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Should Installers Interact with Clients?

Also, recession thoughts and why am I no longer receiving your magazine?

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What are your thoughts on an economic downturn and do you see it affecting the industry nationwide?

The most current expert opinions we sampled include JPMorgan’s chief economist who said recently the bank is no longer forecasting a recession this year and has raised its economic growth estimate as the economy expands at a “healthy pace.” However, a Forbes analyst countered, reiterating that his judgment call remains that the recession will begin in the first half of 2024, or possibly late in 2023. Lastly, Yahoo Finance reported that Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently said the central bank staff no longer sees a recession in 2023. The infamous “Great Recession,” which technically lasted from Dec. 2007 to June 2009, certainly had an adverse effect on the industry nationwide. In the words of our Shop Operations columnist Dale Salamacha, president of Media 1/Wrap This (Sanford, FL), it was the opposite situation of what we’ve had lately (shortages of both employees and materials plus all the work one can handle). Back in 2008 employees were being laid off, inventory mounted and orders slowed greatly. But if the pandemic’s downturn showed us anything, it’s that the sign industry is fairly recession-proof. No one wants one, but savvy sign companies can be ready for and weather the next recession, whenever it arrives.

Should you ever have your installer speak with your client about installs or the product?

The keyword here is “ever” and our opinion is that we can start with eliminating “never,” as a decision should be based on many factors in this question. The way this question is phrased suggests a possible non-communication policy: “Installers should never speak with clients.” One can see the potential pitfalls of the policy:

  • Client, “Hi, how’s it going up there?” Installer says nothing.
  • Client, “Hey, can you hear me? I know you can hear me up there!” Installer says nothing… And so on.

How about “Installers should not speak with clients about x, y or z?” There you can be specific. However, as installers are the public face of your company, when you do have solid, knowledgeable, friendly, personable people going up the ladder or in the bucket truck, why not let them chat up the customer? Presumably, these installers would be wise enough to avoid subjects better left for the sales or management teams. For all these reasons, our position is that the right kinds of installers should be allowed to speak with clients about the product and what they’re doing.

I stopped receiving a printed magazine each month. Why?

Once a year we reach out to our readers and ask that they renew their free subscription by completing a renewal form. Typically, our renewal campaigns come in the form of an email or a phone call. When subscribers renew, it assures us that they’re still interested in getting the magazine and that they’re still qualified to receive it free of charge. If they don’t respond to our renewal notices, we will deactivate the subscription. However, even if that’s happened, it’s easy to restart (or start!) simply by going to signsofthetimes.com/subscribe.

Want to see your questions featured in this department? Send your emails to: ask@signsofthetimes.com

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