What better way to prove your commitment to customer service than to send your back office, the people who do the hands-on work, off to visit customers to complement your sales force? Shepard Poorman Communications Corp., a $32-million printing company in Indianapolis, routinely sends its typesetters out to meet the editors whose manuscripts they work with daily.

Why bother? "They may not be slick salespeople, but they can solve problems for customers who didn't even know the problems existed," says vice-president for quality Don Curtis. He doesn't keep numbers on how the added investment in travel has paid off, but says customers are grateful, operations are more efficient, and product quality has improved.