I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks trying to get a project wrapped up for a client. Â We need some things professionally printed. Â They aren’t complicated, but we were hoping for around 100-200 pieces and we need to get a proof to my client before he can sign off on doing it. Â I used to work in a publications office and that was pretty standard back then – can’t imagine it is so different now. Â I contacted a printer I’ve used before and I really like him. Â Except after discussing the projects and promising a quote, he’s disappeared off the face of the earth. Can’t get him to answer phone calls or emails. Just gone. Â Okay, no big deal, right?
SEVEN printers later, I have two quotes. One came with two sentences of “we’re here in the mornings to talk about this” and the other doesn’t even have any text on the email! Â And worse? Â One of them sent me a note back the first time around telling me why they couldn’t take on the project (too small of a quantity, etc.). Â I had to write back additional questions to get them to consider the job! Â Four of the others didn’t return phone calls or emails and the fifth one was very service-oriented, but was three dollars a piece higher than is in the budget. So now I will take my business to the people that at least have some information in their email, but I am left feeling extremely unhappy with the whole experience and will continue looking for a good printer.
Can you imagine your customers feeling like this? Â I’ll bet big money the owners of these print shops have no idea this is what I’ve gone through. Â I’m confident they are all (most) nice people who care about their businesses. Â I am hoping nothing bad happened to the first one! Â But, at the end of the day, six printers will lose business because I couldn’t get them to do their jobs. Â It has been said before, but obviously could do with repeating:
Respond to people – if you are not going to be in the office, set up an out-of-office message and TEST IT.
Every communication with a customer or prospect is a marketing piece – be sure you represent yourself well at all times.
When sending quotes or contracts, keep in mind this is an email that will be saved so make sure you put some context into the email itself.
Talk about what you CAN do. Â Can’t run 100 pieces? Â Tell the prospect you can run 250 and 100 is not in their best interest due to the high cost.
Follow up. Â Not one single company has followed up on their information. It was left to me to handle.
Don’t make things hard for customers because they won’t do business with you. Â Instead, make it easy because service is everything!