Topic: Pros and Cons

How our virtual office made us better

Two years ago when we ditched our downtown office in lieu of working from home, we thought we were making the right decision but still had some major concerns about how it was going to play out. Some of the biggest unanswered questions at the time involved the fate of our work ethic, communication, and company culture. I wanted to share with you what has happened in each of those areas. (more…)

Why cutting costs is the most expensive way to grow your business

You can save money but money can't save you

Automating and reducing waste by adopting more efficient processes is good business, right? For the last 50 years this school of thought has been the driving force behind some of the world’s most successful companies. Outsource everything, continually refine your processes, cut costs and then squeeze out the juice to the bottom line. A recipe for success, right?

Wrong. In this new service economy we live in, being “efficient” is actually wasteful. By cutting costs, you’re also cutting the relationship with your customers. Instead of standing out with remarkable service, you’re now just another company with an unfriendly yet efficient approach that “keeps costs down.” You see this mantra everywhere: email instead of phone calls; self-service instead of full; ATMs instead of tellers. Rejoice! It’s working. The world is more efficient than ever before!

But efficiency does not translate to the bottom line.

Efficiency is expensive

Building this kind of efficiency into your business is usually not worth the money saved. Furthermore, most cost-saving schemes are being adopted by your competitors, too. So, far from being unique, you become just another me-too business:

  • Everyone has automated phone menus with voice recognition. Saving a small percentage of your expenses on labor is not worth frustrating the hell out of your customers.
  • Everyone prefers email to phone calls. But making a strong lasting connection over email is almost impossible.
  • Every B2B company is getting rid of its field sales reps in favor of tele-sales teams. But bonding with senior decision-makers over the phone is hard.

You can’t cut your way to happiness

For the customer, day-to-day interaction with these so-called efficient companies is indistinguishable and anonymous. It doesn’t matter whether I call AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile: before I even pick up the phone I know I’ll be talking to a robot. It doesn’t matter whether AT&T’s phone system is friendlier than Verizon’s: they both still suck compared to a real person. No matter how much optimizing and cost-cutting these companies do with their customer service, I won’t like them for it.

But what if a cell phone company were to answer its 1-800 number on the first ring… and with real people? I bet the word-of-mouth buzz and brand awareness generated would easily cover the cost of the extra reps. Why? Because phone companies all have the same mediocre customer service. Answering the phone on the first ring would be a differentiator. It would get more attention than a Super Bowl ad.

The top three phone companies in the US alone spend $8.2 billion per year on advertising. So it must be an efficient method of customer acquisition, right? Wrong again. These companies are in a bidding war for consumer attention. Yet all of their ads look the same. And consumers aren’t even paying as much attention to mass media as they used to.

Instead of trying to one-up the competition with another me-too ad campaign, what if a company put 25% of its advertising budget into its call center and did something remarkable like answering all phone calls on the first ring. While everyone else would continue zigging with ads, it would be zagging with outstanding service. Instant differentiation, free PR, a million thank-yous from happy customers, a ton of word-of-mouth buzz—all resulting in many more customers than it could have acquired with traditional advertising.

The case for waste

Think of the times you’ve received extraordinary customer service. How many people did you tell about your experience? How loyal are you now to the company? How much more money have you spent on the company over time?

Next time you think of cutting costs, don’t. Fooling yourself into thinking that you’re improving the bottom line is easy. But when the by-products of efficiency are irate customers and damaged relationships, you’re not saving money at all. Being inefficient might just be the cheapest way to stand out and get the attention of millions.

Digital Direct-to-Garment and Silk Screen Printing

So you’re ready to create some t-shirts but you’re not sure which method of printing you should go with? No worries mate, I’ve got you covered with a quick run-down on the pros and cons of each style dispelling information about quality and durability of both silk screen printing and digital direct-to-garment. Based on what you’re trying to accomplish you’ll find that one style might be more suitable than the other. Here are the dirty details on each option so that you can pick the right one for your swag…

What’s Screen Printing?

Screen printing uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil. The attached stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink can be pressed through to create a sharp-edged image onto a shirt. A fill blade or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil forcing ink into the mesh openings for transfer during the squeegee stroke.

Pros & Cons of Silk Screen Printing

Screen Printing Pros

  • Common, you’ve probably seen and owned a silk screened shirt
  • Cost effective for large orders
  • Color matching i.e. exact match of your logo colors
  • Versatile placement of designs

Screen Printing Cons

  • Limited by designs and traditionally products
  • Not cost effective for lots of colors, designs or products
  • Longer turn around time
  • Specialized artwork/pantone colors

Direct-to-Garment Printing

Direct-to-Garment printing is a process of printing on shirts using specialized or modified inkjet technology. The two key requirements of a DTG printer are a transport mechanism for the shirt and specialty inks that are applied to the textile directly and are absorbed by the fibers.

Pros & Cons of Digital Direct-to-Garment

DTG Pros

  • Cost effective for lots of colors in the design/lots of different designs/products
  • Great for detail or photos
  • Quick turn around on an order
  • On-demand – no upfront investment
  • No specialized artwork required

DTG Cons

  • Not common – if you’re expecting silk screen and get DTG you may be surprised a bit by the print
  • Not cost effective for large orders
  • No color matching
  • Limited placement of designs

Now that you’re armed with the right printing choice for your swag, head on over to create t-shirts for your staff, or an upcoming event, or to giveaway directly to customers!