I tried to read blogs for a bit and calm down before I wrote this post. Too bad, didn’t work.
Kinko’s just messed up. A lot. You could call it a training problem, which it is, but the result is that we are putting too much time into a simple task.
We want business cards for when myself and Jade go to the awards banquet for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 100 Fastest Growing Companies this thursday. (No, we don’t know where we are ranked yet, and yes, I will tell you on friday.) I went last friday to Kinko’s, and placed the order. The guy who took my order seemed to know what he was talking about, and we arranged for me to see the proofs on Monday. So far so good.
Monday comes. I realize that I would rather my title be Client Services than Marketing Strategist (perhaps I will blog later on the power of titles) so I call up Kinko’s, and they make the change. So I will go in to see proofs today.
I realize this morning that I wanted to make another change, so I drive over there so I know that, with this last change, the cards are perfect and ready for the volume run of 100 each. The assistant manager is manning the desk, and he helps me.
The short version: the guy who originally took my order has no clue how the system works. The project had gotten stalled in India (where they outsource document creation) because the work order was not clear. And so the project had been put on hold.
Do they have my phone number? Yes. Do they call me? No.
And the project sits. Until I walk in because I wanted to change something, and the manager figures out that the project is hosed.
So now tomorrow we will have one of our designers work on it. A good use of her time? Hell no. She can design beautiful websites and code them into HTML. And tomorrow, albeit for less than an hour, she will be making business cards.
Because Kinko’s is not quite up to the task.
So I am still highly frustrated, bordering on angry, but let’s talk about how you and me can avoid doing the same thing.
First, being in communication with clients is crucial. Is the project on time? Great, call and tell them. I would have no problem with Kinko’s calling me yesterday just to say “hey Brian, just wanted to tell you that the project is going smoothly and you can expect your cards to be ready Wednesday at noon.” So talk to your clients. So simple, but so powerful.
Second, if something goes wrong, call and tell them. Doesn’t have to be right away- take a few minutes to figure out a solution, and then call and tell them that you can’t make the deadline, or whatever, and here is how you are going to solve the problem. Remember to make no excuses.
An example of this is me telling Ian (the boss) that there were problems with the business cards getting printed. I waited to go in and vent about general business stupidity until we had scheduled the time for them to get done and everything was as solved as it could be. So when asked a question about how I was going to fix it, I could say, I have it under control, it will be fine. Now, if you are talking to clients, better to give them a bit more information, if it is relevant to them.
Thirdly, don’t screw up in the first place. It is so much easier to not make a mistake than to make a customer happy again. In the big picture, this is not even a really big problem- no clients got mad, no one got hurt- just a bit of extra work. But I am still mad enough to blog about it and grumble a lot.
I will use Kinko’s again if I need something done right away. But continual good service forever will not lead to me trusting them again.
Your clients may have shorter memories. Don’t count on it.