Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Fight To Deliver Or Know When To Quit?

I didn't want a refund.
I wanted the job done properly.
Yesterday I sent a client document to a 3at1 print shop near my home. I needed 5 full colour copies, bound.

My client had a presentation at nine this morning and it seemed like a simple thing to send someone to drop off the electronic copy and then pick up the documents a couple of hours later.

And it was as easy as that. Except, when I got the documents around mid-day, I realsied the document had a number of pages upside down.

At first I was angry. Didn't the person doing the job actually check to make sure the pages were in the right order before binding them? So I took the documents to the shop. Luckily I found the owner of the shop, who looked at the document and understood what my complaint was. She agreed to redo the job and gave me two hours to come back.

I was killing time shopping for odds and ends when the call came. No, they didn't finish the assignment quickly. In fact, they never started on the job and could I please come back to take my refund?

She was very apologetic about it. But the bottomline was that, she felt her business was going to lose money if they redid my printing job, which was five copies of  an 11-page document in full colour.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Other than the fact that her quitting left me stuck late afternoon to try to find a print shop that would take on the job at such short notice, it was my first time  using the shop. So you can bet your two cents I won't be printing my client documents there again. But I also had to admire someone who could look at a difficult client situation and know when it's not in her best interests to get involved.

What do you think?

13 December update: The owner of the printing shop read the above post and sent me a very gracious apology, with a promise to do well in the future. I was impressed. I may even try them again.

Here are the new lessons I learnt from their apology.


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Honestly? I think she was short-sighted.

As your (hilarious) picture says "I don't want a refund - I want the job done properly". In this case I would never use that shop again. In a competitive business (and many people have their own printers too) this manager made a decision based on one job.

What she never took into account was your future business. It may have been better business wise for her to take a short-term loss on one job, and gain in the long-term by securing a future client. Not only did her business not provide good service the first time around, but she compounded the poor service by promising to correct it then reneging on that promise - for profit! How does she think she's going to make a sustainable profit if (a) her business messes up and (b) she then places the potential client in an even more difficult position by keeping her waiting two hours only to tell her sorry, I can't make any money off you - it's your problem, here's your refund.

Uh-huh! My feet would do the talking and I would not recommend or return to this place.

And now I'll get off my soapbox! :)
Judy(South Africa)

tiah said...

I'm with Judy. She hasn't just lost money on this one job, she has now, by doing this, lost money on all future business with you. Word of mouth means so much, and she's just lost that, too.

po said...

I think that's awful. If you make a mistake it has to cost you money to fix it, that's your mistake so your cost!

Corinna said...

I have to agree with Judy. In this instance this was a totally wrong decision that the shop owner/manager made. The initial mistake was theirs, and seeing what the job was one would think that she would at least suspect that there could be further business and it was therefore in her interest to correct that mistake free of charge. But to offer to do so and then renege on it and only let you know two hours later - she should have asked you for your cell number at the very least, when you returned to the shop, that for various reasons it was not going to be an option to redo the work, but offer a refund was a BAD business move. And word of mouth carries a deal of weight as we all know! Network, network.
And, should you have the time, I would think it would be a good idea to write a letter to this effect and drop it off at the shop, so that she is aware of exactly what she has done.

Damaria Senne said...

To be fair Corinna, she did call before the 2 hours were done to say "come get your money." But it was bad business all round.

And I talked to her about this when she offered me a refund - not about the fact that she'd lose my business etc, but I asked her for her reasons. And she just seemed tired and overwhelmed; kept apologising. My feeling us, she just wanted the problem to go away. And as a business owner, I can empathise. Unfortunately, the price for her is too high, because she assumed I was the owner of the business profiles I was printing (and would probably have limited printing work to bring anyway), not a service provider who could potentially bring more printing work for her clients.
So many lessons to learn from this experience ( for me too), which is why I posted this on TAVASA.

Gaynor said...

Plus, if this is the shop in Park Meadows I was thinking of getting a quote from for my 4,500 print copies from ... I certainly will NOT be taking my business there!!!!

Damaria Senne said...

yes, it's the place in park meadows. near wimpy.

Try Postnet at Eastgate. Their service was excellent and they were cheaper. they saved my bacon:-)
email Taurai at eastgate@postnet.co.za and ask him for a quotation.

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