Who is Crazier... Our Clients... Or Us?
Anyone who has been in our industry a while has a few client horror stories to tell. I am no different. I do like to think, however, that in every cloudy rant there is a lesson that can be learned. This column isn't just an opportunity to gripe, but to commiserate together and think about what it is that makes us successful. In the end, I'm happy to play Dr. Jeff and give you the opportunity to vent.
Here are a couple of my favorite horror stories.
We were called on to provide client appreciation gifts for an event. Typically these products are a bit higher end, but this time the client decided they wanted to give away an inexpensive grocery tote bag. The budget was too low to do something nice, but we proceeded within their parameters. (Warning sign # 1.) All the samples we provided were determined to be too "cheap." Really? How much can you expect from a bag that's a dollar and change? Could four different quality suppliers all have provided inferior products? (Warning sign # 2! Trouble ahead!)
Ultimately they settled on a laminated bag from one of our favorite suppliers, American Ad Bag. The order was delivered in plenty of time for the event and I was a bit surprised when the client called and said the bags were "defective." They initially said they weren't happy with the way the bags were folded (we found out that is the way they come from the factory). Next, they complained that the bags fell apart when something was put in them. I went to see the bags for myself and tried to explain that their expectation for this product were perhaps a bit unrealistic.
They finally told me these bags were unacceptable as client appreciation gifts. I was taught in business school that the customer is always right (maybe not?). Here is where supplier relationships come into play. American Ad Bag agreed to issue a call tag for the rejected bags. Keeping in mind that now this is a rush order, they went on to overnight another sample bag, which the client accepted. This left only two days for production to meet the "in hands" event date. Ultimately, this all worked out. I'm SO thankful to work with a quality supplier that went above and beyond the call of duty to help us take care of this client and make us look like heroes! Thanks American Ad Bag!