It’s not Your Fault the Job is Late…Think Again!

Often it is NOT your fault a job is late, but the customer is always right. A little humor goes a long way in a stressful situation. Both customer and printer are responsible for hitting deadlines and keeping in sync with each other. Communicating, giving updates and getting back to each other quickly to meet production schedules is critical to stay in front of the eight ball. Educate your customers when you miss a deadline.

Each month, we capture feedback from more than 3,000 print buyers. Over 95 percent of the comments are very positive, where the buyer praises the printer for doing a fantastic job. But 5 percent are complaints, typically about missing deadlines or missing the specifications.

When speaking with printing executives, they share that sometimes a missed deadline is for internal reasons such as down machinery or a missed handoff, but many times the customer contributed to the problem yet blames the printer. You may have heard these reasons why a missed deadline was critical:

1. Mailer got out too late to make a time-sensitive promotion effective.

2. Had to use outdated literature at trade shows.

3. Training class went without key information.

The list goes on. It is a shame to waste marketing dollars, but everyone has a responsibility to meet the deadline. The business mantra that the customer is always right makes these post-mortem conversations very touchy. Also, large organizations might have employees clinging to their jobs who need to serve up someone else for a botched marketing effort. The printer just might become the fall guy.

Politics and job preservation within large corporations are impossible to manage, but the following are a few things to consider to minimize missed deadlines and to put in effect a damage control process for when the inevitable happens.

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
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  • http://DavidRosenthal David Rosenthal

    “The Customer is always right?” One of mentors taught me years ago that “The Customer is NOT always right. But they are always the Customer.” And they have choices. They can choose to do business with you, or with your competitor.

  • http://MichaelCasey Michael Casey

    Good Point David,
    Customer is always right and they have choices. Many times printers are between a rock and a hard place where the customers need help staying organized so they don’t set you up for failure. The details can kill you and if they are not detailed it is up to us to help them or they will fail, we will fail, and no one wins and everyone is unhappy.