"Sorry, I can't do anything about it - that's just our policy."
Ever hear this rubbish from a printer, web host or other 3rd party vendor you've dealt with as a creative freelancers? It's of slim consequence, but we've all been there, and we've all heard this run-around. Whether you're printer printed 500 instead of 5,000 brochures, your web host has been down for a day and a half, or if some online store sends you the wrong equipment, you're going to have to deal with vendors that screw up and the telephone customer service reps that protect them.
So if...I mean when this happens, what should you do about?
Well, the answer really depends on:
- What's at stake
- How much damage did this cause
- How upset are you
- How much time/energy you really want to spend on this
- How much leverage you have and what kind of resolution you're looking for
When you do confront the vendor on the mistake, here are a couple of Do's and Don'ts to remember if you want to get a resolution. If you don't care and just want to rip someone, feel free to ignore these :)
- Make some notes BEFORE you make the call so you stay organized
- Speak slowly, clearly, and confidently. Try to keep an even tone to your voice
- Stick to the facts, try not to get personal
- Flip the situation around and ask the CSR what would they do in your position
- Recognize when you might need to escalate the issue (if the CSR is just a drone reading off of a sheet and is not interested or doesn't have the authority to help you)
- Be accusatory
- Threaten the CSR or use obscene language
- Kick a dead horse...if the CSR is unable or unwilling to help, you'll need to regroup and go in a different direction (writing a letter, etc.)
There's a point in every conflict that it's just best to cut your losses, in order to make sure you don't cross over that point and find yourself wasting way too much time, energy and money, you'll want to decide where that point is BEFORE you confront the vendor.
I've found that if I've been a loyal customer, especially one that's sent the
company a lot of business I have some leverage in getting a better resolution.
Don't assume the CSR you're talking with you knows this, you may need to
casually remind them of how much business you do send their way (if it's
minimal don't bother mentioning it though). If you find the CSR doesn't care,
don't waste anymore time with her/him; contact someone in the company who will
care. This approach has been extremely helpful to me on several occasions - be
tactful and professional about it, don't use it as a threat and this will
usually pay off for you.
News and Notes:
Thanks to a you guys who took advantage of writing a review for the BASAS book on iTunes and picking your free copy of my Creative Freelance Designer's Audio Success MP3 Series 1. It's not too late for you to get your own free copy - check out the previous post for details. Darrell emailed in and said, "I listened to the audio resource tracks you sent and I greatly appreciate them. They hit dead on in several areas I'm struggling with."