June '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 2 9 listen to gather the necessary information to walk them through the process. Along with questions like, do you have a digital version of your logo, how much coverage are you imagining, do you have a budget in mind, what do you hope to achieve with this advertising, we also gather photos and measurements of the vehicle itself. Gathering information and listening to the customer's needs is one of the most im- portant parts of sales, and how they decide if they want to work with your company. We recently removed graphics on two of a customer's vehicles and re-lettered one of them (the other was being sold). The customer drove 45 minutes to our loca- tion instead of using the sign shop right in their town. As she explained, he didn't listen to her, acted like she was disturb- ing him, and was generally rude. At no point was price part of the equation, just his attitude and lack of customer service. PRICE This brings up another point. If your cus- tomer service is solid, then pricing is not a priority. Now, let me add a caveat to this. You, of course, can't and shouldn't charge outrageous prices and expect to get them just because you're a super nice per- son with excellent communication skills. A customer who feels confident in your work and knows that working with your company will make their life easier will often consider pricing a secondary factor. And frankly, those are the kinds of cus- tomers you want. We're not the cheapest sign shop in town, nor are we the most expensive. To me, this means we're right where we need to be. If we were always concerned with being the cheapest, we would constantly be working on getting customers at rock bottom prices. These kinds of customers aren't usually loyal, they're just looking for cheap. I want cus- tomers that appreciate our service, quality materials, and top-notch workmanship. As I mentioned, a considerable portion of our customer base is repeat business. Most of these companies no longer ask us for a price each time they place a new order. After years of taking care of them, they know that our pricing is reasonable, and if there are any price adjustments, we'll let them know ahead of time. CONSISTENCY In our industry, consistency is a big part of customer service. Initially, we think of customer service as that first phone call or talk at the front counter, but excellent customer service bleeds into every step. We try to make the process as easy as possible for our customers. They're busy, and getting their vehicle lettered or get- ting a sign produced is probably just one of many things they need to take care of. By keeping excellent records of the cus- tomer's job, we can streamline the process for them on reorders. Precise notetaking of measurements of installed graphics on vehicles, recording the vinyl colors or Pantone colors used, keeping all artwork on file and cataloged for easy finding, and filing paperwork and sample prints with their paperwork en- sure consistent reorders. When a customer parks their vehicles next to one another in the yard, they want to see matching colors and consistent placement. We recently earned a new customer with our customer service. He had been get- ting his vehicle graphics for his compa- ny from another supplier, but every or- der would have a different green color. He provided digital artwork, and using our color charts, we worked with him to pick out the green he wanted to use on all fu- ture jobs. We noted colors and decal sizes in his file and attached a small sample print to his paperwork. In the future, we'll be able to match his graphics, so from now on, there are no surprises. GP CHARITY JACKSON is co-owner of Visual Horizons Custom Signs based in Modesto, California. She has been in business since 1995, and has worked in the sign industry for over 25 years. You can visit her website at Visit these companies in the exhibit hall for additional training opportunities in person! To view the full class schedule, visit: INDIANAPOLIS, IN June 15-17, 2021 (classes start June 14) TRAINING STOP pms 285 Black white Featuring

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