Web to Print software providers can vouch for this statement:
“We are thinking of upgrading from our current solution “Y” which we are endlessly frustrated with.”
Frustration is normal when dealing with enterprise business software. You seldom know any print business that isn’t at least mildly frustrated with how their print software works or doesn’t seem to work for their business.
The concern is that the frustration leading to immediately shop for a different solution.
You’re frustrated. You believe you and your team is trying everything to get the solution to work. You are dealing with the vendor support team and are not getting the level of service you would expect or the answers you want. What answers do you want? You want the software to fit exactly how your business works today without having to work too hard and it never does.
Every interaction with the vendor or with the software is cluttered by a bias that nothing will work as expected. You are basically looking for evidence to support your already firmly held conclusions. Unfortunately the software and the vendor provide a target rich environment for evidence.
We see it all the time. We see very smart people, state as facts things we know are not true. For example, “product X does not show a 3D preview of the personalization before you order it.” A staff member at a printer will state this with confidence, the print owner will believe them, and statements like this then propel owners to start looking for a different solution that solves that fictional feature gap.
We know product “X” and we know twenty other printers who are successfully using it and it shows the 3D preview but this smart person is convinced that it doesn’t work. It’s a trap, a negative bias trap which can lead to very expensive business decisions. People aren’t malicious, they are genuinely frustrated. Most humans don’t like to be beginners; we like to know things for certain. Rather than dive into a software solution as a beginner to really learn it, we stay on the surface and get frustrated that it isn’t easier to learn. Our frustration then turns into a cycle of finding why the solution doesn’t work for us. It can’t be me that’s the problem, it must be the software.
Unfortunately, this is the norm.
The exception is the printer who sometimes has a staff member who is a discovery learner, curious, competent, and open to being a beginner. This person wants to learn. This person is comfortable not knowing. This person understands that their job is to find ways for the software to work for the business not look for reasons why it won’t.
The perpetual cycle of missed expectations begins when you buy a web-to-print solution, your team does not adopt it or embrace learning it. They start to get frustrated. They start to make assumptions about what it can and cannot do, not based on deep discovery but based on a one-off comment from vendor support personnel or trying something one time in one particular way. You as the owner start to believe them – the solution is simply not the right fit for you company. You start to shop. Guess how you get treated when you’re thinking of buying a new solution? Like a King! All your phone calls are returned, all your questions are answered, all the demonstrations look perfect. That’s it, you just made a poor purchasing decision – the answer is so clear. This new company and product is the right one. You buy, you implement, your team fails to learn this one either, frustration builds, the limitations (different ones) start to arise, and you’re back where you started again.
How can you prevent this?
A. Incent, encourage, and track how your team learns about the web-to-print solution.
1. Send your team to user conferences; ask them to write up what they learned and how they can apply it to your customers/business.
2. Require that your team establish at least 2-3 peers (other printers) who are using the same software. When you run into barriers, don’t stop with the vendor. Go to your peers – find out if they’ve run into the same thing. Require that your team meet regularly with this peer group to share learning.
3. Have each peer pick one area of the software each month/quarter – dig in and learn it, then present to the others. For example, template creation. One person dives in and learns everything they can about how template creation works in the software – then they present what they learned to the others.
4. Have your team pick one area of the software to present to your sales team each month, an area of the software that sales would benefit from knowing in their sales process.
5. Make your team be learner’s by requiring them to TEACH. This will help them take ownership of the solution and feel confident in their ability to not only learn it but teach others. Asking people to present gives them confidence, helps them get credit for their learning, and will go a long way to getting this person to truly take ownership of the solution.
B. Redirect barriers to solutions
1. When your team comes to you with barriers/limitations/challenges redirect the “problem focus” to a “solution focus”. When they come to you with a problem, ask them “how can we succeed despite this weakness?” Are other printers having this same challenge? Is there an alternative way to solve this issue?
C. Constantly assess the priorities. Often people find an issue and assume it’s a show stopper when it’s not actually that important. When you run up against a challenge, the very first thing that needs to be assessed is “can we live without it?” As a leader, it’s your job to help your people see the bigger picture. There are too many cases of implementations get stalled / derailed over trivial issues. Don’t let this happen.
So if you are a new customer shopping for a new web to print solution, don’t hesitate to reach us and we shall provide you with the right fit for your business.