Overcoming Fear Of The Network
In-plant managers share how they've convinced customers to leave hard copy behind.
By Mike Llewellyn
It's a shame some customers have to make it so difficult for a manager who's trying to make their lives easier.
For example: you know that sending a job electronically to the in-plant over the network is far easier—and faster—for customers. But still some of them insist on bringing you hard copy or dropping off disks.
You can't really blame them—they're not trying to make your life miserable. They're just afraid of using the network. It's your job to put them at ease.
Most in-plant managers that have become old pros at running an e-shop say good communication is the key to overcoming customers' fears of the unknown. Mike Schrader, manager of Printing and Publishing Services at Mercury Marine, in Fond du Lac, Wis., makes it a point to talk to customers whenever they drop off a hard-copy job in person.
"If they give us a hard-copy job, then we ask them if they knew that we could take it electronically, or that they can print it right to one of the DocuTechs," he reveals.
Give Them A Choice
There's more than one way to get a "soft" job in the door, and most customers love to have choices. Make sure you explain to them the different ways they can send digital jobs to your shop.
A high-tech in-plant like the graphic arts department at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is a great example.
"We're pretty strong in computers here," says Manager Henry Roy, referring to the whole college. "And we've got a pretty highly regarded ITS department."
To keep up with the computer-savvy campus, Roy says the in-plant encourages file submission using a variety of avenues—e-mail, Web-based submission, and posting files to a network server, among others.