Web2Print – Cost-Effectiveness for both You and your Customers


Web2Print – Cost-Effectiveness for both You and your Customers

I know, I know: this isn’t one of my most startling, eye-catching titles, but really, when speaking about Risk, the puns can drag one down a dark and slippery slope.

So, I played it safe and kept it professional. You can tell, right? Stifle those yawns, immediately!

Welcome to the oppressively-terrifying, risky and anxiety-inducing world of your customers when appraising new and unfamiliar technology. Everything looks risky. Everything looks downright petrifying, actually.

I’m even going to quote Yoda, later. OH yes.

Show me the money!

Or, if you wish to attune yourself to your customers thoughts, it might be closer to, “Show me the risk!”

Primarily, for your consumers, risk is associated with cost, so let’s consider the average cost of manually processing a print job. Your customers should be taking into account the entire cost of an employee performing this role – you aren’t just calculating the cost per hour of an employee’s annual salary. Don’t forget the associated costs of employment like National Insurance and pension contributions; statutory costs that you can’t avoid like jury duty or paternity leave; holidays and sick days and other events like Christmas parties. We haven’t even begun to account for the hidden costs of employment like hours lost per year to conversations around the water cooler.

Looking through your customers’ eyes.

Your client has to perform a similar risk analysis as they would for any other purchase, regardless of whether or not you chose to charge a monthly maintenance fee or not. Try looking at this through their eyes – what’s the problem analysis?

They have to balance the complexity of the system against the value of their orders. If the risk is too high, then your customer won’t place an order. And if you aren’t assuming all customers are automatically risk-averse, I’d have to challenge your basic understanding of your user-base.

For most non-technical users, a technical solution will make them anxious and for most people, anxiety clearly means risk. Don’t be perceived as a risk.

One of the most basic pieces of advice I can give here is to suggest an ever-present, prominently-displayed enquiry button. This ensures that high-value, but complex, print orders will still have an avenue for your customers’ anxiety, saving you the cost of a refund and preserving your customers from badly-fulfilled orders.

Remember: with a Web2Print platform, the responsibility of proofing a print order now falls entirely on the shoulders of your customers. The onus is now on them to get it right – they cannot come running to you, crying about proofing errors anymore. That’s scary. Anxiety-inducing. Risky.

The balancing act.

Figure out who is signing off the approval on your clients’ conversion to the Web2Print platform – that’s who’s going to be the most sensitive to price. Your proposal should be aimed at soothing their fears. Concentrate on the following three areas, as a starter:

    1. Save Money

It’s a clear reduction in administration costs, for your customers. No question. Do the maths for them! Show them where the expenses lie, show them the time factors as well as the cost factors and then show them how fast it is to despatch a print request using a shiny, personalised Web2Print platform. Who doesn’t like to save money?!

    1. Brand Consistency

If your branding is incoherent, no one will remember you. I’ve had loads of customers try to argue this with me until I produce examples of how badly a print job can get one’s branding wrong. All of a sudden, they realise that a different shade of blue, or different fonts make all the difference to their corporate presence. You are only as recognisable as your branding. Now, your customers’ personalised Web2Print platform will ensure that there will always be the branding they demand, taken from the proofs they supplied themselves and reused within their templates, everywhere.

This is often a point that slips through the gap when rushing a print job to the printers, because there are so many other factors to remember and for people who aren’t professional printers, they can be forgotten entirely.

    1. Business Efficiency

You are helping your customer out by seriously alleviating the amount of administration that has to be undertaken, every single time they want to print something. No more mysterious invoices arriving in the night. For a client’s finance team, all they have to do is log in and see for themselves exactly what was ordered and when.

If your customer’s business is a multi-departmental affair with a global presence and numerous offices around the world, even better – a Web2Print platform positively encourages internal collaboration by making it a gigantic piece of delicious cake to continue alliances, even when that office is located overseas. All they have to do is email their colleague a link and go, “Hey, what do you think of that?” No, really, that’s it!

Remember the lessons learnt by risk management professionals! Smooth fears by tackling risk – demonstrate the savings over the course of a year, per print job. Tackle the potential anxiety directly and you will pave the way for a successful adoption of the Web2Print platform.

Fear Leads to Anger. Anger leads to Hate. Hate leads to Suffering.

And suffering sucks.

Your customers don’t want to suffer. You don’t want to suffer. If your customers hate your Web2Print platform, they will suffer and be angry. Map out your customers’ risk, ensure you have planned for them all with your proposal and your solution – don’t let them feel threat or anxiety. Manage your customers’ risk as you manage their expectations.

“But Ali!” I hear you cry. “How do we do that?”

Keep calm and read on for my Seven Suffering-Avoidance Tips based entirely on risk management theory!

    1. Create Value.

I’ve cited lots of examples in previous blogs, so feel free to flick through those, but to summarise, adding value means your customer is likely to be more reassured. Try some custom templates and a customised log-in page. For most of your customers, however, you should be holding their hand a little bit – manage the process for them. Map out a plan. Guide them through it.

    1. Make sure all uncertainty and assumptions are banished.

For some, this could be as simple as a good FAQ page or an enquiry/help button to demonstrate clearly to your customers that you are holding their hand throughout the process, even if you aren’t physically there. For others, this may mean providing a copy of your Terms and Conditions before they will even sign with you. Find out what they are and tackle them systematically.

    1. All processes should be necessary, structured and methodical.

If you’re tempted to start sowing advertising throughout the internal pages of your customers’ Web2Print system, to maximise their clicks, etc., then perhaps you should think twice about charging them a maintenance fee, on top. Any clutter, any unnecessary steps in the print-request process – in fact, anything that doesn’t have to be there, strictly speaking – is another stumbling block to adoption and another piece of anger for your customer to experience. And anger leads to… Well… the Dark Side, obviously.

    1. Remember: you’re only human.

And to err is human. To forgive, means you’re the provider of a customer-orientated service platform like a Web2Print solution. Provide a dispute-resolutions scheme with clear parameters, so your customers know there will be a cushion to catch them, in the event they muck something up. Everyone makes mistakes – it’s how you deal with them that will separate you from your competition. Your customers need to know this won’t be a new area of risk.

    1. Be transparent and inclusive.

Ensure your user policy is legible and not just packed full of legalese. Make sure your customers clearly understand what they can expect from you and what you can expect from them. For instance, try to calculate costs along with changes made, like if they change their mind on their template and now want an A5 leaflet instead of an A6 one, that cost should be reflected immediately in the clearly-displayed price.

    1. Continually seek end-user feedback.

Don’t assume you can read your users’ minds. Ensure your account managers are doing their duties by communicating on at least a quarterly basis. Encourage feedback with an email link or form submission. One of my customers has a discrete “Report a bug on this page!” link on each and every user-accessible page on his Web2Print platform and has seen excellent year-on-year growth, which he directly attributes to this one small feature. Obviously, his users don’t feel any anxiety or anger at all!

    1. Continually improve.

Base your improvements on the feedback from the previous point, as well, if you can – then get your social media guru to blog about it. This sort of thing is worth publicising. Be responsible to your users’ needs, implement their suggestions where practical and you will see an increase in adoption (as users tend to be like-minded, in general) and a definite up-spike in retention.

Know your customers, manage their expectations and tackle their anxiety directly. To them, a Web2Print platform is the unknown, after all, and people have always feared the unknown. Until they’ve had a go, that is – after that, it’ll be worth the risk!