety-free!
All the companies you enjoy doing business with make the process easy for you. If you place an order, you feel good about it from beginning to end. You don’t feel any anxiety at any point in the process.
Your customers have easy ordering experiences throughout their personal and business lives. Why should they want their printers to perform at a lower standard? Do you think that telling them “printing is difficult” will get you their sympathy?
Whether you’re speaking of plain old printing or about added-value services, the thought process is the same. You need to make customers happy to be doing business with you.
Isn’t it time for you to provide the kind of service customers get everywhere else in their business and personal lives?
Isn’t it time for printers to catch up with the rest of the world?