Teach Customers To Want It
In-plants know the benefits of print on demand; customers need some coaching. You must demonstrate the advantages if you want to win them over.
TRADITIONAL PRINTING is like a buy-three-get-one-free special: It's a great deal—if you needed 400 documents; it's not really so great if you only needed 100, because now you have 300 you probably can't use, and you still have to store and manage them.
In-plants know the advantages of print on demand (POD) by heart: more timely information, lower storage expenses and drastically reduced waste. Customers are not quite as well versed in these matters. It's up to in-plants to promote the benefits of POD from the customer's perspective.
Carlos Baez, graphics services manager of the National Safety Council, promotes his production facility's POD capabilities by spending at least one day a week in the corporate office meeting with customers.
"I meet personally with users to explain how they can use our new services to improve the quality and appearance of documentation," he says. "Installing new technology is just the first step; educating customers is equally important."
Talk to customers from their perspective. Examine the business reasons in light of human factors. Many people still get a comfortable feeling from having stacks of catalogs or brochures in the office. Why?
• Quick turnaround is one reason. Employees like the security of knowing that if an urgent call comes in, they can send out five or 10 manuals that day.
• Economics are also important. It may be easier for an employee to justify a project with a low unit price.
• Paper is a security blanket for many employees. They feel more comfortable if they can see or touch important documents.
• Tradition is also part of it: "It's always been done this way."