Good customer service is something we recognize primarily when we don’t get it. We’ve come to expect and value a good customer service experience, and we are upset when an encounter doesn’t meet our expectations. A bad experience can turn us off on a store or organization, while brands and salespeople who execute service excellence have a distinct competitive advantage.
Certainly, in a customer/provider relationship the onus of cultivating and maintaining a solid partnership lies with the provider. Like a marriage, this type of relationship also requires energy, input and collaboration on both sides. Barnett R. Brickner said, “Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” Being the “right mate” in a customer/provider relationship is important as well.
Communication is a big part of a successful experience. This is a relational business. There are increasingly more online opportunities to work with printers and even providers who will mail for you. Sometimes the prices are tempting but the risk is getting an end product that is not what is anticipated, or may not meet postal standards resulting in additional postage costs or being rejected for mail. Your provider has a wealth of knowledge and experience. You only need to tap into it.
Trust is paramount. Cultivate a strong relationship with your rep and their support team. Open lines of communication and be clear on expectations and consequences of expectations not being met. Create an environment that allows for real communication. When requesting pricing, indicate if your specifications are open to changes to save time or money or if the project needs to be quoted exactly as requested. Be clear about drop and delivery dates. This allows your rep the opportunity to schedule in advance and manage your expectations in terms of when files, data and other details are needed in order to meet expectations. If you are going to be late with some or all of a projects components, let your provider know! Have the conversation about whether it’s feasible to still meet deadlines and what can realistically be done.
Be clear about your expectations and be sure to communicate changes. Take or return calls from your provider promptly, especially when you have a project with them or one is scheduled to happen soon. The information they have may be important and require your input. Time may be a factor.
Put forth the effort to provide feedback on pricing, quality, timing and any issues that went well or perhaps not so well. Give the provider an opportunity to make things right if there is a problem, and give them kudos if for jobs well done. Expect resolution to any issues, but give enough information to allow the provider to know what will make the situation better.
If you are in a good relationship, you trust your provider, and they consistently meet or exceed expectations, tell someone. Help your partner grow their business. They will be grateful and you will have an even more committed relationship.
Once you’ve found a trusted and valued partner, like AM Solutions, make a commitment to sustaining and building a respectful partnership. It will provide long lasting and fruitful relationships.
*Article Written by: Sharon Lubkeman- Account Executive with AM Solutions