This episode is brought to you by the letter S…and a whole of lot of mistakes. As a stationer, you’re dealing with a process that’s chock-full of moving parts and problem-solving, so we’re tackling the six most common snafus we’ve run into with snappy solutions that will leave you saying “I got this” instead of “oh crap!”
SNAFU: Client approves printing proofs w/ spelling errors or incorrect information and they have already been printed.
SOLUTION: First of all, if this is not in contract, get it in there ASAP! (Or get our contract.) This is an area where it is the client’s fault because you will not know how to spell their middle name, etc. Let them know a reprint is needed, and charge accordingly. We recommend keeping it simple and leaving emotions out of it.
SNAFU: The item you desperately need to order is out of stock
SOLUTION: Check all of the other vendors who offer the same product or similar. A lot of stationers don’t realize they can be the SAME thing at another source. Do this before consulting with your client! If an item is out of stock and time is of the essence, finding a similar option is your best bet, and you will want to let the client know if this is the case. When to bring in the client is on a case by case basis. Example: a certain ribbon I always use was out of stock, so I got one that wasn’t exactly the same, but still navy silk ribbon, and crisis averted! Pssstttt…want to know where to get ALL THE THINGS? Check out the A-Z Directory.
SNAFU: Your client won’t provide the info you need to complete the project on time or won’t turn in a design round on time.
SOLUTION: Give them upfront timelines that they need to be aware of. Have a rush fee in place. Build in expedited shipping costs into your quote so if you need to rush you are able to. With invitations, you can let them know they won’t mail on time, and that usually gets them moving. Remind them EARLY and OFTEN about expectations and timelines.
SNAFU: You’re mailing invitations on behalf of your client and some of them are getting destroyed in the mail and/or returned.
SOLUTION: Have a contract/clause in your contract that lets your client know you cannot be held responsible for this, because there truly is NOTHING you can do. I like to order extras so I can step in as the “hero” when they need a few more sent out. This is up to your discretion, but I like the “extra mile” service. (Not like 25 extra, like 2-5.
SNAFU: The vendor you hired to print/produce your work did a terrible job or did something wrong & you need a reprint
SOLUTION: Reach out to the vendor to find a solution. Most of the time they are willing to reprint for free or at a discounted rate to make things right, depending on WHO made the error. If you can fix the error before the client knows, even better!
SNAFU: You do something wrong that disappoints the client (we are not perfect)
SOLUTION: First you cry. A lot. And then you put on your customer service hat, perhaps offering an additional item, like thank you cards, menus, or something like that. Or even giving the digital artwork files for free! Own up to your mistake if it truly was a mistake; being honest always pays off in the long run!