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Poor customer relations.

Discussion in 'Living Room' started by Bran, 3rd Feb, 2016.

  1. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    I've employed (to this point) a budding graphic designer, who has a brand new business. Here is some of our communication. I employed her as a trial, given she was new to the scene and I thought I'd give her a go.

    Am I being too critical? Here are some representative emails (the rest were logistical).



    Hi B,

    Thanks for that. It will probably have to be A5 or A4 - too much text for DL. My commercial printer does min 250 so if you only need 100 you might have to get them printed yourself or take the file to office works or something. I will get you a printing quote anyway once I figure out what size will be required.

    I'll have a draft to you by Thursday.

    Thanks,
    Louise


    Hi B,

    Attached are some revisions. With jobs like this, the more information/instructions you give, the closer the result will be to what you’re after and the quicker it will take. I thought we discussed doing it more like a flyer rather than on your letterhead, but could have done the more simple letterhead design first if that was what you were after. Also do you want to put an exact date on it? I’m not sure when you’re going to send them out. Also not sure if you want to keep your PO Box address on there.

    Let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Louise

    Hi Bran,

    Can you please confirm that you made the payment of Invoice 0224 that was due yesterday? I sent it on July 24. I have the letterheads waiting ready to sent to print, but I am hesitant to pay for more printing for you until that invoice has been cleared.

    Many thanks,
    Louise

    Hi bran, unfortunately my Mac is in for repairs this week so I can do this next weekend for you if you can wait until then. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Thanks,
    Louise


    This was sent on the due date, yesterday...

    Hi Bran,

    Can you please make sure Invoice 236 gets paid today if it hasn’t been already. I have attached it again for your reference.

    Thanks,
    Louise

    Hi Louise

    I have received the letterheads, but not the flyers. I've recieved a single box containing four packs of the letters

    Please let me know when it's coming? Will pay when it does

    Thanks

    Sent from my iPhone



    Hi bran, they were dispatched yesterday so they should arrive today. The payment was due yesterday.

    Thanks, Louise



    Today,



    Hi bran,

    Did you receive the flyers? Could you please let me know when you have made payment.

    Thanks,
    Louise


    My response this morning... too harsh??

    Hi Louise

    Yes, I have, and have made payment.

    You have an interesting manner in dealing with clients, particularly with such a new business. As a director of several companies as well as a surgeon, I'm not used to people whom I employ to provide a service effectively berating me - which you have several times.

    Cheers
     
  2. Depreciator

    Depreciator Moderator Staff Member

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    She's running very lean and possibly has had some people not pay her so she's nervous. Might have suppliers chasing her for payment, too - was she paying the printer and then getting payment from you? Good of you to give her a go. Maybe a bit harsh.
     
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  3. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't mind the chatty style, but she has sort of given you "the chat" a few times -

    I thought we discussed doing it more like a flyer rather than on your letterhead, but could have done the more simple letterhead design first if that was what you were after.

    That just is a little like a mother chastising a child. Not appropriate IMO.

    See what she comes back with. If she apologises for her tone and realises she needs to be a little more professional that would be good. She can be chatty without the condescension.

    Is the end result a quality you are happy with?
     
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  4. Joshwaaaa

    Joshwaaaa Well-Known Member

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    She is quite abrupt. But in the long run telling her as it is will only help her run a better business, as long as she takes it all in.

    Sounds like she would lose the plot if she saw how long some of our customers take to pay.
     
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  5. Jess Peletier

    Jess Peletier Mortgage Broker - Australia Wide Business Member

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    Being new, it sounds like she doesn't have systems in place and is running a bit ad-hoc - she'll soon realise she needs to start charging a deposit so she can at least cover costs upfront.
     
  6. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    If she's just starting then give her some feedback.

    The email tone is less that what you would expect in professional situation, but if she's never been working in a company then she might not know the appropriate 'tone' to use.

    She might need to start charging a non-refundable deposit to cover the printing cost and think about her payment structure. It will weed out non-serious customer and give her some time before needing to chase for payment ONE day after the payment is due.

    For anything that require delivery - provide customers with tracking. She can't expect to be paid in full if the items have not arrive and didn't have evidence it has been sent.
     
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  7. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

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    I agree about a suggestion of a deposit up-front to cover costs. If she then pops a statement on her invoice indicating it's due within 7 days or whatever the case may be, that should make it clear what payment expectations are without directly targeting customers with an email to tell them when it's due.
     
  8. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you replied. I engaged your service last night, and am grateful for the prompt and polite call back this morning. This thread serves to indicate what I expect. Ha ha :)
     
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  9. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree - that's what riled me.
    As a service provider, she could do exactly what I ask, as many times as I ask, and then charge me accordingly for it. That's what I expect. Not being chastised. If she won't, then others will.
     
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  10. JacM

    JacM VIC Buyer's Agent Business Member

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    The graphic designer might be worried about her customers being annoyed about increasing invoices for to-and-fro decision making about design. If you're happy to pay for her time while you alter your ideas, maybe let her know.
     
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  11. Xenia

    Xenia Adelaide Property Manager Business Member

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    It's all about her, it should be about the customer.

    Businesses need to be flexible when dealing with clients. Get the printing done at office works for them, allow a payment plan if required, ask people what they want!

    Her financial situation is not the clients problem.

    We've worked with clients lots of times who don't have the means to pay for anything, advertising costs, improvements to their home required for sale or rental, a good business will help. Organise for things to be done first, get results, money comes later.

    Money follows management or you can't have a long lasting business.

    I think your perception is correct Bran but I probably would not have told her off, I would just find another business to work with that is more in line with my expectations.
     
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  12. SerenityNow

    SerenityNow Well-Known Member

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    Graphic design - I think it depends on the industry. Maybe this a leaner, younger industry hence the chatty tone?

    Reminding you regarding payments - if you've already paid, then inappropriate. If you haven't then she's worried you'll do a runner. Online-ish industries, you'd be surprised how many people do runners.

    Changing designs etc - it's a hassle if she's already done work. But she needs to be clear on how many revisions (esp in a design related field) she'll allow.

    You're probably more of a premium customer used to premium service. If she's charging less than a premium service, then I think you're being a bit harsh.

    Edit to add: minimum deliverables. She needs to be clear on these. I think the company's having growing pains.
     
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  13. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    We already have an established relationship, with 1-2 previous orders.
    The end result is good, and usually done in a reasonable time-frame.
     
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  14. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    @Xenia You have been in the industry for a long time, and understand what customer relation means. I'm guessing the graphic designer is relatively young and inexperienced (but do good work) hence some discrepancies between work and communications. Depends on the relationship already made, I might choose to provide open feedback rather than just walking away. She needs to improve somewhere, and someone might need to make that feedback.

    @Bran may need to spell out your expectation on how payment works for you? i.e. seems like she has been emailing about the payment more than once, so this is not a new issue.
     
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  15. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the last invoice was paid a day late too.
    In my usual dealings, I don't even read invoice dates, just like I don't expect to be paid for 3-4 months either. That's just life.
     
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  16. Azazel

    Azazel Well-Known Member

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    I assume this was a while ago?
    Hope you paid it before now ;)
     
  17. EN710

    EN710 Well-Known Member

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    :eek:
    I'd never accept you as a client again if in the first go if I am paid 4 months late, given all work has been done satisfactorily (unless it's for project worth bazillion).

    I mean - set expectation as - I paid in full when the item arrive, or when xyz happen
     
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  18. THX

    THX Well-Known Member

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    So from her pov you're a late paying client. The chatty tone might be unprofessional but I don't think there's enough here to show what your relationship with her has been like overall, it might have always been this casual.

    At the end of the day, it's a business, whether her communication or service can be improved does not negate the fact she runs a business and is entitled to be paid for services rendered as you are entitled to be provided with the services you pay for.
     
  19. York

    York Finance Broker Business Member

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    Bran, did you know we have a former (very recently) graphic designer on this forum? Actually a well known member. If things sour between you and Louise maybe our PC guy can help you..? :D
     
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  20. Bran

    Bran Well-Known Member

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    All invoices paid!

    The bottom emails are from today. The invoice was yesterday. The reminder was yesterday.