This topic is not something new, but I’m always surprised that it happens as frequently as it does. At best, the result of not communicating in writing with a customer is reprinting the job, at worse, it’s the lawsuit which occurs because the “printer” did not do what was “expected.”
I was contacted this week by an irate print buyer who was in litigation with a printer. What was it about? The printed piece was not meeting the buyer’s expectations. I could go into all the details about press OKs and broken agreements, but the real issue was that the printer did not communicate in writing — and now there is an I said/you said argument, which will more than likely burn up a lot of time and money. When it’s all said and done, no one will win — other than the attorneys.
Why do we continue to have a problem with communicating in writing? Too often, we insist that this is not a necessary step because “we don’t do business that way;” or, “we’ve have never had a prolem.” Here’s a situation where if the printer would have placed the information in some form of writing – time of Press OKs; expectations of quality; cost of alterations; and in this case, the verbal “settlement,” the courts would not be involved and the printer would have been paid for the work rather than letting the legal system [hopefully] collect for him. Just as important, the customer wouldn’t be yelling from the rooftops telling everyone about the un-ethical people work at XYZ Printing.
I continue to see more and more buyer’s of printing who do not know what is customary in our business. I also see more sales reps in our industry who do not know what is appropriate regarding business practices. More importantly, we are all extremely busy (buyers/print producers) and too often discussions are forgotten or disregarded; so, why not send a quick email to your customer reminding them about the press check at 4:00 a.m. next Saturday or that the additional 4 pages is going to cost them $3,500 or that the laser proofs will “simulate” final color of the product?
If you took your car to the dealer to be repaired, would you rather have a written quote on the costs to fix the grinding noise you hear under your feet or a, “Oh, yeah that sounds like a problem with the transmission, it shouldn’t cost too much.”