advice for improved customer communication

When I was a kid, there was this thing called the Helping Hand Program. If you were hurt, lost or in danger, you could knock on the door of a house that had a handprint sign in the window, and the family would watch over you while they called your parent. 

Even though I never had to knock on someone’s door, it made me feel better knowing I could. 

Later, when I ran PrintersNWTrader magazine, I had thousands of printers who read my column and articles monthly. I let my readers know they could call whenever they wanted. Many subscribers called me every week to check-in, especially during rocky times in 2001 and 2008. Printing company owners would tell me about their personal lives, hobbies, what kept them up at night, their finances, and their families. 

No one was looking for big answers. They just wanted to know someone cared.

As a printer, how do you show you care? How do you extend a helping hand?

Recently I was featured on the GirlsWhoPrint podcast, and I talked about how most of my clients send out email newsletters every week and sometimes every day. 

It can be hard for printers to wrap their heads around the fact that your customers want to hear from you that often.

However, if you are a respected and trusted provider, your customers do want to know what’s going on. Or, they want the option to find out, even if they choose not to read. 

Knowing they CAN open your email — that you are right there if they need you — is very reassuring. 

I think about the top business experts and thought leaders whose newsletters I subscribe to. Senders whom I trust and respect, and who email me daily, really do get read almost daily. 

Those communications become part of the cadence of life. 

You may not know it, but I bet many people look to you for reliable information, a unique viewpoint, and thought leadership. Maybe even a feeling of security.

When times are tough, you want to be the person or brand that elevates your reader, who educates and empowers them, and who makes them feel hopeful. 

As you think about the daily or weekly communication, be sure to circle print into the mix. For most marketing situations, email marketing, and print go hand-in-hand very effectively.

If you are a printer or circulate in the word of print, for sure print and mail/UPS/FedX should be part of your regular outreach program. Your customers, vendors, and prospects are probably at home, and the mail or parcel delivery may be the highlight of their day. Should you mail everyone? That’s up to you, but I do recommend that, if you see that a reader regularly opens your newsletter and even replies or shares, send them a friendly card, a handwritten postcard, a fun package, or a gift. Email newsletters plus a print component is a perfect combination when people are hungry for contact. 

Remember, if someone is important to you — and you are important to them — they really do need to hear from you regularly.

By the way, my Helping Hand is in the window for you as well. Feel free to post a comment below, connect with me on LinkedIn, and attend our Wednesday #PrintChat hosted by Deborah Corn of Print Media Centr.

You are not alone. 

Lots of love to you all, my friends. 

Sandy Hubbard


Sandy Hubbard has been author and contributor at Print Media Centr since 2011. She is a Marketing Strategist and Business Consultant who serves print, publishing, and media businesses. Sandy helps clients build their businesses using solid, proven techniques and a systematic approach. She hails from a long line of printers, publishers, authors, and newspaper owners. For 22 years she published a magazine for the printing trade, counseling her readers about how to make better business decisions and grow in the evolving print landscape.

Connect with Sandy on LinkedIn and find her on Twitter at @sandyhubbard every Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, leading or co-hosting #PrintChat with Deborah Corn of @PrintMediaCentr — Join in the fun at social media’s most popular chat for the global printing industry!

Read more from Sandy here.

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