Thursday, September 30, 2010

Have you hugged your vendor lately?

I can happily report that we've had several print projects through our doors recently—thanks to our great clients, Northwestern University in Qatar and Sony Electronics.

Some have gone stupendously! Some, not so great.

For the stupendous jobs, we get hugs (!) and accolades. For the not so stupendous jobs, well, those typically involve a lot of conversations. Client to agency, agency to vendor, vendor to agency, agency internally, agency to client—until we reach a resolution.

What clients remember is the last job—which is why quality, excellent service, and a willingness to collaborate when things go south must be non-negotiable.

Having a good relationship with your vendors and clients is the difference between resolution and absolute frustration. The extent of the relationship you develop with them will come into play in situations that are less than desirable.

Try as you may to print the perfect job, the print process is not perfect—in fact, there are a lot of variables. From photo quality to image resolution and saturation to your paper and varnish selections to the quantity you’re printing to the way the press sheet is laid out, each of these elements has an effect on the final product.

Your vendors are, officially, the last guys on the totem pole and, when a job's not done right, unfortunately, it negatively affects a clients opinion, which, depending on the severity of the mistake(s), could ultimately result in loss of a client—not good!

Do your vendors have a proven track record? Do they do good quality work? Do they keep on top of your jobs? Do they work to meet your needs? Do they collaborate and problem-solve issues when they arise? Do you feel comfortable expressing your disappointment when things go awry?

If you answered no to more than 2 of the questions, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the people you’ve chosen as your partners. Bottom line, if they fail, you fail. You are only as good as the vendors you choose.

Trust is as important in business as it is personally. Put yourself in good hands, you won’t regret it.

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