Tucker-Castleberry -- Relationships Do Matter
"I don't want to be someone that buyers call just to get printing," he says. "I've got customers who often call me just to find out how my weekend went. They know my daughter is getting married and want to know what's going on with her. We try to become friends and true partners with our clientele.
An Element from the Past
"That requires mutual trust and loyalty, something that is kind of lost in today's market," adds Livezey, a 30-year employee. "The attitude is: 'What have you done for me today?' But we want to maintain customers who feel a sense of loyalty to us, and we feel loyal to them."
But make no mistake about it. Talking sports and reminiscing about old times can only carry a commercial printer/buyer relationship so far. Quality and customer satisfaction keep the account active.
"The sports printing came the easiest," Tucker admits. "As far as the local corporate accounts and advertising agencies, we had to work hard to sell them. Actually, the longer it takes to sell an account, the better—and more loyal—the account becomes. It took years of calling on some accounts until we got the business."
With the onset of the Internet age and the ability for print buyers to reach a large number of print producers with relative ease, the relationship factor becomes even more important, according to Jan Lego, vice president and a 25-year veteran at Tucker-Castleberry. Sometimes it even involves cultivating relationships with buyers who are never seen in person.
"We have one customer in North Carolina that we've never met in person, but we've built a relationship through e-mail, talking on the phone and giving them good advice," she says.
"In time, clients become your friends. You're doing things with them, going to Braves or Hawks games, whatever. Even when they move on to another printer, they're still your friends. It's extremely important. With the company in North Carolina, for example, it has definitely become more of a relationship than a price game."