While talking with a print company CEO, I asked her why she thought print buyers like working with certain printers. Of course, I have my own opinions. There really are lots of reasons why we customers stick with printers over the years. It’s not usually about the product; it’s often about the relationship. Buyer and printer (specifically, the sales rep or service rep) have settled into a groove, a comfortable routine, that’s built on trust and familiarity.
One thing this CEO said stuck in my mind. When I asked her specifically why her clients prefer working with her, she quoted a good client who said:
“You call me with the good news. You call me with the bad.”
I immediately flashed back to my financial print-buying days, when I juggled production schedules of a dozen shareholder reports mixed in with prospectuses and other related financial print jobs. The stress level was pretty high during the busy seasons, and while we expected the printers to always come through for us, there were those inevitable, occasional delays and problems.
The printers I loved working with were the ones who told it to me straight. If a delivery date was threatened, they didn’t hide from me.
They called me up, shared the bad news, and were prepared to take the heat. Usually, they had a solution to salvage the situation.
Being upfront with your customers usually works best. If a proof is running late, or a delivery date can’t be met, or that special paper hasn’t yet arrived, don’t hide it. Tell your customers. They’d rather find out there’s a potential complication and hear how you’re resolving it than find out after the fact that you knew all the while there was trouble brewing.
What happens if a printer (substitute any “business provider” here) tap dances around bad news, to avoid confronting a customer? Loss of respect, for starters. Loss of trust follows. And very likely, loss of business.
In business, don’t deal in BS. Be straight with your customers. There’s too much you stand to lose when they find out you’re hiding something.
(c) 2015 Margie Dana