Sometimes, no matter what you do to serve your customers, clients, donors, etc., sh*t happens and it’s just bad luck. I get really frustrated when that happens because my company works hard to delight our clients. But, like many of you, you can’t win 100% of the time.
I am now managing a client relationship that I value. The nonprofit client hired us to copywrite, design, and print a corporate-style brochure. The process took over a year and we worked with two staff liaisons who have since left the organization. We made more copy revisions and design layout changes than stated in the client agreement, but we never asked for an additional penny.
Why not? We believe in the organization’s mission very much and have made donations to support it. Everything went well with the copywriting and graphic design, and if I say so myself, I am proud of my work on that. Where we ran into trouble was with the printing process.
One of our main trade printing suppliers got bought out by another supplier and we weren’t aware of it until we had problems with this offset brochure print project. The supplier acknowledged the errors and indicated that it would re-print the brochures, which it did.
We apologized to our client profusely and took the initiative to send the organization some complimentary digital brochures, from a different supplier, to tie them over while we waited for the offset re-print. Unfortunately, our client was displeased with both the digital brochures and the re-printed offset brochures. So, we are waiting to see samples of the re-printed brochures before taking the next step.
Of course, I feel awful about the situation. I’d like to continue the client relationship and win back the organization’s confidence. We simply ran into a supplier snafoo and it has affected the client’s perception of us. We care about the client and want to help the organization with its subsequent marketing collateral, but, have no idea whether we are toast now or not.
Why am I sharing this story with you?
Because no matter how good we may be at what we do, sometimes s**t happens and we are at a loss. We are often dependent on others to fulfill our responsibilities to customers. So, even when we go above and beyond for our customers and vet suppliers thoroughly, we cannot account for things going south on occasion. Yet, it is our company’s brand reputation on the line.
Has this happened to your company or organization? How did you handle it to retain the customer (client, donor)?
Have you ever had problems with a vendor? Were you satisfied with the outcome of their efforts? Any advice?