February '23

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9 2 G R A P H I C S P R O • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M B U S I N E S S S T R A T E G I E S might want to stop reading at this point as that is not only bad customer service, but I doubt you will be able to stay in busi- ness very long if that is how you treat all of your customers. I hope those choices were added as a joke, but if it is fun to print XXXXS shirts or you want to charge your customer even more before provid- ing a lousy product, my take on customer service is not for you. Essentially, customer service boils down to setting expectations upfront and then delivering on those expectations. It is not about bending over backwards for every- one who has a dollar in their wallet, as that is not sustainable and will lead to future bad customer service. Setting expecta- tions has to be abundantly clear to the customers about what you need precisely. e point should not only be clear to you. Remember, you are the expert, and you live this daily. e customers are paying you because you are the authority. In the poll example, the customer needed to be clearer about expectations. Maybe they need help understanding what 72 DPI means. You have colleagues in this indus- try that do just fine for themselves, yet they don't accurately understand what 72 DPI means. Many businesses make the next choice of doing it for them, thinking this is extra value for the customer. Just doing it for them to save time is a bad idea in my book because you have now reset the expectations. e customer now expects you to take care of it every time. Even if you tell them, "I'll take care of it this time only." Until they fully understand what you need and why they will expect you to bail them out. As I said, this is not sustain- able. You will become resentful towards your customers, passive aggressiveness will set in, and you will start printing their orders on XXXXS shirts. Before you take the order, it is up to you to clearly set the expectations. It might be in the form of a conversation in the quot- ing process about what is needed. at might be in the form of clear policies and procedures they can find. If you have to make your policies and procedures fine print because you are worried that cus- tomers won't do business with you, then it is time to revisit them. Your policies and procedures should be drafted to indi- cate to the customers that they are made to improve their experience. For exam- ple, "We need high-quality artwork to deliver the best quality end product to you. erefore, we cannot accept 72 DPI files." What other frustrations do you have when dealing with your customers? I can safely say that you are either not clearly setting expectations in that area or attracting the wrong types of customers who will never understand the expecta- tion, to begin with. Finally, once you take the order, then the expectations switch onto you. e switch of expectations landing on you is where the phrase "the customer is always right" comes from. Now you have their money, and how they perceived the expectations of them and their own expectations of the finished product take over. Customer ser- vice heroes jump in and start educating. You could even jump in at this point and do it for them, but only do it while also educating them. You might think mov- ing forward is faster and easier, but this is never the case. We can't see the future, but from my experience, the customer will never go out and educate themselves. ey are coming to you to get your expertise, so they expect that education from you. So, what does 72 DPI really mean? What are the options if that is the only file they have available? ey could go back to the original designer and see about some new files if it is a logo. Do you have a designer you can refer to? If you find that you are doing a lot of educating on the same topic over and over, then use that opportunity to educate bet- ter before you ever take the order. Create a video, write a blog post, or update your customer policy. Customer service is all about setting and achieving expectations. I'd love to hear from you about what you will change to help meet your customer's expectations and deliver better customer service. GP Essentially, customer service boils down to setting expectations upfront and then delivering on those expectations.

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