Why Customers Walk Away —Morgan
Acknowledge Mistakes. If something goes wrong with a project, print buyers are more likely to continue sending you work when you are willing to admit your part in the mishap. As one of our members shared, “Rarely would I end a relationship with a printer based on one mistake. The test of a person or company is how they respond after they make a mistake.”
When a print buyer is dissatisfied with a project, arrange a formal meeting with them—on their turf. This is a clear signal that you acknowledge their concerns, and will make every effort to accommodate them. Ask the print buyer to create an agenda outlining the major issues they wish to discuss. During the meeting, listen without going on the defensive. Let buyers share their frustrations at length, and then brainstorm together how to eliminate or minimize the problems.
Lastly, follow up after the meeting with a letter summarizing what you have worked out and detailing the quality assurance procedures you will follow on future orders. By clarifying all expectations, confronting problems directly and developing an action plan with your customer, you should be able to work through most production problems.
Don’t Burn Bridges. “If it’s a supplier with whom I’ve had an ongoing working relationship, I think it’s only right to be straightforward and tell them why I’m severing the ties, be it quality issues, cost or customer service,” noted Robin Norman, production manager at The Jewish Publication Society. “This way, the supplier can address the issues, and it may allow us to work together again in the future.”
Another print buyer concurred. “I never completely end any relationship with a vendor. Our print community is too small to burn bridges. If a client requests a vendor that you have ended the relationship with, then it is awkward. I usually speak with my reps, and tell them why I am dissatisfied and let them know that they will have to sit it out on the next few projects.”