Too many online order entry tools are discounted because the printer fails to see the value from their customer’s perspective. Don’t let your competitors use your customer experience to replace you.
One of the biggest barriers to the implementation and adoption of order entry tools (web-to-print) in the print industry is our inability to understand and appreciate the benefits of these tools to our customers. Second to that is our insistence that every tool that benefits the customer must deliver something that makes the printer’s life easier. That’s why we have web-to-print tools that have more features for the pre-press department than they do for the print buyer!
This is keeping our industry from evolving in what I feel is one of the most important areas – make print easier to buy. Everything about our online world is about “easier” remove all the friction between you and your customer’s budget dollars. Ecommerce companies spend millions to remove every possible barrier between you and your next transaction. Meanwhile, I still see print customer service departments holding onto email, phone, and fax like their lives depend on it. Email, phone, and fax are respectfully innovations of yesterday. They were revolutionary when they came out, now they are simply a nuisance.
When I hear the common refrain, we email this, we email that, we then confirm by phone – all I hear is the ticking clock of the most precious thing you spend – your customer’s time. When you don’t respect the customer’s time, you are at risk of being replaced by someone who values it.
Have you ever met a customer who had too much time on their hands? I didn’t think so.
If you take 4-8 emails to come to agreement on an order, you are chewing through the customer’s time – not to mention that you’re also chewing through your people’s time as well. Scaling an operation like this results in one thing; more people, more mistakes, more management, less profits.
Web-to-print, online ordering, self-service online access of anything you do with your customers is not a tool for you. So many great tools for making print ordering easier never make it past a printer’s analysis “what’s in this for me?” Or the more common refrain; “I know my customers and they would never want to use this.” Really? Are you sure? I bet I could persuade you to change your mind about that. How about if I take this new/better way to communicate and go to your customer with a competitor – explaining in detail how much time you are wasting managing email communication? How about that? Feel a little different about making that bold statement – my customers don’t want this? I thought so.
You are at risk if you’re chewing through the customer’s time. You are at risk if you’re not thinking about how to make doing business with you easier on the customer.
A great tool to allow customers to do more and more on their own when its convenient for them gets evaluated against – then I won’t have the chance to upsell them! Maybe one of the reasons they want to do it themselves is that it is annoying to constantly get upsold. Maybe self-service online ordering is a way to avoid having someone waste their precious time.
Recently, we were asked to solve a complex proofing problem on behalf of a printer. This customer did what was necessary to make this challenge a priority for the printer. They cancelled their business with the printer and then would not come back until there was a better proofing experience. This is an excellent way for a customer to get the printer’s attention! Even with this mandate, we often have to remind our customer (the printer) that this solution is for their customer. The customer’s ease of use is the highest priority – even if it makes the printer’s job temporarily a little bit harder.
My customers won’t use this? Is this the real answer or is it more like, I don’t to change? I don’t want to introduce change to my customer. I’m comfortable with our current processes. My customer hasn’t asked me for this? Did you ask Apple to invent a phone that is also a computer? Did you ask Amazon to create the largest inventory of stuff in the world and then deliver it free to your doorstep? Did you ask Google to create an internet search engine that returns your results in fractions of a second? Nope. Your customers aren’t going to ask you to create a better ordering experience, your competitors are going to show them one.