Printer struggles with new client’s designer

Answered by Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers

I’m a print supplier and have recently established a new relationship with a client who represents tremendous potential. The problem is that the relationship is long distance and the client’s desktop person lacks experience and is struggling to provide us with usable electronic files. We’ve been working on the project for quite a while and it is going nowhere. Several attempts have been made by our prepress department to coach the file preparation over the phone, but this hasn’t improved the situation. I don’t know how to help the client and I’m concerned about losing what could be a valuable account. Do you have any suggestions?

F. M.

I sympathize with this tough dilemma that you are facing. Here are a couple of suggestions that you may find useful.

If you haven’t done so already, talk frankly with the client about the situation. Ask for her help. Express your concerns about the project. Tell her what you’ve already tried to do to resolve the issue and ask her what she would suggest. Be sure to tell her how important her business is to you. Also, provide specific examples regarding the problems with the designer’s files. You’ll do best if you can find balance during this phone conversation: You need to be frank about the situation without being accusatory or bringing personalities into the discussion.

Since clients/print buyers have to manage costs and deadlines, it might be very meaningful to show your client the difference in what the job should cost (if the files were acceptable) and what the job would cost if you charged a fair price given the problem files. Demonstrate the same thing with the difference in time. Time and cost savings speak loudly to clients.

In addition to the above, you may also want to invest in traveling to see this client and working on site with the designer.

The chances are that other suppliers who work with this company have been experiencing the same problems. If you handle the discussions well, you may build a stronger relationship by helping this client resolve a problem they are probably often experiencing.
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