Get It In Writing

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.”


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