By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!
It’s critical for us in Wide-Format Printing to double down now on the things that can help our customers stay informed and updated. The two sources of certainty, meaning the most to customers, is direct and frequent communication. Do your inside and outside sales staff serve as the voice of reality for your company? If not, why not?
Customers need to rely on us for honesty and stability – and not get sucked up in the information vacuum. A scheduled, weekly one-on-one conversation is the most powerful tool we can utilize to keep customers looped-in by relaying a commitment to helping them in any way possible.
The Future of Wide-Format Printing:
More and more Wide-Format Printing companies are producing products, not just projects. Is this a good or a lousy transformation? It is good – in so many ways!
Typically, Wide-Format has been a project-by-project basis run entity. While this is excellent, with the onset of the pandemic, we realize we have more to offer our clients than before (the COVID-19 Push). The demand for critical collaboration has never been more prevalent in our industry than it is today!
What will the new-normal look like for Wide-Format Printing?
In my opinion, very different – and it should be!
We now welcome new applications and processes that exceed our customer’s expectations. Inherently, we have become innovators, inventors, and better communicators. We have the conviction to add new product-lines, now understanding the development, processes, procedures, employee buy-in, equipment capabilities, employee’s (unknown) expertise, marketing skills, web-development, collaboration, and best of all – confidence!
Exciting: Here are key improvements accomplished - daily!
- Creating websites for specific product items (with a unique URL)
- Upgrading and updating websites
- Consideration of new equipment to meet the needs of expanded business opportunities
- Collaboration with new vendors for added raw goods line-up
- Increase in Direct Marketing events
- CEO, President & Owners Blogs routinely posted
- Product demonstration videos
- Supplied production templates for customer’s design teams
- Out-Source sublimation products (if not already in-house capabilities)
- Print-on-Demand customization utilization
- Design and production of interior packaging and exterior carton work
- Productive Zoom conferences with staff, customers and vendors
- Allowing employees to work from home while still engaging with day-to-day operations
- More attention to Lean Manufacturing
- Inside Sales relentlessly calling on customers and new prospects
- Printing Companies lack of self-promotion is now a top priority
- Realignment of staff and duties
- Strategic e-mail blasts with substantive information
- Videos and photos of Project(s)/Product(s) forwarded to clients for engagement
- Better collaboration with clients due to their new COVID-19 requirements
- R&D has improved to meet client demands better
- The Invention of new products that solve problems (even securing patents)
- A renewed commitment from staff members and leaders
- Experiencing hidden talent(s) of employees – everyone needs a chance to shine!
- Innovation is continuing to grow in our industry every day!
Conclusion: (Can you say?)
We, as a Company, are better today than we were yesterday. Why, because we are making valuable changes and pivoting like never before.
--- Were we forced into making these organizational changes? You bet we were!
--- Are we better for it? You bet we are!
--- So, who is the Force now? WE ARE!
Call your customers again; ask them, “How Can I Help!”
Remember, be an Order Maker, not an Order Taker!