Tips for dealing with pushy customers in the screen-printing industry

Dealing With Pushy Customers

Dealing with pushy customers can be a tricky subject but success can be had if approached using these few easy steps.

Admittedly, I’m being a little cheeky with the image but let’s face it, we’ve all felt this way at one point or another.

However, dealing with pushy customers when it comes to a production environment doesn’t have to be so that stressful. Here are a couple tips on how to handle the “squeaky wheels” while keeping things civil.

Understand Where The Customer is Coming From

Finding a reasonable understanding of where your customer is coming from is a key point and the first step in providing good customer service.

In the screen-printing world, you have to remember what it was like when you first starting printing your own stuff.

Remember that excitement?

Remember how cool you thought everyone thought your tees were going to be and how you couldn’t wait to show them? That’s the exact same feeling your customers have.

Now that you’re the one printing the shirts for them, you can totally understand where they’re coming from when they seem overly zealous to get their products done so quickly.

Show Them The Shop

Being up front about the turnaround times is one thing but taking your customers on a walk-through to show them exactly why things can take so long can do wonders.

I’ve known certain shops to hold open houses for their customers for just this reason. Once they’re hip to how deeply involved the process actually is, pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines can diminish greatly.

Give Yourself a Buffer Time

Yeah, you could do that job in 4 hours IF you were allowed to work on it for 4 hours straight with no interruptions and nothing goes wrong.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it goes.

Try to give yourself a good honest buffer time to get your jobs done and make way for the known interruptions like answering phones, smoke breaks, emails, etc.

Also, don’t forget the unknowns like popping screens, ruined films, bad seps, etc.

Learn how I’ve never missed a deadline in my entire career

Be Honest

Honesty goes a long way, even if it’s not exactly what your customer wants to hear. Build honesty into every facet of your communication with your customer and they’ll appreciate you more for it, guaranteed.

Don’t lie about your capabilities or the time (with your buffer added in) it’s going to require to get something done.

In the end, dishonesty serves no one, causes undue stress on you, your crew and your customers and gives you a bad reputation fairly quickly.

Offer Your Professional Suggestions

Don’t be afraid to offer your professional suggestions in hopes of helping customers to achieve a better product. If they refuse your suggestions, so be it.

You should feel obligated to tell them that 1/4 pt stroke or 3cm area with a million gradations isn’t going to print how they expect it to. But always explain why.

Keep Them in the Loop

Keeping your customers updated via a simple email can work wonders. If you lose power to a press, or gas to your dryer, a simple “heads up” email letting your customer know what’s going on in the shop will go a long way.

This gives your customer the opportunity to revise their plans accordingly.

Be clear, concise, apologetic (to a degree) and let them know what you plan to do to alleviate the situation.

Pushy Customers That Don’t Stop

If you’ve tried everything you can think of and your customer still treats you or your crew like dirt, lose them.

Even though this is a sensitive area for most, I never hesitate to cut cancerous people out of my life and business. There’s no reason to deal with them, period.

In a Nutshell…

Every situation/person is different and requires different strategies but employing some of these simple tips can work wonders, not only for your customers’ happiness but for yours as well.

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