A couple of weeks ago, I realized that the most excellent Social Slam conference was almost upon me, and that I would be meeting real, live flesh and blood people from social media and not just their digital shadows. That meant I needed business cards — and fast.
I had used UPrinting.com for a number of print projects in the past, so I wanted to stick with a known entity. As we were clicking our way through the order, we noticed that the print turnaround was four business days. And that didn’t even include shipping time. The reality — based on the online timetable, there was no way to have the cards in time.
We called the customer service number to see if there was anything a real person could do for us. There were two challenges really: 1) how fast could they run the die-cut cards and 2) could we get something besides overnight shipping, which was $30 more than the would-arrive-too-late two-day shipping. I was excited about the new business cards, but at some point, the cost began to surpass what could be reasonably justified.
Hero, the customer service rep was helpful. After a number of minutes hashing through what we needed and the limitations on their end, Hero went to check with a manager to see what he could make happen.
When Hero came back, he said not only could he shorten the production time so that the cards would be ready on Monday but also that UPrinting would cover the $30 difference for the overnight shipping. We would have the cards on Tuesday!
We were thrilled, right up until he said, “Can you email me the art files right now.” Uughh… I was not finished designing the cards yet, and also, we were going to need to see a proof! I don’t do print work often, and I was concerned that the resolution and formatting might be off.
I explained to Hero that I could have the art to him within a couple of hours, but that we would need a proof. This “speed bump” did not faze him in the least. He told us that he had already created the order for us and that all we needed to do is “upload the file as soon as possible and email me right after you do. I will put a rush on the job for the designers to draft the proof.”
Within two hours, we uploaded the design, received the proof (which was perfect), approved the job and paid. The shipping discount was already calculated into the order so we didn’t have to do anything but click “Approve.” UPrinting had made it as easy as possible to get our special order.
And the icing on the cake: The cards actually arrived on Friday! Essentially, UPrinting put them through production in one day and shipping in another. We were blown away!
The final product looks great. Here is a picture of one side of the card. If you want to see the other side, you have to meet me in person. 🙂
Lessons Learned from UPrinting’s Customer Service
The irony of this story is that it was poor customer service that originally led me to UPrinting. I try to support local business when possible, but after multiple poor experiences a few years ago with local printers — all of whom had significantly higher prices — I finally gave UPrinting a chance. Since then, I have used the company for a number of jobs and have had great experiences in every encounter. Even on the one job I needed fixed, UPrinting did so without hesitation or extra charge.
So, what lessons can we learn from UPrinting:
- Agents Are Standing By… No really, they are. UPrinting prominently displays its 800 number on the masthead. No matter where you are in the order process, the 800 number is at the top of the page when you need it. While a good idea for any consumer-facing company, this “human” access is particularly important in the printing industry where there are almost always questions about specifics. More importantly, when we called the number, we got a real person.
- Focused On Yes, Not No… One thing about the conversation with UPrinting is that Hero was actively trying to help us. Sure, we would have understood if he had said No — but he was focused on trying to say Yes. From the outset of the conversation, he was looking for a solution, even when he had to check with others to make it happen.
- Our Own Personal Sherpa… One thing that often happens when companies go outside of the box to help a customer is that the ball gets dropped down field. The original person, who went out of their way to make it happen for the customer, is not involved later in the process and the sense of urgency and the details of execution get lost. Hero made sure we emailed him directly when the art was done, so that he could personally shepherd the project through the next steps.
In the end, UPrinting truly went above and beyond for its customer. When we called UPrinting, Hero had every right to say, “Sir, there is no way I can make the printers go any faster.” Instead, he dropped everything and went the extra mile to help out the customer and to deliver a memorable experience.
And that is is what makes a great customer service story!
PS. To our commenters, no jokes about Hero being our hero. I tried it on the phone — apparently, he’s heard that one a few zillion times before.