Allegra Print & Imaging, Tucson, AZ
Written with Eileen Rogers and Ted Raymond, Owners
In an effort to measure our core values, a customer feedback system was needed. The only true way to measure how you are doing is to keep the pulse of your customers.
Allegra Print & Imaging Company Background
In 2007, after 25 years in business, Eileen Rodgers and Ted Raymond successfully merged a traditional printer with a digital printer. The goal was to focus the business on multi-channel marketing including variable data print and personal URLs (PURLS) while shifting to more of a marketing service provider. In addition, we focused on three core values; We care, We listen, We deliver. While the printing industry and overall economy retracted in 2008 we managed a modest 8% revenue growth and double-digit profitability. We are proud to have recently won the American Marketing Association Spectrum Award for marketing innovation. We believe the health of the business is driven by our connection to customers and our ability to ride the wave of change in this industry.
Reliable, ongoing system to measure how we were doing with each customer
In an effort to measure our core values, a customer feedback system was needed. The only true way to measure how you are doing is to keep the pulse of your customers. Our objective was to get a baseline of how we were doing with our customers, as well as implement a process for ongoing communication and measurement. In the past we did a limited number of surveys and they were implemented poorly. We needed to do better.
Move from printer to marketing service provider
We had several goals for the surveying process. First, we wanted to have ongoing feedback on our performance. This included having timely information on situations that could cause a client to be “at risk”. Second, we wanted to use the positive feedback as a tool to drive recognition with our staff and reinforce culture. Third, we wanted to use the survey as part of our overall brand strategy. We wanted to continue to move from printer to marketing service provider and understand how we were doing on the “project or campaign” versus “the job” as a traditional printer would put it.
Move from a transactional business to annuity based business
Our greatest challenge is migrating from a transactional business to an annuity-based business. We continue to develop long-term relationships with the right clients who will do business with us every week. To that end we are highly focused on client retention as we find those clients. We needed a way to have the system to identify a problem, take decisive action, and correct any experience not deemed satisfactory. To build an annuity based business we also needed to implement an effective process to identify areas for business expansion within our current client base.
The team outlined the system
The team developed a multi-channel system to collect customer feedback. We first developed the right questions to measure both our core values and marketing direction. Once we understood the questions we wanted to ask, we worked with Survey Advantage to set up three channels for collecting feedback. They branded our survey and helped us place the same survey in three places; www.Allegralistens.com, www.allegraaz.com, and via e-mail sent directly from our order management system, Printer’s Plan. All results are consolidated in the same report and we can tell which channel the feedback came from. With surveys launched from Printer’s Plan we track job number for added business intelligence. This helps us identify the customer and job that corresponds to each survey.
Deployment took less than 30 minutes
By moving from a transactional to an annuity model we wanted to be careful not to annoy customers ordering often. The acceptable frequency for most customers is one survey a month. The nice thing about Printer’s Plan is that you pick the orders and customers to survey. It is semi-automatic taking about 5 minutes a week. This was one of the easiest implementations we have ever had, for any product. We developed some custom questions for our survey and within a day the entire system was set to go by Survey Advantage. Their document allowed us to integrate surveying with Printer’s Plan in less than 30 minutes. From surveys launched from Printer’s Plan we get approximately 30% response rate and the process is fast, easy, and affordable.
Customer’s told us what is working and what needs improvement
Most of the customer comments were glowing. The business intelligence and first hand feedback helps us promote the company culture and values with staff. On the process improvement side we reengineered processes in color management, account management, and typesetting. I think the most valuable piece of information came from a couple of “at risk” accounts. The two accounts represented $150,000 in annual business, a significant amount for a $2.5 million shop. Because of the Survey Advantage system we were alerted immediately of the problem via e-mail and were able to get on the phone in minutes. By acting decisively on the information provided, we not only avoided losing the customer, we actually strengthened our relationship by demonstrating our core values. Now whenever a negative comment comes in on a survey, we have an internal dialog about the issue, the team makes recommendations, and we make process changes if necessary. Everyone becomes part of the solution. As a secondary benefit, we have also used the tool as a method of collecting positive information about our staff for outstanding customer experiences. These testimonials are published internally as well as in marketing materials.
Ongoing reporting keeps everyone moving in right direction
The ongoing reports compared month to month have become a scorecard, and the ability to keep the pulse of each customer focuses us in the right direction. Measuring product and service quality is important, but understanding loyalty and what else you can offer customers drives the business forward.