Your business reflects your principles. They are part of your brand – the basis of how you interact with your customers and your community. Putting a spirit of generosity in the way you work will always in the end bring benefits to you, your customer, and your bottom line.
Now generosity doesn’t have to mean giving away the farm with some wacky doorbuster special. It means finding ways to show appreciation for each customer – value-added services and perks that can range from something as low-cost as friendly customer service at every contact, all the way to valued gifts and rewards. Your budget and resources will determine what level you can invest in, but the point is to act on a generosity of spirit regardless of the economics.
At ImageSmith, we have sought ways we can show consideration for our customers above and beyond providing quality services on schedule.
- Friendly, helpful customer service – when you put yourself in the customer’s place, you can see many ways to provide information and guidance to meet their specfic needs, rather than just direct them in a way that will profit your business. Dealing with them while keeping their schedule and priorities in mind will go far in creating good will.
- More than expected – seek to give your customers more than they expect. Often for us, as printers, this can mean packaging a few extras from a print run for delivery – pieces that might have just been thrown out as extras can be given free of charge as a way to say “thanks.” When we are embroidering items and have an extra, we include it with the customer’s order as a nice surprise and a way of saying “thank you for your business.”
- Advertising that is also beneficial to our customers – this means promotional products. The exposure and advertising we receive from our branded promotional products is married to the usefulness of the products themselves. Sports cups, bandage dispensers, t-shirts, office supplies… the variety of available promotional products is vast. Think about which ones best fit with your brand and enjoy the process of giving them out to your customers.
- Information & “paying it forward” – We live in an information age, and being generous with knowledge and expertise has a greater value than ever. I think there is often an old-school tendency to try to “guard” knowledge – when you have figured out a better way to accomplish a task, you don’t want your competitor to learn it and benefit from your struggle. But here again, being generous with your expertise builds good will, and, perhaps more importantly, establishes your authority and skillfulness in your field. To be a source people trust and turn to for information is a benefit to both them and you. As printers, we specialize in marketing and communication skills. We want our customers to turn to us a marketing consultant who has their best interests in mind.
Blogging is a great way to provide information to customers – and to receive feedback from them. Also, the world of social media allows you a powerful venue to help establish your principles in the minds of your customers. Use it to attract attention with helpful information. Being generous just makes good business sense.