How customer feedback improves print company sales

Posted by Matthew Parker

Do you like free lunches?

I have a friend who gets free sandwiches at least once a week.  She also gets drinks and cakes for nothing.

Does this sound too good to be true?

Actually, my friend is a mystery shopper for a chain of sandwich shops.  She gets free lunches.  And they get feedback on exactly how their shops are operating.

Customer feedback is vital for print companies too

Print company feedback form

Customer feedback is an important way for print companies to increase their sales

Printers who use customer feedback create stronger partnerships with their clients.  They understand what customers like about their companies.  And what they need to change.  So they are in control of their sales pipeline.  And they achieve their sales targets.

Printers who don’t worry about customer feedback are more likely to struggle with their sales targets.  They set their company strategy without consulting their customers.  So it is much more difficult for them to create strong client partnerships.

Here are three ways to get the feedback to create those strong partnerships:

1)   Use a questionnaire to get customer feedback

These days it is quick and easy to set up a web-based questionnaire.  In fact, you can create a basic questionnaire for free at www.surveymonkey.com.  To get the best results you should make it worthwhile for your customers to respond.  The best way to achieve this is to enter respondents into a draw for a prize.

But even if they are keen to win a prize, people don’t always give the best responses to questionnaires.  The format of the questions limits them to what they can say.  And you don’t understand why they are giving you the answers they do.

So it’s often better to pick up the phone.

2)   Ring your customers and hear exactly what they have to say

Ringing up customers gives you real feedback.  The customer can tell you exactly what they like and don’t like about your company.  And, most importantly, they can tell you why they are giving you that feedback.  And why these issues matter to them.

Ringing up the customer has other advantages too.  Firstly, the customer feels that you value them personally.  It builds up a stronger relationship.  They also feel they have had direct input into your company strategy.  They feel more involved with you and your company.  And therefore they are likely to use you more.  And, finally, good customer feedback can make great sales copy.

To get the best feedback, it is best to send an e-mail to your customer first.  This explains to them what you are doing and why.  And it allows you to set a time for a call which suits both parties.  After all, you want them to have enough time to talk to you in detail.

So phoning your customers is a great way to get feedback.  But sometimes it is still not enough.  Sometimes the customers tell you what they think they want you to hear.  And sometimes they don’t know enough about print.  So they can’t give detailed feedback on what they think about your factory.

Sometimes you need feedback from an independent expert.

3)   Use an industry mystery shopper

A mystery shopping exercise can give you a lot of valuable feedback.  It is done by an expert who can compare your company against similar ones.  They will give you a very detailed report on exactly what works well at the company.  And they will give you a list of recommendations on what you can do to improve.

A mystery shopper has no agenda.  Sometimes a client gives you feedback because it will suit their business.  But that doesn’t mean it’s the right feedback for your company.  A mystery shopper is focussed only on your company.

Here’s how mystery shopping worked for one print company

I was asked by a printer to evaluate how they managed the first approach by customers.  I rang them up with job details.  Then I sent them an evaluation form.  And then I visited the factory.

All these processes gave the company and I a very detailed insight into how they operated.  It turned out that many of their staff were much more customer focussed than they had thought.  But the company had one big problem.

It was actually quite hard to get to speak to a salesperson.  So all the good things that the company had to offer were potentially going to waste.  All because the phone system wasn’t set up as efficiently as it might be.

That one recommendation alone will improve the company’s conversion rate of prospects significantly.  But they also have a list of items that will improve the customer experience further.  Most of them are easy and cheap to put into place.

Of course the company could have raised an objection to my report.

What happens if you don’t agree with the feedback?

Sometimes feedback can be completely different to how you think your company should be developed.  But the biggest mistake a company can make can be not to listen to its customers.  If your customers aren’t on board with you, then it is difficult to run a successful business.

Here are three ways to make sure your customers are on board with you

  1. Ring up a customer – ask them what they like about your company.  And ask them what they would change.
  2. Discuss this feedback with your colleagues.  Create a list of action points from it.
  3. Consider going for independent feedback.  Find out more about our print company evaluation services.

You’ll discover lots of useful information about your company.  And you’ll discover some great ways to improve how you operate.

Make sure you make the most of customer feedback

You can even get them to rate the sandwich you give them!

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P.S.  If you want more ideas on how to improve your company then you should subscribe to the Profitable Print Relationships newsletter.  You’ll also receive our free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them”.  So sign up right now at http://profitableprintrelationships.com/e-book/

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3 Responses to How customer feedback improves print company sales

  • Lukman Adham says:

    It really interesting info,.. I would like to learn more.. Thank you.

  • Lukman Adham says:

    I agree with the sistem using direck contact instead make a questioner. More closely to the customer more better. Some customer more appreciate to have a face to face communication. In addition, if we take care more serius with customer, they will never run away, same as some motto,” if you not take care ur customer somebody else will”. Also more information you will have.

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Thank you for your comments Luke. And we should all remember that someone else is ready to look after our customers.

      Matthew

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