Friday, November 9, 2012

The Customer is Always Right?

I have over the last couple of weeks been dealing with a well known print media group concerning placing an eight page spread into one of their well known publications. It’s an annual insert and we complete all the design work ourselves within their specified guidelines and send it to them in pdf format. For them, its money for jam or at least that’s my opinion.

Albeit that from our side it does require a lot of copywriting and design work which is extremely time consuming, the process is generally straightforward and with it having gone so well in previous years, we stuck to the process we know works best for us.

This year included in the cost, was the services of the publication’s design person should we require it. It was communicated to us as an optional extra and at no point were we told that it's a prerequisite. We knew exactly what we wanted to achieve from the advertorial and felt safe in the knowledge that our own graphic design people were on the same page as us. For this reason we kept it internal which essentialy gave us creative oversight, after all, this is how we had successfully done it in the past!

It turns out that their internal design person has ego issues and felt somewhat shunned when notified that we would again be doing it ourselves. This same individual is responsible for final approval and as it turned out, all of sudden our layout wasn’t good enough.  She referred to their guidelines and pointed to some very petty differences of opinion.  We did our best to accommodate them and went backwards and forwards making last minute changes just to appease her.

I could not get away from the distinct feeling that we were being messed around by somebody who was doing so simply because she could.

One particular episode which to my mind is unforgivable, involved her badmouthing us to colleagues. At the time, we were on the telephone to them and evidently, she had no idea we could hear her ranting in the background.

How this story ends......

Next year when they come to us wanting to know why we went with one of their rival publications (which I suspect they will as we are not talking small numbers), a certain young lady whose name is truly emblazoned on my mind, will get an honourable mention. 

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager


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