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    7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 3, 2008 12:38 PM by Fact_Finder

    Is customer service or price more important in a printer?

    AppleGraphics Adventurer
      I am the sales manager of a printing company (Apple Graphics Inc.) which has been in business for over 20 years. The bulk of our business has come from long time clients who appreciate the attention to detail and customer service we offer. Recently we decided to purchase some new equipment which makes us very competitive in pricing and we are looking and expanding our clientele. What I am looking for is what type of ad you would be more likely to respond to, one advertising price an mentioning customer service, or one advertising customer service and mentioning price.
        • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer?
          mainstreetifs Wayfarer
          Customers want it all. Nordstrom service on a Walmart budget. Great service/performance at a competitive rate (not cheap, just competitive) is usually a recipe for success.
          • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer?
            Bemore Adventurer
            I own a sign company and I find that most time customer service is more important. At least in surveys I have seen, price does not show up until item # 13. But I think it depends on the base of your customers. What do I mean by that? If you are dealing with a small business owner, they are watching their bottom line closer or should I say are more intimately involved with it than the larger corporate client. Well, after all, it isn't the buyers $$ that are being spent. Also, if the small business owner realizes that there is value in the print or signage, they are more likely to appreciate the customer service and be less focused on price. Over the last 3 years, I have had to fire several customers who all they wanted was the cheapest price. Some have been larger clients who try to squeeze $10 off my sign price when the project we are making signage for is over $1M. The cost of the sign is pretty insignificant in the overall project.
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            • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer?
              Lighthouse24 Ranger

              My answer would be to emphasize the service, mention the price.

              To expand your clientele, you must have a price list, because your competitors do. Not having one would keep me from being able to do a ballpark budget when I'm brainstorming a project I might have for you -- and that would essentially send me to a competitor's brochure, catalog, or webpage. For me, the price question is "Is it within my budget?" not "Is this the cheapest option?" I need to know up front if I can afford your services, but you don't have to be the lowest cost provider.

              If the price is realistic, the decision to give a new print shop my business (and every future decision to use that provider again) is based on service. My most important criteria are: (1) good communication (taking the order accurately up front, informing me as early as possible of any potential delays and making the necessary shipping/delivery arrangements, following up to ensure that everything was correct, etc.) and (2) short, but reliable turnaround times (I generally need things fast, but I really them when promised). So good advertising has to say more than, "We give good service." I look for wording that says your definition of good customer service is similar to mine.

              Also, because the equipment for various types of printing is so similar from shop to shop these days, every shop's "quality potential" on a given project is comparable. What seems to distinguish the actual output is the competence of the people who run and maintain the equipment, and the quality of the paper that's being used. So while these aren't service-related, they are also factors I look at.

              Hope this helps. Best wishes.
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer?
                NatOnline Tracker

                I have being working for a long time with a printer from California, and I give him my work because of the quality he can provide. The customer service provided is satifactory, and his prices are excellent.

                I have worked many times with Las Vegan print shops and I was disappointed with their customer service, quality, and prices. Four times higher than California, that's pretty sad. Anyway, I am not working anymore with them.

                So to answer your question, I will say quality first, price and customer service.
                • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer
                  Fact_Finder Adventurer
                  As important as price is, customer service is more important to me as a printing customer. I'm about to take delivery of a 2000 piece perfect bound printing project. This is a project that I reprint approximately every 12-18 months. Because I recently moved, I was looking for a new printer. I chose to go with a local printer that gave me a bid in the middle of the range of the three I received. But they had been recommended by a friend of mine who had used them before and said they provided good quality printing and great customer service. Their price was about $2500 more than the lowest bid...but I went with them and have been happy so far.

                  As far as the ad goes, I would stress the longevity of the business, customers service, print quality and testimonials from existing customers if you can. I wouldn't mention much about price other than that yours are competitive. If you can, peg the competitive prices to your years in business, printing experience, etc.

                  Good luck.
                  • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer?
                    MagPublisher Wayfarer
                    Quite honestly, for my business, service is key. I need a printer to be flexible, and customer oriented. I can make up the price later.

                    However many of your potential customers, especially small companies who just need business cards, flyers, etc. they will likely respond just to price.
                      • Re: Is customer service or price more important in a printer
                        Fact_Finder Adventurer
                        Mag Publisher brings up a good point.

                        With the wide availability of digital printing and geographically boundless Internet advertising, many print jobs have become commoditized. For certain types of jobs, business cards, basic letterhead, flyers, and post cards in particular, price will be THE deciding factor.

                        You may want to consider two separate advertising campaigns or even two separate web sites. One targeted at the customer with more precise needs like books, brochures, presentations, higher-end stationery, etc. Here you can offer the enhanced customer service that you're known for - that these customers will appreciate - and you can charge for it.

                        The other can target commodity pricing on flyers, postcards, etc. Here you can offer little service beyond the actual printing. Customers can upload finished PDFs of the jobs to your site and you can work them into your printing schedule between the more expensive jobs. You could make the turn-around time for these jobs a little longer to accommodate waiting to fit them in. As long as you spell out the turnaround time in advance, it shouldn't be an issue. Someone who's shopping a print job on price alone will usually be willing to wait 1-3 more days if they can save a few bucks. If they needed it quick, they'd be stuck with rush charges anyway.