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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.

 

Do Printers Respect Their Customers?

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Honestly, I believe most printers do. The majority of print reps and print CEOs I’ve known over the past 20 years have been professionals in every sense of the word. And for the most part, they sincerely respect their customers.

But from time to time I come across people on the Internet who are so bitter, so angry (at who knows what), that a seething disrespect for their customers is reflected in everything they say or write. Sometimes it’s blatant.

I bring this up because, thanks to social media, we’re all into sharing these days. We share on Facebook and Twitter. We share in our own blogs. We share when commenting on others’ blogs. We create videos and presentations and share these, too.

This freedom to share can quickly turn into a license to rant. Is nothing sacred? Evidently not. Some people don’t know enough to edit themselves, and without thinking of the Internet’s far-reaching effect, they let loose about business complaints that are really personal gripes.

It’s a content-crazy free-for-all, I tell you, made possible by all manner of new media, and this power sometimes goes to people’s heads. Their true colors are unleashed like the evils in Pandora’s box. Give them a key (or a keyboard) to free their pent-up resentment and whoosh—out comes a string of nastiness for all the world to see. Try taking that back.

I’ll bet you know a few people like this. They don’t give a sweet patootie about being print partners or helping customers solve problems. They bad mouth their competition as well. In general, their heart-on-their-sleeves is more of a chip-on-their-shoulders.

Personal situations aside (who among us hasn’t had to deal with difficult customers), a propensity to disrespect one’s customers should not be made public.

When you have no regard for your customers, they know it. When you badmouth your competition to your customers, they form an opinion of you, and it’s not pretty.

With all of the printers competing for business these days, why would buyers choose to work with a printer who clearly doesn’t respect his/her customers? They wouldn’t. They’ll choose someone else. And they’ll tell their friends and colleagues to steer clear of you, too.

So, for the record, I’m suggesting that print reps and CEOs keep their customer complaints off the record. Rant all you want to your friends and family. Just stay away from the Internet, where nothing is private.

I am not saying every customer is respectful of printers. I listen to print customers talk shop. As they say, this door swings both ways. If I’m in a position to defend printers, I do.

Bottom line: Take the high road on the Internet. Protect your reputation. And don’t feel the need to share everything that bugs you.

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Will Glassman - Posted on September 22, 2010
Well said, but let's not forget an important issue that no one wants to talk about - greed, collusion and graft. Unfortunately, even with modern oversight methods in place, payoffs still take place on a regular basis which makes fair trade impossible and business decisions made for the wrong reasons.
Margie Dana - Posted on September 21, 2010
Dustin and Ron, Thanks for your posts. I hate to see this sort of negativity online, in any public forum, as it serves no purpose. Customers and prospects can sense this right away if someone's not careful. I have seen it recently myself and it does the print industry a disservice. We have to be extra careful today, when everything ends up on the Web.
Dustin LeFebvre - Posted on September 21, 2010
I've seen a lot of this behavior, especially in print industry associations. I believe this negativity is a response to the dynamic nature of the industry, and is born out of an inability or lack of willingness to evolve, learn, and grow with it. Needless to say, one should always obey the golden rule.
Ron Fox - Posted on September 21, 2010
I think part of the rant deals with not understanding the client's motivation for a specific decision or action. I have issues when a client does something that appears to be adverse to their own best interest and I can't figure out why. Another area of frustration is when an employee makes a decision in his/her best interest and not the company. That I can understand but seldom like.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Will Glassman - Posted on September 22, 2010
Well said, but let's not forget an important issue that no one wants to talk about - greed, collusion and graft. Unfortunately, even with modern oversight methods in place, payoffs still take place on a regular basis which makes fair trade impossible and business decisions made for the wrong reasons.
Margie Dana - Posted on September 21, 2010
Dustin and Ron, Thanks for your posts. I hate to see this sort of negativity online, in any public forum, as it serves no purpose. Customers and prospects can sense this right away if someone's not careful. I have seen it recently myself and it does the print industry a disservice. We have to be extra careful today, when everything ends up on the Web.
Dustin LeFebvre - Posted on September 21, 2010
I've seen a lot of this behavior, especially in print industry associations. I believe this negativity is a response to the dynamic nature of the industry, and is born out of an inability or lack of willingness to evolve, learn, and grow with it. Needless to say, one should always obey the golden rule.
Ron Fox - Posted on September 21, 2010
I think part of the rant deals with not understanding the client's motivation for a specific decision or action. I have issues when a client does something that appears to be adverse to their own best interest and I can't figure out why. Another area of frustration is when an employee makes a decision in his/her best interest and not the company. That I can understand but seldom like.