We all know that the best things in life are free.
This is true in every aspect of our lives including our work lives. What has your promotional gifts supplier given to you free of charge lately?
I am not talking about products. That’s easy. Service is what should be free but in our increasingly technical world many promotional gifts suppliers are still playing catchup and their service is suffering for it!
Fifteen years ago when I started my online promotional merchandise company I purchased a Mac and the most up to date artwork software. I also paid to learn how to use it. My small company, at that time still based in my garage, became the first in the UK to offer a free artwork service.
Those were the days when artwork usually had to be printed onto colour separated clear plastic and sent through the post to suppliers because they did not have the know how to accept artwork by email.
At a recent industry conference I was surprised to learn how many promotional gift suppliers still do not offer the most basic of artwork services. It was suggested that that might be one of the reasons 10% of my UK competitors have ceased trading this year.
Service goes much further than artwork alone, however.
When was the last time you looked around for and spoke to possible new suppliers? It is easy to stay with what you know but often you may be using a supplier because it is easy to stay with what you know. It’s your comfort zone.
You may not be getting the service you deserve and you could be paying dearly for it. If you don’t believe me, then test me. Pick up the phone and test a few suppliers today. Many of the people answering the phones know about as much about promotional merchandise as a turtle. They are trained to answer question about products in their catalogue by looking at the answers on their computer screen. This is especially the case with the larger promotional gifts corporations.
If the supplier you use is not able to look around and find the best products for you then you lose. If all they can do is read from a corporate script, you lose. You lose if you do not ensure on a regular basis that you are getting the best results possible.
To win you need to regularly step out of your comfort zone and ensure your are getting free unbiased and professional service.
So how about it? Have you looked around for suppliers lately? Any good supplier will not have a problem being tested because they know you will come back to them. It is the many substandard, poorly trained suppliers that have something to be worried about.
Please share your thoughts or experiences by leaving a comment.
By Dan Toombs