When looking online to fulfil your personalised clothing needs, it’s important to keep in mind competition is very high in the UK. It doesn’t matter if it’s for promotional purposes, workwear or simply to start your own clothing label, there are many business printing services that offer tailored solutions for your specific needs.
So how do you weed out the good ones from the bad ones? I’m glad you asked because we’re about to explain what to expect from a great printing agency.
Great Customer Service
This one should be a no-brainer, but if you have ever called your Internet provider to complain about the WiFi that’s super slow during the night, then you’ll know that bad customer service is pretty rampant nowadays. “The customer is always right!” you may yell at the person who’s at the other end of the line and it won’t change anything. Because while there is some truth to that statement, the reality it is not as black and white.
As far as we’re concerned, great customer service is built upon four pillars: Communication, attention to detail, honesty and creativity. Simply put, customer service is about pleasing the customer, but not at the expense of the end product’s quality.
1 – Communication
The basis for any agency, or any company that offers a service, for that matter. Communication requires not only talking, but also listening and being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is a key element of good communication. A great account manager will:
- Have a good attitude
- Match your workflow
- Understand, but not be a “yes” person
- Listen to your ideas, but have their own
- Reply to your enquiries quickly
- Attention to detail
Personally, what I love about this quality is that it cannot be faked. One simply cannot learn how to be detail oriented, it is a skill you either have or don’t have. An account manager that’s detail-oriented will remember the particulars of your case, therefore, making you feel like their number one customer.
Be careful with the “Yes” sayers. We all want to work with positive people, but it is one thing to be an optimist and another to be deluded — often times the line that divides the two of them is very thin. A good account manager will let you know when things cannot be done or when a certain plan is not the best course of action.
Creativity not only applies to putting a design together or matching colours, creativity is also necessary when solving an issue or finding the best possible action for a particular dilemma. A creative account manager will sort things in unorthodox ways if necessary.
2 – Experience
Needless to say, an experienced agency will have more tools at their disposal to help you achieve your goals. The best way to corroborate an agency’s experience is by looking at their portfolio and testimonials.
When looking at an agency’s portfolio, look for work that might be similar to what you have in mind. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able to get the job done if they don’t showcase something that looks like your design, but it will ensure a degree of confidence when handling your project. Also, compare your company with the agency’s previous clients. If you’re in the same or similar industry then it will make the process easier since the agency is used to speaking your “language”.
When it comes to portfolios and what people should look in them, there are two schools of thought: The first one will tell you to look for small portfolios with jaw-dropping work, while others will prefer a big portfolio with a great variety of jobs. Personally, I prefer something that falls somewhere in the middle. A medium sized portfolio that shows a range of great and amazing work.
It’s trendy now to have testimonials plastered all over an agency’s website. But be wary though, because testimonials can be taken out of context and sometimes even faked. A red flag to look for when reading testimonials is a vague tone. For example “The service is great!” is a good review, but it doesn’t say anything specific about the customer’s experience which means it could have been easily faked.
Don’t be afraid to ask for information
Any serious company will make their portfolio and testimonials easy to consult. If you cannot find them, don’t be afraid to ask. A good agency should have sources and provide access to previous customers to prove their experience.
3 – Industry Knowledge
And with experience comes knowledge. In the apparel customising world, industry knowledge will let you know what are the best printers, couriers and garments to get the best possible results.
Besides great value for money, a good T-shirt printing company should also help you adjust your printing budget and expectations, giving the customer information about how the printing techniques work and their limitations.
Resources should be offered on how to create a print-ready artwork file or can at least consult you on it. It’s fundamental for your personalised clothing to achieve the best quality possible.
For example, screen printing services are not suitable for runs smaller than 25 units, though it offers a great finish and price for solid-colour artwork designs. Screen printing services are quoted based on setup screens for each colour and position of print, so the more colours and positions you have on your designs the more costly it makes the T-shirt printing.
Varied Printing Techniques
At Printsome we’ve built our IT systems to enable our customers to get the best printing experience possible. We offer a vast range of T-shirt printing services in the UK, from screen printing, transfer printing and cad cut vinyl through to embroidery services and direct to garment printing (DTG) – the newest printing technique available on the market, providing high-resolution prints for intricate and complex artworks (such as photographic images).
A healthy Catalogue
T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, vests, sweats, caps or bags are some of the garment printing options your T-shirt printing company should be able to provide you with in order to suit your business’ marketing needs. Choose the blank garment that suits your branding colours and strategy, and make sure to look for advice about how to get the best out of it.
Any sensible printing agency will provide you with a visual sample of what your design will look like before sending it to production. Due to various constraints, it is impossible to create a 100% faithful render of what the final garment will look like, but it should be as approximate as possible. It is also important to note that a good company will never send the garment to print before the customer approves the visual.
Any respectable printing agency will offer several delivery options depending on your situation. Here at Printsome, we offer a standard (five to ten days) and an express service (two to four days).
Returns and Exchanges
Be very wary of a service provider that does not offer a return policy. A company that does not offer a return policy shows little trust in their own product.
4 – Goes beyond printing
A printing agency should be more than a printing agency. Let me explain. Any company that solely exists on the realm of their business, like an island, it’s extremely suspicious. A trustworthy agency should develop relationships with other companies and past clients.
Active on social media
Does the printing agency have social media profiles? It should. Follow them, look at what people are saying. A serious brand is active on social media, sharing relevant content and engaging with users, but not spamming.
— Printsome (@Printsome) September 1, 2016
Has a marketing department
It’s not just about the sales. Or at least it shouldn’t be. A marketing department proves that the agency is serious about what they’re doing and wants to be a leader in their field. The marketing strategy also reflects the personality, values and morals of the company — showing further if they’re worthy of earning your business
T-shirt Printing for Designers
Thanks to our five years of experience in the apparel-printing industry, we are able to offer a service catered towards the needs of designers and creative directors. Printsome’s apparel-printing services are perfect for streetwear collections, T-shirt lines and merchandise, among many other possibilities.
From the moment you get in touch, one of our ‘printing experts’ will answer all of your questions and find efficient solutions to your needs. It is our mission to help your career flourish. Thanks to high-quality garments and cutting-edge printing techniques, we can produce almost any design. Printing T-shirts has never been this easy.
Why worry about inventory or logistics when we can take care of that? We deal with the boring stuff so you have more time to do what you love. To find out more, simply visit our website.