How printers can increase customer loyalty by messing up a job

Posted by Matthew Parker

Recently, I was really disappointed and frustrated. I had taken my wife out for a special meal. We had chosen a restaurant that was supposed to be excellent. But it failed to live up to its reputation.

We ended up sending back the main course not once, but twice. The waiting staff seemed hurried and uncaring. We left unhappy, even though we were not charged for our main courses.

The next day I sent an e-mail of complaint to the restaurant. As a result of that e-mail they converted me from an unhappy client to a loyal and regular customer.

The restaurant came back with a detailed apology. They told us what they had reviewed as a result of the e-mail. They also offered us a complete free meal, any time we wanted. We took them up on their offer and were treated to an excellent evening. The restaurant didn’t just restore our faith in it: we now told everyone about our good experience.

There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Messing up is a great way to build customer confidence

If you're customer is acting like this you have a great opportunity to turn them into a client who loves you

If you’re customer is acting like this you have a great opportunity to turn them into a client who loves you

This may sound like a stupid statement. However, if a printer can go above and beyond the call of duty to put things right the customer will love them.

Printers who put things completely right can build very solid customer relationships. They can achieve further sales from their mistakes. They may even get customers who go out and spread the word about them.

Printers who do the minimum to put things right are in a very different position. They certainly won’t achieve good customer relationships. So their customers will have no loyalty. There will be no control over the sales pipeline. These printers will struggle to achieve their sales targets, especially in today’s business climate.

But why is putting things right like this so powerful? Here are three reasons.

Putting things completely right makes the customer feel valued

When the restaurant sent me their e-mail I felt that they really cared about me as a customer. True they had messed up, but now they wanted to put things right. They valued their relationship with me.

But it’s not just about caring. It’s about trust as well.

Putting things completely right creates confidence

If a company is prepared to put things right it creates confidence in two ways. Firstly, it shows that they have confidence in their ability to provide what the customer requires.

But it means that the customer can have confidence that they will receive what they ordered. And that they can have confidence in the right level of service for the future.

If a printer really goes above and beyond what they need to do then there is another benefit too.

Putting things completely right creates goodwill

When the restaurant compensated my wife and I so generously we told everyone about our experience. And we told everyone about the second excellent evening that we had their. Equally, I have always recommended print companies who have gone the extra mile to put things right.

So those companies that have made errors and put them right have actually gained recommendations from buyers. Naturally, some people may be sceptical about this.

Surely most buyers just drop printers if they make an error

In reality, I have found that many buyers do not think like this. I have seen that those buyers who apply the “one mistake and you’re out” rule are often not worth dealing with. They will often find other ways to avoid working with printers (or to avoid paying their bills).

However, it does depend on the print company putting everything right swiftly and thoroughly. And there is another thing that the print company must avoid as well.

Don’t make a second mistake

A first error is acceptable. After all, things do go wrong in printing. However, if a print company made more errors I would have to questions whether they were capable of performing at the levels that I needed.

So be aware of the benefits of going the extra mile to put things right if you make errors. It can result in customers feeling valued, having confidence in you and telling others about what a good company you are.

But how do you go the extra mile to put things completely right? I’ll cover this in my next article.

Remember that print is an industry that relies on service

Just like restaurants, you want to make your customers feel great.
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