Supply chain problems affect everyone. From grocery stores to furniture warehouses, everyone is running out of their products to sell, and their suppliers are backed up for months. What can a small family printer do to keep customers in the supply chain crisis?
Podcasts from the Printerverse, discussed several solutions for how to retain customers. This article will summarize and expand on their solutions.
Empathize with your customers
Communicate openly and transparently
Look for creative solutions to problems
1. Empathize with Your Customers
When you can’t get a job out on time, your client is upset, but so are you, especially when your print supplies are on back order. When tensions are high, it doesn’t take much to sour your relationship with the client.
When your customer complains, empathize with them instead of arguing. Talk about how you understand how frustrating it is. Tell the client about the supply chain problems, and describe how important it is for you to get quality work done on time. Then you can both share your frustration and work to find a solution.
2. Communicate Openly and Transparently
Customers appreciate honesty. When supply chain problems prevent you from getting a job done on time, just be honest about it. Talk clearly and openly about the lengths you have tried to go to get the supplies. Be clear about what your expectations are and what the suppliers are telling you.
You should also communicate regularly with your suppliers. Gone are the days when you could get all your supplies delivered quickly. Keep clear communication with your preferred suppliers so you know what they have in stock and what they don’t. If you know what supplies are available, you can even help your clients redesign their print jobs to fit the supplies you can get quickly.
3. Look for Creative Solutions
A creative printer can sometimes find ways to get around supply shortages by using what they have available. The podcasts hosts gave a few examples of ways they had found to complete jobs without having the right supplies:
Order available sizes and cut down to the right size
Help clients redesign print jobs to fit with available supplies
Create DIY solutions using available supplies
Find new vendors and new paper types
Hunt for supplies in unconventional sources
These creative solutions can help you get the job done when the ideal supplies aren’t in stock.
4. Order Ahead
Since supply chain problems are causing shortages, you can’t always get what you want right away. If you want to keep your customers happy, you’ll need to figure out ways to plan ahead to have the right supplies in stock before they order.
Talk to your suppliers on a regular basis about what is in stock, what’s on backorder, and what will be available soon. When supplies are tight, you might need to order even before a client submits a job just so you can be ready to deliver in a timely manner. A little planning can help you have what you need before the client contacts you.
If you’d like help with these creative solutions and ordering needs, we are here for you, just contact us!