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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched her new business in 2013 as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. Now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content.

You may know Margie as the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference. Although she’s exited the event production business, she’s still publishing her Print Tips newsletter. She looks forward to helping companies create and style all of their content so their potential customers sit up and take notice. For details and to sign up for her Print Tips and new marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com or e-mail Margie at margie@margiedana.com.
 

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted Customer?

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For all the chatter about the lack of loyalty among customers, I know that some of yours are totally attached to certain sales reps and CSRs. Usually this happens because they’ve worked together for a long time.

These relationships are meaningful. The sales or service rep has extreme value for the customer, due to a number of factors:

  • The rep knows the customer’s preferences and idiosyncrasies.
  • The rep has (or at least seems to have) the customer’s best interest in mind.
  • The rep offers suggestions to the customer to help improve a project or prevent problems.
  • The rep has become a kind of mind reader and can help shape projects.
  • The rep’s become a trusted and respected ally, on whom the customer depends.

In many instances, the customer looks to the rep for solutions, leading to a stress-free relationship that makes the customer’s job much easier. When your rep has your back—and your best interest at heart—there’s no better reason to stick with a printer.

These relationships are often the main reason why customers will gladly recommend you to others. Capable and responsive reps make all the difference.

Yes, customers get attached to their reps. It’s strictly professional and altogether human.

So what do you do, as a print company CEO or sales manager, when a beloved rep leaves the company? The best advice I can give is this: call customers (particularly if you know there are long-time relationships) and talk about it. Share with them whatever information you can. Let them know how you’re going to handle their account in light of the departed rep. Tell them who their new rep will be and what he or she brings to the table. And then...listen.

Let them tell you how they feel. Reassure them that their business is valuable to you. Ask them what they need during the transition to a new rep. Introduce this new rep personally. And keep in touch over the next weeks and months to be sure their work is on track and their wounded hearts are on the mend.

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