Be the best… so someone else gets the business

I’ve always felt the customer is king and we’d be nothing without our customers. The one thing I would never want to do is annoy or upset the great loyal customers we have.

My policy has always been to be the best – offer the right price, offer the best service, get back to the customer immediately and stand out. This is what we do well but this year I’ve seen this to be at our detriment. People come to us because we’re one of the best and I’m more than happy to compete with companies that value customers and our own industry as much as we do however there are some competitors who insist on bringing this fantastic industry down.

Recently I had a customer request 1000 pens with a value of £500 but we wanted to stand out and be the best as usual so the price was on their desk 10 minutes later with a visual proof mocked up and with them 1 hour later. from there they asked us to come in to have a quick chat which I did the next day, I asked the customer if I was competing just out of interest which I was but the other company still hadn’t come back with a price. Three days later I chased this up and the job had gone to the other company because they were £50 cheaper overall. I didn’t say anything but inside I’m wondering what our high levels of service actual mean. The other company doesn’t go in to see them so that means we can get rid of our company cars, the other company work from home which means we can sell our offices, the other company takes 2 days to send a quote which means our levels of service can go out the window, the other company don’t produce visual proofs so we can make our in house designers redundant and now that we’ve lost most of our staff, got rid of our premises and slashed our profit margin we can compete again.

But we have no intention of changing what we do – we have won countless industry awards , we see time after time customers coming back after a job goes wrong and we are happy to have them back, but do feel frustrated when I know we have all the things in place to service every need of our customers, for some back bedroom operator with a nice website to steal the business for a few pennies.

We remain true to our word – we are a service company , we always try to go the extra mile, and we have hundreds of loyal customers who use us day in and day out – who over the years have become more than customers, and to those we feel we must turn our attentions, and to continue to improve our service to you.

There is an old saying , and its even more true today than ever before:

“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”- Aldo Gucci.

We make no excuses for maybe not being the cheapest on all our products , but we only buy from quality manufacturers and long may this continue.

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LSi Make It Easy

I’ve decided to burn all our promotional merchandise and corporate clothing brochures with immediate effect….. obviously I haven’t discussed this with our MD yet!!!

More and more I worry that a brochure pigeon holes us to what is in the brochure and this worries me because our industry is so vast. I say with no exaggeration that our business is amazing, we have over a million products to offer but more than anything we want to offer a solution and no brochure is ever going to offer that.

If I asked 50 customers if they wanted a brochure to choose a product they thought might work OR speak to a specialist who can advise them on what has worked for others and more importantly what hasn’t worked then I know 50 people would want the latter and that’s what LSi is based on.

We’re not sales people – we’re advisors and we only want the best for our customers because we want you to keep coming back for the next 50 years.

So for any customer that’s reading this – feel free to throw all and any brochures you have in the bin and put 01274 854996 on speed dial.

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Do you get what you pay for???

Instead of talking about clothing or promotional merchandise I’m going to rage about something that happened to me this weekend…the purchase of a fireplace. Not a fire just a fireplace.

My dad told me to go to a discount fireplace store as it was cheap…so I did. I bought a fireplace I was happy with with their delivery date of the following week. That following week no fireplace – I had to call them to find out it was a week late. One week later they came to fit it. This was a weekend in November, it was cold, wet with leaves all over the floor. Did the fitters put down sheets and take their shoes off when in my house – NO. I had to ask them to after my carpet was nice and marked. It doesn’t end there. When I bought the fire I asked if I could have downlighters in and they were happy to take another £100 off me for this. They never thought that with the downlighters in unless I had good depth to my fireplace my fire actually wouldn’t fit…which it didn’t. Then the hearth should have been 15″ depth and it came at 18″ depth and I accepted this but they had to cut my carpet to fit it. They messed this up totally and when they were fitting the electrics I realised why – I asked them which one of them was an electrician and both were joiners….not electricians and not carpet fitters. The fireplace went back and I hoping for it to be delivered this week but I will now have to fit it myself because I have no faith in the company and I don’t want them in my house BUT because they have ALL my money up front I’m stuck. It’s a long winded story I know but it’s 100% true and I blame myself. I was greedy and instead of paying the right price for the right product I accept that I’ve got the right product I wanted but I’ve bought it cheap and ended up with cheap service, people who have no idea what they are doing and the finished product had every chance of looking cheap once fitted by Mr Bodge It. This reminds me of this industry and the people who play at it. We are the specialist in what we do and we do it right. I totally accept that we are not the cheapest company out there but we’re the best and after my experience I want to distance myself from the word and feeling of CHEAP.

If I could do it all again I’d pay the right price and be happy with the finished result.

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Buy with confidence

It seems like every time I come on here I’m trying to preach something or moan about something….well nothing has changed – please see below….

Everything I hear lately is bad news, every other week there is someone linked to this industry going out of business, we’ve seen one of the largest gift houses go under in the past two years along with a lot of smaller ones. This year we’ve seen an increase in these companies going under and it’s very sad to see, many people have been put out of a job and many of our the manufacturers we use have been left with bad debts making everything more difficult for the rest of us.

We’ve always felt that we’re at the top of the game, not that it protects us but the companies we deal with are always very loyal and we offer such a good service I feel that we do very well in bringing on board new business. I’d say we’re the Marks and Spencer’s of promotional items – you pay for what you get with us and I don’t mean this in a big headed way, I’ve worked here for 10 years so I’ve competed with the good and the bad so I know what I’m talking about. It would be easy for me to leave LSi and start up my own company working from my bedroom undercutting the whole industry but the minute something goes wrong I’m washing my hands of the problem because I can’t afford the problem. I always talk about this and use the example of travel insurance because I travel a lot. When I go to a price comparison site and give them the info of the trip and it comes up with my cheapest option at £7 and then the more expensive companies below – I have never bought the £7 policy – I scroll down and I buy with confidence with a brand name I can trust so that if god forbid I break my leg on holiday I have total confidence my policy will cover me – pick me up and get me home.

This is how I see LSi – the brand name that WILL have problems on a job over the years we trade with our customers but WILL also put the problem right.

I can tell you all day long about how LSi is a sound choice and you can buy with confidence from us and how we’re not going to go out of business but it’s just words. If you want to trade with us speak to me or my team, we can put you in touch with customers we’ve dealt with for 10 years plus and you can speak to them directly about who LSi really are.

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