The three feedback questions printers must ask their customers – do YOU use them?

Did you fear the end of term report at school?  I used to hate seeing what my school teachers had written about me!

One teacher always used to write “Could do better”.  The trouble was that he never told me how I could do better.  And I never learned, because I never asked the right questions.

If printers want to do better, they need to ask the right customer questions

Printers who embrace customer feedback will create stronger partnerships with their clients.  This is because they will understand what is a potential problem for their clients.  And they will fix it.  So this means that they will be more in control of their sales pipeline.  And they will achieve their sales targets.

Printing companies that do not embrace customer feedback won’t achieve their sales targets so easily.  They will be constantly wondering why they are losing their clients.  And they will be losing their clients because they don’t listen to them.

Here are the three questions that mean you will keep your clients:

Question 1:  What could we do better?
This question allows you to understand where the weak points are in your company.  You will find out what might drive customers away.  Of course, knowing this isn’t enough.  You also have to do something about it.  You might consider asking customers “How can we fix that?”

Focusing on what can be fixed in a company is important.  But it is also important to think about how your company can change.  And that’s where question 2 comes in.

Question 2:  What else would you like us to do?
The answers to this question can be very surprising.  Often customers will come up with ideas that you would never have thought of.  Many of these will be focussed around the extra services you can offer.  And it’s these ideas that will make customers stay with you.

If a customer wants design, or data work, you should be delighted.  They are going to want to stay much longer with a supplier who offers them more than the manufacture of print.

And understanding why customers stay is important.  Which is why I have included question 3.

Question 3:  Why do you use us?
This is a really important area to understand.  It will tell you what sets you apart from the competition.  And it will tell you exactly what you should be telling prospects about your company.  It creates great sales copy for you!

After these three questions you may have a whole load more.  And that’s great.

Remember:  these questions are just the start of a dialogue
These questions are a way of kick-starting a more involved conversation with the client.  And a more involved conversation leads to better information.

Of course, you’ll be using this information at management and strategy meetings.  And this sometimes provokes a question from print companies with whom I am discussing feedback.

Do you really want to base so much strategy on customer feedback?
The answer to this question is a resounding yes!  You wouldn’t be in business without customers.  So it is vital to understand what they want.  And to achieve this it is vital to listen to what they say.

The best way to see this is in real life situations.

Here are two examples of how customer feedback has worked for me
The first example is based on the “What could we do better question”.  I had arranged a printer for one of my clients.  The printer rang the client soon after starting work with them to ask this question.  It turned out that the client wanted more file copies.  The client had never actually specified this, but it was only through asking this question that the issue came to light.

As the client had not communicated their frustration it was fortunate that the printer asked for feedback.  It prevented a dissatisfied client.  And it stopped the possibility of the printer losing the client through a simple misunderstanding.

Feedback also helped me when planning my business
It helped me create a new product.  I am about to launch The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook.  But I have only invested the time writing it after having feedback from clients that it would be worth my while.

So feedback helps you stop making errors. And it helps you create new business ideas as well.

Remember the three questions you need to ask your customers
Set a time in your diary once a week to ring a customer.  Ring one every week, and ask them the questions:

Question 1:  What could we do better?
Question 2:  What else would you like us to do?
Question 3:  Why do you use us?

You’ll find the information invaluable.  And it’s something you’ll end up looking forward to.  Unlike the school report!

P.S.  If you’d like to learn more about moving away from selling on price you should sign up right now for the Profitable Print Relationships “Buyer’s Insights”.  You’ll receive regular tips about improving print sales from the buyer’s point of view and get your free copy of “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” (worth $29).

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2017-05-08T15:00:23+00:00

About the Author:

Matthew Parker
My name is Matthew Parker and I am the founding Director of Profitable Print Relationships. I have had over twenty years’ experience in the print sector. I have worked as a print specialist at many different companies of all sizes and from many market sectors. So I have experience in a variety of company cultures. I founded Profitable Print Relationships because I’ve seen so many printers struggling. Selling print becomes harder and harder every year. But it is much easier if you understand what goes on in the buyer’s mind. And I can give you that understanding. I also passionately believe that the print industry is a great industry

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