American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.
Sep 1, 2010 12:00 AM
Response rates always are on the minds of business executives when thinking of gathering feedback from customers. You don't want to annoy your customers or tick them off by surveying them. How many of us have received that dreaded phone call? We try to be polite, but it can be an annoyance. How many of us got those census calls over the past year? I had to block the 877 number that just kept coming at me, almost daily. They called me even after I filled out the darn census survey and mailed it in! We have all received e-mails from suppliers asking us to click a survey and give feedback. Many times we just delete the message. Ah, but printers have it good.
Printers have a solid business-to-business relationship with their customers, who spend relatively big dollars with them. They rely on you. You are an extension of their marketing department. If you do a good job, they succeed. You make them look like either a hero or an idiot. Many times you make or break a campaign and are an integral part of its success. This is why you experience more candid feedback and higher response rates. You have no need to put an incentive in the survey. Your customers desire to give feedback.
Why wouldn't a business ask for feedback if its customers want to give feedback and are willing to candidly explain what you can do to serve them better? With the printing industry becoming more and more competitive as the industry shrinks, you might want to think about surveying customers to keep the lines of communication open and stay connected in just one more way.
Among all the industries in which we work, printers receive high response rates. Printers have the advantage to retain customers and jobs, and to generate more selling opportunities and referrals by implementing a survey process. Many business models don't have that luxury. Valet parking facilities are lucky to get 5% response rates, but printers are consistently over 25%, with some over 50%.
Michael Casey is president and founder of Survey Advantage. He is a strategic partner with NAPL supporting its consulting and research practices, he integrates project surveying with MIS systems and he is an approved supplier for several franchise networks.