When faced with the question above, your instant answer is likely to be that both are of equal importance. But when applying this in reality, you are going to come down in favour of one or the other. And even if you aren’t prepared to compromise in either area, finding a company that can deliver both can prove something of a challenge.
Thinking about this piece, I questioned where I as a consumer pay for something that is good on price and on service – very few examples sprang to mind. I could, however, think of instances where I have paid more for a service (more at least than I intended to), only to receive (happily) a higher level of service than I anticipated.
Flights are a case point; I’ve learnt that paying a premium for an airline service that is reliable, flexible, convenient and friendly adds up to money well spent.
In another example, a friend of mine recently told me of his own price vs service battle. Despite spending hours planning a tailor-made training course for a prospective client, the client focused only on the price, not the customisation or level of service that would be delivered, continually trying to negotiate a lower price before informing them he was going with a cheaper alternative. Ultimately he got what he paid for, an ill-prepared, under resourced team scraping together a handful of materials that anyone could have found on the Internet.
This is a common occurrence across most industries, and we in the print sector are not immune to it either. People look at the total cost of a job, but don’t see the real value behind it – the communication, the resources, the time and the materials that go into the finished article.
Most of you in the printing sector will also have faced competition from rival companies that are pricing themselves at lower rates than yourselves, with clients saying that since it’s only a small job they are going to go with the cheaper option. Obviously they don’t realise that even the simplest of jobs can go wrong. And of course when it does go wrong, the cheaper printer – all too consumed by price themselves – will be quick to deny responsibility and say that any reprinting will be at the client’s expense. And it’s scenarios like this that really underpin the importance of service in our industry.
So what is classed as great service in the printing industry? I’ve always held the belief that great service is built on relationships and communication. And having recently joined a new company, Callprint, I’ve been reminded of how best to achieve this.
Callprint have a refreshing approach to customer service, they believe that good service and positive relationships are the keys to building brand loyalty. They advocate meeting clients face to face and on a regular basis, engaging with them, understanding their business – not only does this help to foster a strong relationship, but it also builds trust, and the more you understand their business, and they in turn yours, the more opportunities you are likely to discover to work together.
And yes, of course, price is important for Callprint. But they recognise that building a business around high quality solutions and great customer service will yield results that are longer-lasting and of greater value than those of cheaper alternatives. Price vs service? We’d choose service every time.