While cooling my heels waiting for one of my recent flights, the airline sent me a text forty minutes prior to our scheduled departure. The message says the flight coming in is departing late due to having to adjust weight issues. Not sure what that means, but OK. Once it arrives, they do the customary cleaning, etc. and we board. The pilot gets on the intercom and says that they were late due to thunderstorms. OK, was it adjusting weight issues or thunderstorms? So now we are 1+ hour late, and then pilot says we were “over fueled” and will have to sit on the tarmac for 15 minutes to burn off the excess fuel. Not only was that a costly error, but after the initial delay, I call it “piling on!”
If you’re an experienced traveler, you’re not surprised by the episode I just mentioned. These types of things seem to happen frequently. With airline travel, and in printing, there are a lot of moving parts. There are also different people from various departments involved. It’s clear that not everyone always has the most up-to-date information available. The unfortunate thing is that misleading, or incomplete information sometimes gets sent out to the customer. It happens in the airlines, and it happens in printing. I don’t believe that any of it is intentional, but it does happen.
The consequences of this information getting to the customer begins the erosion of trust, of credibility. As we all know, earning someone’s trust is hard, re-earning it is even harder. You’ve earned your customers trust. They count on reliable and consistent responses to their inquiries and production schedules. Your internal staff depends on the same information to make critical decisions and manage expectations.
All businesses strive to have reliable information at their disposal. In reality, some days are better than others. Here’s a challenge: do an informal information check in your own business. Walk through your different departments and ask your team members about the accuracy, timeliness and relevancy of the information they have, or are provided with daily. Ask them about the information provided to them on the production tickets – that’ll get them going.
If it’s difficult for internal folks to get great information, how hard do you think it is for your customers to get good information? Take what you’ve learned from your informal survey and determine the top three things that can be worked on that will improve your findings. Gather your team and begin making strides to make a positive impact on the situation. Doing this will make a huge impact on your internal team, and you’ll continue to build on the trust you have with your customers. Start this process today.
If you’ve already gone through this process, please share your journey in the comments below. If you have questions on how to get started, let me know. Good luck!
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Originally published in Printing Impressions.