The indirect goods industry is constantly referred to as one that is stubborn and resistant to change. I say this particularly in reference to their adoption of new technology. Case in point is the medium most of our customers are most comfortable using: the telephone. For a long time, when our customers had a problem, we wanted nothing more than for them to pick up the phone and call us.
Recently, however, Four51 has created a number of online tools (Discover Four51, Forum Four51, Access Four51…this very blog!) to enable customers to find quick answers to questions and interact with each other. In almost all cases, customers are getting their inquiries answered quicker than a traditional support telephone line could have ever accommodated and the results have been fantastic!
At Four51, we often walk the line of being on the edge of the technology trends and leaving our customers and prospects feeling confused and abandoned by our adoption of new technology. But as a forward-looking technology company, we know that it is important to push our customers and prospects in ways that will help their business grow and remain profitable.
Four51 is just about a decade old now and benefits from a well-balanced group of young employees who are consistently bringing fresh ideas to the table. In the marketing department alone we have been aggressively pursuing Search Engine Optimization, blogging and executing multimedia campaigns to help drive our presence out into the market.
The PSDA (Print Services & Distribution Association) has jumped on the technology bandwagon with us and is helping to educate the industry as a whole on the value of new technologies. The PSDA has created membership groups on LinkedIn, a site for professionals to grow their connections to business partners, clients and employees. They also have a site called Print University where members can go to get educational materials about the industry, read about sales and CSR training, and even download a podcast series to listen to at their convenience
Lately, the PSDA has helped to push the technology front even further by creating Print Junkie, a new social networking site for the printing industry. At printjunkie.net, members have free access to blogs, forums, news, events, tutorials, videos and photos all pertaining to the print industry. The site already boasts 200+ junkies!
As partners in crime, the PSDA is helping Four51 change the way customers interact with us and with each other. We all hope to see a dramatic shift in our customers’ resistance to adopting these new technologies as they realize the added value they bring to their businesses and their own customers.