Have you ever wondered why we decided to send this newsletter to you? If you're a regular customer of ours, you probably can guess that we want to stay "top of mind" when you need print services. We also like to demonstrate our product knowledge and technical expertise, and provide useful information that will make your job of buying printing easier.
Now we'll reveal a secret – we also send this newsletter to people who aren't using our services. All of you not-yet-customers were not randomly added to our mailing list; rather, you hear from us because the profile of your business or organization matches the profile of one or more of our top customers. We do a good job for them; we think we can do a good job for you.
Our confidence comes from our relationship to our top customers. We know a lot about their businesses and organizations and how printing or copying or mailing services helps support their organizational mission. We are acquainted with their industry's annual cycle of activities and how to reach their customers. We have developed expertise at the type of printing most used by businesses in that industry. Thus the relationship we've developed with our top customers can benefit you and your business or organization matches the profile of one or more of our top customers. We do a good job for them; we think we can do a good job for you.
We've been providing printing services for over 25 years. Based on our experience, we've become pretty good at predicting which businesses, organizations and individuals will be a good fit with us. We develop a strong working relationship with customers who have:
- a regular, recurring need for the kind of services we provide
- a budget adequate for the job specifications
- the authority to place an order
- the ability to cooperate with our manufacturing standards
- adequate time to schedule production
- a willingness to learn from us
- good communication skills
- respect for us as printing professionals
We Make it Easy For You
We have invested time and resources into developing excellent customer service. That's not just an idle claim – we mean what we say. Here are some of the ways we demonstrate our focus on customers:
We communicate with you in the way that works best for you. Early in the ordering process for your first order, we will ask you the way you prefer to be contacted. Some of our customers love e-mail; others prefer the telephone. We don't try to guess or make a rule – we actually inquire!
We provide status reports on your job. An important reason for learning the form of communication you prefer is that our CSRs issue status reports about your job. Maybe not every job, but always for jobs that have a critical due date or are really projects involving more than routine printing. We don't ask you to assume that "no news is good news". Instead, we let you know how your job is progressing through the manufacturing process.
We let you know all the ways you can contact us. We will provide you with our phone and FAX numbers as well as their personal e-mail addresses. We don't restrict a CSR's use of e-mail or the Internet. Instead, we trust them to act responsibly so they can be available to you.
We conform to your company's accounts payable practices. We recognize that your accounts payable department is also our customer. Whether your business or organization is large enough to have dedicated staff for this function, or if paying bills is one your tasks, we want bill paying to go smoothly. Accordingly, our invoices will match our quotations; if you have issued a purchase order number, it will appear on our invoice; and we work hard to write the product descriptions in plain English with references that make sense to you.
About Being on Time With Your Job
It may surprise you to learn that the most common reason people give for seeking a new printer is not price or quality. It's not even customer service. Surprisingly, it is on time delivery of jobs.
One of the ways we are different from other printers is that we have tackled this problem aggressively. To stay on time, on budget and meet quality requirements, we have developed production standards and specifications that give us the time we need to product the job. You'll notice that when you place an order with us, we suggest a delivery date rather than asking you when you need the job. This practice helps us maintain our production standards.
When we suggest the delivery date, you are free to accept it or to request an earlier delivery. If you need an earlier delivery, we likely can accommodate it. But here is what is important – if we cannot meet the delivery date you have requested, we will let you know immediately. We do not knowingly accept a job that we can't produce on time. Even though it may be hard for our CSRs to give you the bad news that we can't produce the job in the time-frame you have requested, we think it is better to let you know while you still have options rather than promising to try and then failing.
So – Why Don't You Use us For Your Next Job?
In this newsletter we talked about reasons for you to use us for your next job that are ones we think you haven't heard before. Most printers talk about quality, price and production equipment. We've talked about what we think it important to you – on-time delivery, ease of ordering, and regular why should you: continued communications from our CSRs.
By now you may be wondering whether our claims are true or just hype. Well, you'll never know until you give us a try!
Get the process started by calling 208-258-9531 and requesting an appointment. We'll answer your questions, give you a shop tour, and start the process of proving to you that we are everything we claim.
At some point in any printing project, the question of price arises. It may be sooner if the project is new and a budget hasn’t yet been established; or later if the job is a reprint with minor changes. But eventually we will need to provide you with the cost.
In order to give you an exact price, we need to have firm specifications for the job – the finished size, the paper, the number of ink colors – and whether the job will require any post-press operations like trimming or folding or special applications like die cutting or foil stamping. We also need to know the quantity to be printed. With this information, we can give you a firm quotation.
Before the specifications are firm, we provide an estimate. An estimate differs from a quotation in an important way – it is our best guess about the cost, but we do not consider it binding as we do a quotation. Estimates are useful for establishing a budget or for determining whether the planned project fits within costs that have been established previously. If our estimate exceeds your budget for the project, we can suggest changes to the specifications that will help bring the two closer together.
Tricks and Tips
As the technology of file submission continues to develop, we find a greater number of customers submitting files in PDF (portable document format). This puts an even greater burden on our customers to proof files prior to submission. Here are some reminders when preparing a file to submit to us:
- Check the fonts for linked images: Be sure you have included the fonts for any linked images, as these are normally not gathered when you create a PDF from the native application.
- Bleeds: extend colors and images that bleed to 0.125” beyond the page boundaries.
- Scans: verify that all scanned images are between 225 and 300 dpi in the finished size of the image.
- Links: check links and if necessary, update prior to submitting the file.
- Print a hard copy: print a hard copy from the file you are submitting. If you have printed a hard copy prior to making final revisions, print a new hard copy from the file you are submitting. Mark color breaks and folding instructions as necessary.
- Color space: Offset printing uses only two color spaces – CMYK (process color) and Pantone match (spot color). Either create your document in the CMYK or spot color space, or convert from the RGB color space before submitting the file. If we are using a digital output device, the RGB color space is acceptable (though CMYK is better).
- Page setup: set the page size at the finished size. Be sure to allow for bindery functions when setting the live area.
Q: I'm confused about what's most important in choosing a printer. Can you offer any suggestions?
A: Yes we can – and we think you’ll find our suggestions both unique and sensible. If you’ve asked this question before, you may recall advice about selecting a printer based on any number of factors – equipment or price or length of time in business or number of employees or any combination of these and other criteria.
Taken together, these criteria help you predict whether the printer you are considering has the capability and capacity to do your work, and whether you have necessary budget. But relying on those factors alone doesn’t address what we think is the most important basis for selecting a printer – the likelihood that you can depend on the printer.
We suggest something different. Whether you buy printing occasionally or often; whether you consider yourself an expert or a novice; whether you understand printing technology or not; in the end, the most important factor is outcome – did the printing you ordered arrive on time, at the price agreed upon, and to the quality standards you expected. Between the time you placed the order and the printing was delivered, did you worry about the job or were you able to move on to other tasks, confident the job would be delivered as expected?
We suggest that if you had to micromanage the job, that’s a sign you’re with the wrong printer – even though the equipment, price and reputation of the printer may appear to be a perfect match with your needs.
If you haven’t yet experienced what it is like to order printing from a truly dependable printer, then we invite you to try us. Dependability is built into all our customer interactions, beginning with quoting promptly, continuing with keeping you informed while your job is in production, and ending with on-time delivery of a satisfactory product. Call today – 208-258-9531 and ask to have Kevin or Brenda visit you to discuss your printing needs.