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What a client wants

Some time ago, I received an e-mail from a client complaining about print reps. The job he mentions was not mine, but I found his comments interesting. Here’s what he wrote:

– I need a printing rep who will never try to talk me out of a design so that it can be molded or modified to fit their press better. I understand the partnership aspect of printing, and I can work with that, yet I do not accept printers making large changes to any pieces.
– I need a rep who imparts their printing knowledge and wisdom in a helpful manner.
– I need a rep who can foster a mutually respectful, friendly, and open relationship between prepress departments, pressman, and Train of Thought and its employees/contractors.
– I need a rep who takes quality assurance seriously, and delivers only jobs which are of the premium quality they know I expect; jobs that they know I will be proud to deliver to my clients.
– I need a printing rep who is not afraid to reject a job and send it back to be printed again until the spec and quality is completely met, regardless of the printer’s at-stake profit on the job.
– I need a printing rep who can price honestly and competitively.
– I need a rep who can set a deadline and deliver on that deadline, durn near every time.
– I need a printing rep who understands the value of nailing a spec, getting the colors consistent, nailing the registration, keeping the centering correct, and the cuts precise and straight — all through the entire run.
– I need a printing rep who knows that delivering neatly packaged samples (15 qty.) with each and every job are nearly as important as the job itself.
– I need a rep who gives a heads up when we need to make any special considerations or use any specific viewing settings in the proofing stage(s).
– I need a printing rep who understands the importance of face time, and does not push my jobs nor my deliveries to the end of the day or the back of the list.
– I am an understanding person, and I value health and family over business. I need a printing rep who appreciates that while not taking advantage of it.
– I need a printing rep who can respect my stated client/vendor relationships, and not ever challenge them, visibly or otherwise, in any way.
– I need a printing rep who understands that it is my responsibility to get multiple quotes, and I do it on every job. I do not always choose a printer based on price, but price is often a major factor.
– Lastly, I need a printing rep who can do all of this will a genuine pleasure and good nature, and know that I request it for the good of my business (and not for any shallow reasons or power trips).
– One other thing: I need printers who will take responsibility for checking the details/traps/overprint settings in files prior to running them, and who will give us the opportunity to correct our own errors before incurring correction costs.

I am an admittedly demanding client. I have to be because my clients are equally demanding and quality-conscience. It may not be the easiest approach, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So, I ask you to take a moment, take a deep breath, consider each item with clarity and objectivity. Are there any items in the above (non-negotiable) list which give you pause in working together? If so, no worries. If, however, this looks like a working relationship you can be truly happy to take on, then let’s talk briefly and get it rolling. If you have your own short list of requirements, I’m happy to take them into consideration as well.

My comments back:

Big list. Tall order. But, very doable.

As one who has been in this industry for 30+ years, and now have multiple great vendors to choose from, I see no reason to back away from your challenge. What you ask is what every good rep wants to deliver. So, I’m glad you put in the reality clause, “… durn near every time”, because you know that printing is a manufacturing process, with a lot of moving parts, whereby “things” happen, causing frustration for both client and vendor.

On price: The reality is that every price provided is market driven and client driven. If a printer is slow, they take more chances by lowering prices, taking away contingency costs, such as longer make-readies for exacting clients. If a client creates more costs for a printer on a continual basis, they get charged more. Honest pricing is a 2-way street. Many exacting designers I’ve done great work for knowingly pay more, as they will require extra make-ready time, pre-press time in making corrections to files submitted, extra proofs due to changes or alterations missed prior files being submitted. Still, these designers and clients push the limits and will pay for that service. I see no problem there. Both client and vendor have trained one another as to expectations.

On quality: I always try to match up vendors to clients needs. Price and quality are not exclusive all the time. One of my vendors takes on all other printer’s “problem” jobs that are more exacting than their capabilities. Yes, they are my most expensive vendor, but they ALWAYS produce the highest quality available in the Puget Sound region. And, if all my clients would pay their rates, I’d use them exclusively. Expectations are always met. Another vendor is very good, but lower cost. However, there are limitations. They don’t print hexachrome. They don’t print at 400 lpi or print a 10 micron stochastic dot. But, they print very good standard screen offset and offer very good digital services. They fall into the majority of my clients’ needs. Plus, they offer great service and are flexible.

About client relationships: I cannot believe you’d actually had to state, … respect my stated client/vendor relationships, and not ever challenge them …”. You’re the reason the printer has the business. No one should mess with that.

What this client provides is a treatise for any rep to follow. Basically, it says represent the company on the outside, be the client’s advocate on the inside.

Comments?

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About dberkey

[dberkeygroup] is your communication fulfillment team. We let you deal with your business, while we manage your communication and marketing projects. We deal with the "how", utilizing a variety of technologies to better manage your communication needs. Through a group network, dberkeygroup helps get your message out, from concept to completion. Why waste your time trying to figure out the "how" in your marketing efforts, when you should be spending time on the business you know? Some of the projects and goals we have helped succeed: - Cross selling products to various markets. - Fund raising with non-profits. - Generate more RFP opportunities. - Simplify a lead generating process. - Create brand awareness. - Help with trade show presence. Some projects involve creative people, such as graphic designers, writers and website developers. Others involve mail houses, printers (offset, digital or wide format). Other projects involve a mix of many sources. With [dberkeygroup], you only pay for what you need. No extraneous overhead, not lots of employees. We target with the best sources because how your clients see you is important. Our job is to make you and your business look good and make those projects as simple for you as possible.

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