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How Do You Handle a Customer Who Won’t Let You Fix a Sign Failure?

Plus, letting your team know that it’s OK to ask questions and more.




How do you teach your production team that it’s OK to ask questions and go on the internet to find answers to solve problems?

We’ll first deal with teaching your team — any team — that they should always feel free to ask questions. As in school, if you don’t raise your hand and ask when you don’t know or understand something, knowledge cannot be gained. Some people are more reluctant to ask questions than others, but you should make clear to your whole team that asking questions does not mean anyone is “less than,” and in fact, asking questions should be encouraged as it outwardly demonstrates and proves a willingness to learn and train. Now, as questions arise, where should your team turn for answers? In some cases, they can ask you or another knowledgeable team member but this can consume unnecessary time when the answers can readily be found on the internet. You could instruct your team to try a web search for the solution first, and if that fails to produce a result, they may bring that question to you.

How do you handle a job that you installed but later failed? I installed laminated perforated vinyl on 50 x 89-in. windows and it wrinkled, bubbled and looked terrible. The customer was disappointed. I offered to remove them but she said to leave them up, that she’d decide what to do. I recommended several ideas but two months later the failed graphics are still up and I haven’t gotten paid. I’m out a lot of money and not sure how to solve it.

Clearly, the customer is taking advantage of the situation. Her stance is that the finished product was unsatisfactory and, therefore, payment is not merited. While that may seem fair had you offered no corrective efforts, that’s not the case here. It sounds as though you’ve made reasonable efforts to make good with this customer, and the ball is squarely in her court. As she doesn’t present as the type of customer anyone would likely do or like to do business with again, you may try one last follow up. And to help finally spark a resolution, mention at the end that if the matter remains unresolved, you’ll be turning her account over to a collection agency.

I would love to hear how other sign company owners organize their shops, paperwork, etc.

“The Art of Omission,” featuring 15 tips for running a leaner sign operation (see St, February 2022), should be instructive. Based on the “less is more” concept, the advice includes going paperless. “About two years ago … based on our volume spread across various departments, we finally bit the bullet overnight and went truly paperless. This required installing flatscreens in each department and organizing our workflow with substatuses through Corebridge (our sign software of choice),” Bob Chapa, Signarama Troy | Metro Detroit (Troy, MI), is quoted in the article. “While that first week was tough … the truth is, we could never go back. Our sales team is now diligent in putting the correct information on work orders (since there are not any papers floating around with scribbled notes) and our production team does a great job of marking their work complete (since there are no job packets to move back up to the front office to show what they accomplished that day).” The article also offers 14 additional tips.

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