Why Customers Walk Away —Morgan

Ask for Feedback. Establish frequent and open communication with your buyers and request feedback for past jobs. Ask how your company can improve and what changes they would like to see. Learn what’s working, and what isn’t. Print buyers will share their thoughts with you, if you just ask the right questions.

“I always find it best to be direct with a supplier,” contributes Gary Hansen, a vice president/production director. “If I tell a vendor that I am ending my relationship with them, it would not have been the first time I spoke to them about having a problem. The supplier would have seen it coming.”

And, keep in mind some print buyers literally keep tabs. Kim Kailey, a senior print buyer at Boy Scouts of America, keeps a track record of previous issues. “We keep a log of problems that would be cause for concern and share this information (usually several instances later) when we decide that the relationship is not a ‘good fit’ for our company.”

Listen, Don’t Lecture. Some buyers walk away without notice because they don’t want to argue. One print buyer shared, “In my experience, most printers want to debate the decision, and such a decision comes after a long process of trying to negotiate our needs. If they are not listening before the ‘firing,’ then I don’t have time for them after I have cut the strings.”

Another agreed: “A lot of print vendors will not take ‘no’ for an answer. They keep pushing to get another chance. I begin avoiding them until they get the point that I don’t want to deal with their company.”

“I try to be direct, but I have to admit that sometimes I do take the route of avoidance,” contributed a senior print buyer. “I’ve found that even though a print supplier wants you to be honest with them, they don’t take the news too well. It typically ends up with my having to justify my position over and over—and having to endure phone call after phone call. Sometimes avoidance is just easier.”

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