Things to Avoid Saying to a Customer

A big part of customer service excellence is saying the right thing to customers. Here are a few phrases to avoid, since they may cause you to lose a sale…and possibly even a customer:
“That’s our policy.” This is a frustrating response that’s aimed at shutting down conversation and shows no interest in customer satisfaction. It can be just as maddening as hearing someone say “tough luck.”

“No.” Nearly everything is possible for a price. Respond to unusual requests by telling customers you will check into it. Then get back to them with a cost.

“Check our website.” Instead of making customers hunt around, offer them a direct link to the page or file they are looking for.

“We’re closed.” Customers may not be aware of store hours or what time it is. So rather than turning away a sale, try saying, “We close at __ o’clock and reopen at __ o’clock. Is there something I can quickly help you with now?”

“I don’t know.” If you don’t know an answer, tell the customer you will find out for them.

“That’s not my department.” Instead of pushing customers away with a vague answer, try saying, “I’ll find someone who knows more about that department.”

“No problem.” By saying “no problem,” you are implying that customers are causing a problem. Remember, customers are not an interruption of our work; they are the purpose of our work.

“It’s out of stock.” If you can’t tell a customer when an item will be restocked, they will likely buy it elsewhere. Try saying, “That item is currently out of stock and will be back in on _____. Can I get your name and number to call you when it comes in?”
Customer issues arise occasionally at all businesses. However, it is the way your staff handles those issues that determines if customers will return to your business or take their money elsewhere.

Complaints: Problem Solvers in Disguise

While it’s hard to think of customer complaints as a good thing, most of them are actually great problem-solving tools for your business. Valid complaints expose problems that cost your business time and money.

With that in mind, here are a few ways to deal with and learn from customer complaints:

    • Offer several convenient ways for customers to express their dissatisfaction, such as customer surveys, comment cards, a toll-free number, a dedicated email address, and an online feedback form.
    • Listen to customers, and let them tell their story without interrupting.
    • Apologize for the issue they are experiencing.
    • Take necessary actions immediately to resolve the issue and re-establish rapport.
    • Ask customers for suggestions for improvement. Sometimes the solution may be easier than you think.
    • Thank customers for bringing issues to your attention.
    • Gather as much data as you can about customer complaints, and share them within your business. While all issues should be addressed, you may want to start by fixing those that waste the most time and cost the most money.
  • Follow-up with customers to be sure their issues were solved and that they were satisfied with the outcome.

Customers who complain and have a problem solved are generally much more loyal than those who are simply happy with your business. Regardless of the issue at hand, one of the easiest ways to ensure customer satisfaction is by reminding them you’re all ears.

Does Print Still Have a Role to Play in the Online World?

With the constant drumbeat of articles and posts discussing how the Internet has affected so many aspects of businesses large and small, it’s been hard to argue any other points of view and make a real dent in the conversation. However, it’s important to look objectively at all sides in order to come to the best conclusion of what works best for your particular business model.

There’s no arguing that the Internet and social media have an important role to play for most businesses that rely on engaging with their customers to drive sales and revenue. The danger is believing that a purely online strategy is the only way forward for business success. That is simply not the case. Customers prefer to receive messages in ways that they enjoy and find most useful. Some prefer the physical piece in their hand while others consume messages on their computer screen or mobile device.

The wise business will not guess and force feed their audience in ways that might alienate them. The smartest businesses will use all available media in practical ways to educate their target audience. What is the best way to do this? You need to cross-promote.

Cross-promotion involves finding a balance between your online and print campaigns. For example, when you send out a postcard or other printed item, make sure to include information about your website and how it can help make a customer’s life easier.

When running a marketing campaign, utilize both print and online media to get the most powerful effect. Don’t neglect either if you want successful results. When you use consistent messages across all media, you will create a consistent front to deliver your audience to the exact place you want them to be, whether a physical storefront or your online portals.

There are many ways to marry the online world with the physical world. Here are two examples:

Mobile Barcodes or QR Codes – These funny-looking codes are becoming more mainstream and accepted in North America with each passing month. QR codes (or Quick Response codes) allow instant access to information via smart phones (iPhones, Droids, etc.). That information may include videos, contact information, product brochures…the possibilities are endless. The QR codes can be printed on postcards, brochures, business cards, signs, posters, vehicles, and even billboards.

PURLs – Another creative way to marry the two worlds is through PURLs. PURLs are personalized URLs that can deliver highly targeted messages to each recipient. The recipient receives a unique web address, typically with their name as part of the URL, delivered via a printed item like a postcard. The destination website can be used to collect information and deliver incentives for the recipient to further engage with your business on a much more direct level.

Breaking through all the clutter (whether in the online world or in the physical mailbox of your targeted recipient) requires the same strategy: creativity. Your marketing messages must be a little unique in order to stand out. Using print to drive your online and social media presence ensures that your messages will reach your customers and prospects in ways they want to be reached. It is said that only 50% of all advertising is effective; the problem is figuring out which 50%! When you cross-promote, you take some of this guesswork out of the equation.

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One Thing About QR Codes® You Probably Don’t Know

(This article was taken from Marketing Briefs for Printers Newsletter 2/2/2012 by Patrick Whelan)


That’s right— the term QR Code® is a registered trademark. While many in the industry have been using QR Code® as a generic term, it is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED. Please note that the trademark only refers to the term, not the technology. The technology is, in fact, open source.

Denso Wave, Inc. recently sent the following letter to a client of mine:

In case you are not aware, the term QR Code® is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED within the U.S., Japan, Australia and Europe.

We would appreciate your cooperation in making sure all future references of QR Code® within your [publication/website] include the registered trademark symbol (®) after the term “QR Code” and the following text is placed somewhere on the same page as the term:

* QR Code is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.

Please note, a registered trademark is not required when publishing the QR Code® image. It is only required for the words QR Code®.

I have enclosed a copy of the DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED QR Code® Trademark Guide for more detailed information regarding the trademark of QR Code®. In addition, you can find information at: http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/faqpatent-e.html.

Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with this request. They came up with the term, trademarked it, and deserve the credit and attribution that comes with the mark. The purpose of this article is merely to inform printers, mailers, MSPs, and others of the trademark, and hopefully, save someone from a potential headache down the road.

I also discussed this with a patent and trademark attorney, and just to let you know, playing with capitalization, adding an “s,” etc., does not exempt you from using the trademark. The bottom line is that if you are going to use the term, it would behoove you to give proper attribution.

Putting the Squeeze On Site Visitors’ Behaviors

When designing websites, businesses have a tendency to build them similarly to the way they might design a brochure or periodical. But more recently, there’s been a perspective in the past 2 years popping up that has my psychology education background jumping for joy: websites as design flows.

Coming out of the new field of User Experience, it’s a paradigm where a website’s functionality and design is not based around what the user sees, but rather what the user is trying to accomplish. From these tasks, objectives, and goals we would develop a flowchart of the task and how it would be accomplished on the website.

When you’re thinking about building or revising your website, think about what your customers use your business for or what you’d like them to accomplish by visiting in the first place. You’ll want them to be able to accomplish those objectives as easily and obstacle-free as possible, and your website design should cater to these goals. As such, your homepage should direct visitors to these functions of your business before any other content is presented so as to keep them from being distracted from other sections of your site.

Do you want people first and foremost to sign up for a newsletter for your blog or to receive e-mail updates on promotions and product updates? Then you’ll want to make sure that there is a call-to-action that is easy to spot on your homepage for people to accomplish this. If you can get them to accomplish the task without having people ever leave the page is even better. Removing as many steps as possible reduces the chance that a user will become distracted and leave the task incomplete. Squeeze pages are good ways of accomplishing this specific task.

Squeeze pages are web pages without content but are specifically geared toward converting a visitor to a subscriber. They often come with strong concise copy explaining the benefits of joining the mailing list, whether it’s exclusive product offers, periodical content, whatever your business provides. Discussion of the protection of the subscriber’s personal data is also often discussed here to allay any reservations a user might have to subscribing. Basically, the page is a purely distilled method to convert and sign up. Mailchimp has an excellent squeeze-page example on their website.

Anyway, just some thoughts to consider. Hope this helps and thanks for reading; this only scratches the surface and you can find more information sources for the article:

Stop Designing Pages And Start Designing Flows by Morgan Brown

Squeeze Page Wikipedia Article

Mailchimp Squeeze Page


Trade Show Fashion Faux Pas

It doesn’t take a fashion expert to know that some things don’t belong at trade shows. Here are a few examples of what not to wear at trade shows and other business events:

Too much or too little. There is nothing worse than freezing or sweating at a networking event. Dress in comfortable layers that you can easily add or remove as needed, such as a suit jacket over a dress shirt.

Clothing without a pocket or two. Pockets are always handy for business cards, pens, breath mints, etc.

New shoes. While new shoes may look nice, nothing looks worse than missing out on important introductions because you can’t stand to be on your feet. Trade shows usually involve long hours and lots of standing and walking. Stay in the game by picking a shoe that’s made for walking, or watch the competition walk all over you.

Cologne. Fragrances should be alluring, not overpowering. If you are within talking distance and can smell someone’s perfume or cologne, it is too strong.

Clothes which are too tight, too short, too revealing. No matter whether your pants are popping a button because they shrunk in your closet or are snug by choice, clothing that is too tight is not only unprofessional but distracting.

Gaudy jewelry. You want to be remembered for your personality or impressive product knowledge, not your giant jangling earrings or over-jeweled hands.

Marketing Your Goodwill

In the business world, the benefits of charitable giving are two-fold: Giving lets you not only help those who are in need, but also enhance your company’s reputation. Many customers show increased loyalty toward generous brands. Here are a few creative ways to market your goodwill:

  • Encourage customers to purchase from you rather than your competition by designating specific products or services for your charity. For example, “5 percent of proceeds from all XYZ pet products purchased benefits local animal shelters.”
  • Add a feature section to your website, highlighting your charity. Include a link to the charity’s website, as well as information about any upcoming charity events.
  • Create a giving campaign for your charity, and encourage customers to join in. This will help build stronger relationships with your customers and nurture a sense of pride in helping toward a common goal. For example, you might try something like this: “We will donate $1 for every canned food donation we receive during our Annual Food Drive for the Hungry.”
  • Send a press release to local media to publicize your donations to charities.
  • Promote your charitable involvement in your newsletters, flyers, brochures, advertisements, etc.
  • Promote your charity at your business. Make brochures about the charity available, include charity flyers with purchases, hold internal fundraising contests, etc.
  • Advertise your products and services in your charity’s preferred communication vehicles, such as newsletters.
  • Offer exclusive discounts to people involved with your charity.
  • Donate items to your charity that they can use for raffles or other fundraising events. The presence of your donation is an advertisement in itself.

Of course, while corporate giving is a great way to build your business, don’t forget that your primary motivation should be to help others.

Protecting your Business Name

I came across this article the other day, and felt it provided important feedback on your business name and how to protect it.  Print & Copy Factory, has purchased and registered our name, however, there are other businesses that have opened up across the United States and even in China that are using the same name. This is unfortunate, and I always wondered what I could do about that.  Here are some Q&A regarding this:


The Power of Words

Here’s a little story about how the power of words can evoke emotion, especially in the world of marketing.

An elderly blind man was sitting on a busy street corner with a cardboard sign next to an empty tin cup. The sign read, “Blind — Please help.” People would glance at the sign, but nobody gave the man any money.

Then a young copywriter saw the man with his sign and empty cup. He felt disappointed as he watched all the people walk past without an ounce of empathy, so he took a marker, flipped the sign over, and rewrote the blind man’s message.

Suddenly, people started putting money in his cup until it was overflowing. Surprised, the blind man asked a stranger to tell him what the sign said. He replied, “It’s a beautiful day. You can see it. I cannot.”

Paper Grades and Weights

We are often asked about paper weights and why they are so confusing.  I hope this article I found helps clear things up and help with understanding and ordering the proper paper for your project.


Printing is more than reproducing words and images on paper. It is the physical experience itself – holding the piece, feeling the paper, the interplay of ink and paper – that printing is concerned with.  As such, paper – the vehicle of the message, represents a substantial cost item in a printed job.  Understanding paper and picking the right sheet for your job can make or break your job.

Typically, letterheads will be imprinted using laser imaging or run through copiers. It is important that you, as the buyer, tell us (the printer) how you intend to use the printed piece. Do not assume that all papers can be used for all processes. It is our job to advise you in whether the paper you selected is compatible for your intended uses.  We often provide sample papers for you to try on your machines, to insure success of the final produce use.

The same caveats apply to inks. Inks containing certain waxes and some other ingredients will soften as a result of the heat generated in a laser printer or copy machine. Again, we need to understand fully what the intended use of the project will be.


There are seven basic grades (or types) of papers used in the commercial and quick printing industry.

1. BOND:  Usually used for flyers, handouts, business forms and copiers. This is the more economical grade of paper.

2. WRITING: Usually used for stationery and projects that require a nicer look.  Typically these papers are more decorative in colors with many types of surface textures such as a linen or a laid type finish.

3. BOOK/OFFSET: The most commonly used coated and uncoated papers for printing items such as manuals and books. These papers are commonly evaluated for their opacity and whiteness. However, there are colors available too.

4. TEXT: High-quality sheets are available in a variety of surfaces and colors and are commonly used for marketing pieces such as brochures.

5. COVER: Used when great bulk is required such as book covers, postcards, business cards and marketing materials. These papers are also available in a wide variety of surfaces and colors.

6. TAG/BRISTOL/INDEX: Smooth surface papers and mostly uncoated, except for bristols. Uses include displays, file folders, index cards and tickets.

7: SYNTETHICS: New papers are being introduced to the market place that are water resistant and are treated to run on certain digital presses. These papers are great for menus, and items that are commonly laminated.

Within each grade, there are other distinctions, based on brightness, opacity, and fiber content. For instance, there are matte, premium, and ultra gloss finished to coated papers. In the uncaoted book, there is #1 Offset, #3 offset and Opaque grades.  Text papers are distinguished by finishes like smooth/vellum, felt/embossed, laid, and linen finishes.



Getting more specific, people identify papers in terms of their basis weights. Since coated papers are more compressed (calendered) you can’t necessarily keep the same weight when you switch grades. For instance you may go from a 60# uncoated to a 70#coated sheet to keep the same thickness. That is why papers are usually referred to by weight and grade.

What is basis weight? It is the weight of 500 sheets of paper cut to a basis size. So, 500 sheets of 25″x38″, 60# offset weigh 60lbs.  The basis size for bond is 17″x22″; for text, offset, and coated 25″x38″, and for cover 20″x26″. That is why two similar sheets of different grades my have the very different basis weights, for instance, 24# bond and 50# offset are the same weight and grade of paper.

Different grades of paper and their weights;

  • BONDS: usually 16# for forms, 20# for copying, and 24# for stationery.
  • TEXT: Ranges in weight form 60#, 70#, 80# to 100#, but the most common weights are 70# or 80#
  • OFFSET: Usually a 50# to 70# stock.
  • COATED BOOK: Generally goes from 30# to 70# for web printing, 60# to 110# for sheet fed.
  • COVER: Comes in 60#, 65#, 80# and or 100#, #110, #130 weights.


Our national waste disposal challenges has let to the increasing use of recycled papers.  Paper companies have answered increasing demand with offerings in all paper grades. While recycled sheets still command a premium over virgin stock, they are more widely available than in previous years, and have come down extensively in price.

At this time there are still difference in definitions associated with recycled papers and concerned buyers need to make sure that they make proper decisions for runnability and quality.



High-speed laser printing and digital printing has created a whole new “johnra” of printing demands. With the wide array of equipment and technologies, many digital papers are “treated” to create amazing results. Usually, such equipment will stipulate what papers work best for the machine. Today, paper mills are developing full lines of paper that work both in the digital and offset world. Print & Copy Factory is committed to staying on top of the technology and papers to provide our customer with the best results and price.

Give us a call today and better yet, stop by and look at our large paper sample book display. We have a large variety of colors and papers in stock, and also a large variety of papers that you can order…. Because paper does not have a shelf life, we order many papers for your specific project to insure quality of paper.  Our suppliers deliver for the most part by 8:00 am everyday.

Resource: PPIA


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