Customer Experience is becoming increasingly important in every industry and we at Tharstern believe it’s one of the most important considerations for doing business today.
But why have we, an MIS provider, decided to write an article on it? For two reasons – firstly, we have embarked on this journey ourselves over the past year or two and feel that we’ve learned a lot on the way. We still have a way to go yet, but we feel that we’ve already learned some really valuable lessons that we can pass on to our customers (and anyone else who wants to listen). But secondly, we realized during our own journey how influential communication and processes are to customer experience, two things that an MIS is designed to assist with.
An MIS fundamentally provides a backbone for communicating effectively both internally and externally with customers. And it also provides capabilities to define processes and to improve them through automation.
That’s the main reason we’ve put together this article, to highlight how useful your MIS could be to your own improvement programme. Of course each printing company is different, and each MIS is different, but most of the ideas below should be applicable for most of you.
1. Self Service
More than 90% of consumers expect brands or organizations to have an online customer self-service offering, and 60% say they have a more favourable view of a brand if that self-service offering is mobile responsive. (Source: Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report – Microsoft).
If you haven’t gone down the web-to-print route yet, you clearly need to, based on this research. And you can even take this one step further. One of our web-to-print partners Infigo Software recently used our API to integrate their Catfish web-to-print software with Tharstern, and essentially gave the end user access to Tharstern’s estimating engine to create their own quotes, place orders and check order statuses online.
2. Real time order updates
This is almost an expected norm these days, with many online shopping companies sending updates when orders are received, out for delivery or have been delivered. All this is achievable with an MIS, but you could also send an email or even an SMS at other key milestones e.g. when the job is on the press, or how about a text reminder that the job is on proof?
3. Targeted communication
No-one likes being bombarded with generic marketing communication, and you can use the information in your MIS to prevent this. Using an integrated CRM, you can identify quoting or buying habits that will help you target the right customers at the right time with the right information. By integrating your MIS with marketing automation systems such as HubSpot, this offers even more opportunities for a slick Customer Experience. For example, you can identify any customers that normally order calendars in a certain month and then auto-enrol them in a marketing campaign that your marketing team have already set up in the Hubspot (or similar) software. Hey presto – your customers get sent an example pack in the post with a follow up email, a week before they would normally have to start thinking about this project. Slick indeed.
4. Communicate effectively
Our own internal reviews identified that we must communicate better together, something that’s probably common at most companies. As a software house, we’re using different pieces of software in each department and using them for communication with colleagues from the same department. Not very conducive to good communication. But if you’re a printing company, this is completely avoidable – your MIS will be used in most if not all departments in your company, you just have to make sure everyone is using it to communicate. You can use it to send messages to each other, set each other tasks, alert teams to important milestones and generally capture and disseminate information about your customers and specific jobs, all of which will help provide a great Customer Experience.
5. Artwork preflighting
From our many visits to our customers over the years, they all talk of the same problem – incorrect artwork! More often than not, the artwork that’s sent over is not what was described. This causes huge problems for your business, wasting considerable time and money, but it also affects your Customer Experience. Imagine you’re a customer who asks for a quick turnaround and speaks to a CSR who promises they’re on it! The CSR does everything right, turns the estimate and order round quick, gets it on the production schedule, gets the artwork from the customer and attaches it to the job, all in record time. Many hours later, at the end of the day, prepress spot the artwork is the wrong size for the job and send it back for new artwork. The customer is then contacted, who is frustrated because the designer has gone home and feels that the CSR was not really ‘on it’ at all!
The solution? Use your MIS with something like Enfocus Switch to check artwork against job details such as size and number of pages. By comparing the information in the MIS to the artwork provided, you can automate the preflighting process for most jobs, and have your CSRs immediately alerted for those that don’t match up.
6. Customer Surveys
We see these everywhere now, even at airport security or on card payment machines in small shops. You can use your MIS to send out these surveys at different points of the customer journey to measure how well you’re doing in different areas e.g. customer service, production quality, delivery speed. You can use tools such as Survey Monkey to create a set of simple surveys that can be emailed or texted out from your MIS when triggered by key milestone events.
There are plenty of other ways your MIS could help you, especially if you take a close look at your business processes and investigate ways you can streamline them. But the above list should be enough to get the creative juices flowing. Got any more? Add them in the comments box below.