Think paper is too down in the weeds? Too old school? Maybe to some, but give this some thought.
Paper is still the basis of office workflow in many organizations. It’s a touchpoint on millions of customer journeys and business relationships. Paper has been part of society for centuries. It was invented in China in 105 AD, and paper still has a place in our world. There’s no reason to be ashamed or defensive. We like paper. We’re comfortable with it. Xerox has been into paper since 1966. Heck, synthetic paper Xerox® Premium NeverTear paper has even been used by NASA astronauts in space.
The printed document’s value for any business is never as small or insignificant as it may seem at a casual glance. It represents customer experience and user experience. What does paper represent within your organization? It could be employee applications, purchase orders, service agreements, health records, financial applications, citizen forms and more.
Today the question isn’t whether to paper or not to paper, but how to use the paper you have better.
Here are some things to consider.
Document Quality and Customer Experience
If you want to create a positive impression, then the quality of your printed communications can’t be ignored. Documents are part of customer experience. The paper you choose for printing business documents depends on their intended place in your customer’s journey, and the impression you want to make.
You have many choices for printing documents for customers and employees:
- White office and textured paper
- Self-copying forms
- Synthetic labels
- Wide-format paper
- Heavyweight paper
- Creative photography materials
To some, these are just office supplies. To broader thinkers, each of these pieces of paper represents a touchpoint with a customer or other document user. Perceptions matter when it comes to business and relationships, so why take a risk with tacky or cheap printed documents? “Cheap” documents ding the reputation of your company, and smears don’t earn loyalty points.
Paper also matters because of its environmental impact. It’s not just millennials who prefer sustainable practices in organizations. Most consumers would choose sustainably sourced consumables over others.
Why Paper Matters Operationally
Besides making your business feel good to customers, there’s also an operational argument to the logic of paying attention to paper. If you need to use paper, pay at least a little attention to the quality and source. The consumables you choose make a difference.
Poor paper quality leads to:
- Unevenly printed or curled documents causing waste, duplication and delay
- Materials not ready on time because paper smeared or jammed in the printer
- Paper dust clogging printing equipment from, eventually causing downtime. Printer breakdown means maintenance costs or possibly even a replacement.
Don’t Let Bad Paper Bring You Down
Besides the impact on customer experience, bad paper wrecks employee productivity when a proposal or report or application can’t get through the printer in proper shape and must be redone or gets delayed.
Communications and document quality should be the easiest piece of your customer experience puzzle. It just takes a little effort to make sure you’ve covered all the bases. While you’re thinking about the paper that runs through your printers, why not pay a little attention to the printers, too. Start with this guide: “Your Printers Matter More Than You Think: How Smart Printers Drive Change and Improve Your Bottom Line.”