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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Provide Outstanding Customer Service as a Print-on-Demand Business

Beginner's handbook

How to Provide Outstanding Customer Service as a Print-on-Demand Business

How to Provide Outstanding Customer Service as a Print-on-Demand Business
Paula Scerbinina

By Paula Scerbinina

7 min read

When competitors are one Google search away, it might be hard for print-on-demand (POD) businesses to stand out. To do that, you have to go beyond just offering high-quality products.

So, what’s the secret sauce behind building a thriving company? It’s exceptional customer service.  

This article will guide you through the best practices you can implement as a POD entrepreneur to provide outstanding customer service and fuel your business growth. 

Why customer service matters for your POD business

Because there’s no business without customers, maintaining and nurturing the relationships with your clients is what pumps the blood in the veins of your business. 

A study found that a single negative experience with a brand would make 61% of customers seek out a competitor. Poor service costs you customers and damages your brand’s reputation. 

On the other hand, buyers who experience good customer service are more likely to leave positive reviews and make another purchase. 

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Customer service best practices

Great customer service turns any interaction with your brand into an experience worth reliving. At its core, it all comes down to being empathetic to your buyers at every point in the customer journey. 

Understand customer expectations

People’s expectations about buying a product or service affect everything—from how they view it to whether they’ll actually buy it. Your task is to decode those expectations and understand what holds significant value for buyers within the scope of your business. 

Most of the time, people form expectations based on previous experiences and existing knowledge about your brand. 

To understand your customers’ expectations, start by learning about your target audience. Go beyond demographics—dig into your audience’s preferences, reactions to similar products, and the potential reasons behind choosing your product. By matching the offering with customers’ needs, you generate higher demand for your product. You also form stronger relationships with buyers, making them feel understood. 

Provide clear production and shipping estimates

Many brands boast unrealistically fast production and shipping times to reel customers in. Instead of doing that, focus on providing the most accurate estimates. 

When calculating these estimates, consider circumstances like potential delays and make sure you can deliver what you promised. 

Transparency and clear estimates build trust and minimize misunderstandings. When you keep people well-informed from the very beginning, they feel valued and are more likely to become loyal and long-term fans of your brand.  

Provide clear listing descriptions and size charts

Sizing issues and unclear listing descriptions can cause confusion and disappointment and lead to negative reviews. No one wants to buy things that don’t fit. Introduce a comprehensive size chart for your custom t-shirts or other apparel to avoid these issues. 

printful size guide

Source: Printful 

You also need to include product listings that are well-detailed and accurate. There’s no reason to skimp on info when describing your products. But remember: no need to be overly enthusiastic. Customers know when brands are pumping up their products with artificial praise. 

Well-written descriptions and easy-to-understand sizing information encourage people to go through with a purchase. Accurate knowledge about what they’re getting will give buyers confidence in their choice.

Clarify the on-demand nature of your business

Don’t assume that everyone is familiar with how print-on-demand works. It’s likely that many of your first-time buyers haven’t heard about on-demand production before. 

Not providing a comprehensive description of the nature of your business may lead to confusion and turn potential customers away. 

That’s why your task is to explain how you operate as clearly as possible. Also, present this information right away during your audience’s first interaction with your brand to answer any questions before they even arise. For most buyers, it’ll be your website, but you can also display it on your Shopping Bag Page or order confirmation email. Take Printy Pets as an example—they describe how it works in three simple steps.

Print-on-demand clarification example

Source: Printy Pets

Let your customers know that their orders are custom-tailored, printed only after they are placed, and delivered directly from your printing partner. 

Offer multiple communication channels

Prompt, friendly communication is another key to outstanding customer service. One way to facilitate that is by making it easy to reach your brand. 

Ask yourself, how easy is it for customers to contact you? Think about offering multiple communication channels like social media, email, and phone. And remember to make this information easily visible. 

Because people differ in their communication preferences and schedules, providing numerous options to contact you will signal that you respect and care about customer satisfaction.

Offer free samples and discounts

Providing free, complimentary samples is one way to exceed your customers’ expectations. 

A cost-free, no-strings-attached experience with your product allows your audience to gain confidence in their decision, which cultivates trust. Combined, these positive outcomes directly contribute to the success of your business.

Another way to delight your customers is to provide a discount on their first orders or on bulk orders. For example, Printful offers a discount on orders of 25+ items; you can copy this approach or come up with your own.

By offering discounts, you deliver two benefits in one. You give people a chance to feel the quality of your product while saving them money (and still earning a profit).

Handle complaints quickly and with care

People tend to pay more attention to the negative aspects of whatever they encounter, your business included. That’s why handling and addressing customer complaints as empathically and urgently as possible is crucial.

If an issue arises, respond thoughtfully and respectfully right away. This will show customers that you value and hear them. 

In your message, explain how you’ll solve the situation, give a potential estimate of when a resolution can be expected, and end it with a thank you.  

While it might be unpleasant to deal with dissatisfied buyers, listening to and utilizing their feedback is a powerful way to improve your business. Your professional approach to handling concerns is the perfect chance to win an unhappy customer back. 

Ask for feedback and be open to improvements

Feedback is a treasure trove of insights for any business. Pay close attention to, learn from, and identify any common patterns in people’s comments. 

To get more of these insights and encourage your customers to leave reviews, ask for them proactively. Create a feedback form on your website, or send a survey to their emails after the item has been delivered. 

Use both positive and negative feedback to make improvements to your products. Then, share how you incorporated your customers’ suggestions to show you value their input. This will signal to people that you value their input, which, in turn, can result in greater engagement and increased loyalty to your brand.

Add a personal touch to delight customers

Research suggests that 71% of consumers now expect personalization. But how can you apply that to your business? 

Think about adding a personal touch to your customers’ next orders. For example, complement the delivery of your custom hoodies with a thank you note, a small branded gift, or a discount coupon. With Printful, you can personalize your orders with custom-branded packaging inserts—from postcards to stickers. 

Thank you note example

Source: Pinterest

This small gesture will surprise and delight customers, leaving a positive impression that they’ll remember. A pleasant buying and unpackaging experience makes buyers want to come back for more. 

Educate customers on care instructions

Educating your customers on proper product care won’t only extend the life of your products but will also improve your brand’s reliability. 

Plus, it’ll showcase your professionalism by showing that you’re well-informed about the specifics of your products, and committed to serving buyers in every possible way.

Inform buyers of care instructions by displaying the information on your website, adding it to packing inserts, or including it in post-purchase emails. 

Equip them with straightforward, easy-to-follow tips and highlight the benefits of following these instructions. Providing buyers with care instructions will increase their trust and promote responsible usage, which positively impacts your brand’s reputation. 

Engage with your community

Creating a sense of community around your business will make you seem more relatable and human, and consumers want brands to be more human

To create your community, get social and engage with your audience through various communication channels. Don’t only create content—reply, like, comment, and re-share their posts when they tag you. 

Share photos of the behind-the-scenes process, tell personal stories about your team, celebrate customer milestones, and keep people updated with sales, new products, and promotions. The benefits of engaging with your customers and creating a community include more sales, repeat customers, and word-of-mouth marketing. Simply put, this is the way to create a loyal fan base. 

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Final notes

Going the extra mile with your customer service isn’t rocket science—start by gradually implementing some of the tried and true tips above. By doing this, you’ll outrank your competitors and have happier and more loyal customers who’ll return for your products again and again.


By Paula Scerbinina on Sep 13, 2023

Paula Scerbinina

Guest author

A free-spirited creative with a psychology and marketing background, Paula spends her days creating stories for brands and individuals. Her heart belongs to writing, mental health advocacy, and beach volleyball.

A free-spirited creative with a psychology and marketing background, Paula spends her days creating stories for brands and individuals. Her heart belongs to writing, mental health advocacy, and beach volleyball.