In spite of Royal Mail price increases and the availability of multi-channel distribution for documents, organisations still have a requirement to mail out letters, invoices, statements and remittances.
Every organisation faces the challenge of producing great content, delivering it in different formats from paper to digital and being able to produce more with less and with a reduced marketing budget.
The problem is how do you find a print and fulfilment service that that will offer expert advice and deliver the end product to your customers?
Can organisations trust a potential print and fulfilment services supplier?
Is there a reason why you shouldn’t partner with a print and fulfilment supplier?
A supplier you have a good relationship with, who, will give you honest feedback which in turn helps deliver on your customer relationship strategy and grow as a business.
Suppliers are an integral part in developing and protecting your brand awareness and there are tangible benefits to working with a single vendor who understands your vision, direction and the various challenges you face as an organisation.
Selecting a reputable print and fulfilment supplier is a lot like a marriage, you need a partner that listens, understands your goals, how they will be delivered and ultimately be loyal to your company and brand.
Fundamentally it must be a partnership based on trust and communication.
Key points to think about before working with a print and fulfilment services supplier
1. What is the vision for your organisation? Where do you want it to be in say 3-5 years? What things do you want to change? How would a print and fulfilment supplier benefit the company?
2. How do you market yourself as a company? What is your brand and has it come to fruition? Are you well known? Do you have a good reputation with your customers? How are you positioned in relation to your competitors?
3. What challenges do you face within your industry? What new technologies and solutions would benefit the organisation but due to cost constraints cannot be fulfilled in-house?
1. How often do they review the services with their customers?
At the very least you should be visited by your supplier every 6 months.
This will ensure you are kept up to date with latest innovations, products and services and it also gives you the opportunity to highlight any issues that you may not be happy with. It is also important to advise your supplier of any up and coming print campaigns and direct marketing efforts that are being developed.
This ensures that both you and your supplier collaborate on new projects so that you get the very best solution for your next marketing effort.
2. How proactive is the potential supplier in suggesting alternate print and fulfilment solutions to ensure you get the best service for all your printing needs?
An expert advisor will seek to understand what your intentions are as an organisation and what you hope to deliver with each marketing objective that way the supplier can stay ahead and suggest practical solutions that deliver the best results.
3. What accreditations do they have?
ISO 9001, (quality) ISO 27001 (Information Security & Management)
Having the above accreditations ensures that best practice is maintained and that procedures and processes are in place it also ensures that any confidential data is correctly managed and that the company can demonstrate the relevant protocols.
4. Is the print and fulfilment provider customer centric? Will they provide bespoke solutions for you rather than fit within the constraints of their services and equipment?
The key to any long term relationship is whether the incumbent supplier can deliver your needs now and in the future.
5. Will they be flexible and respond quickly and systematically to a change in specification or delivery dates?
What system(s) do they have in place to make sure they can manage any last minute changes?
6. Can the supplier offer free data cleansing and checking to ensure your addresses are complete and suitable for mailing discounts?
7. Is the print and fulfilment company financially stable?
How long have they been in business and what customers do they currently supply?
8. Can the print and fulfilment company produce what you want to sell today and tomorrow?
Think about the future products and services you are working on as an organisation. Can the supplier accommodate your needs now and in the future. There’s no point in establishing a rewarding relationship only to find out in year 2 that one of the marketing campaigns you intend to develop cannot be fulfilled by your supplier.
9. Does the print and fulfilment company have a great reputation?
Ask for testimonials or a list of references and it’s also a good idea to ask the supplier to give you an example of a case study
10. Is the print and fulfilment company’s pricing fair?
When reviewing print and fulfilment companies, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see the difference in prices from one supplier to the next. By ensuring the supplier has matched your specification only then can you make a comparison between other suppliers. A higher cost may indicate that the print and fulfilment company are offering a higher level of services. Again is this what you asked for or is the supplier being proactive by demonstrating what should be incorporated into the campaign.
10. Hypothetically, if a job goes wrong, after all, we are only human, is the supplier able to demonstrate best practice? Do they have the capability to ensure that the right processes are in place to resolve the issue
A slightly difficult one to address in the ‘what if stages’ but an organisation should be able to ask the question of the supplier and establish how flexible they can be in the event of a mistake being made.
Any print and fulfilment company you consider should be happy to answer your questions and be able to demonstrate fulfilment and print capabilities so that when you decide on your chosen supplier you can be confident in the knowledge that the marketing campaign can be delivered from paper to digital to social media.
Need some help with a print and marketing campaign?
Want to be able to send out customer letters but don’t know where to start then Call us for more information by clicking here
Are there any other points that should be added to this list?
What do you think?
Follow us on twitter, find us on facebook and Pinterest or connect with us on Linkedin and Google+. We look forward to getting to know you.