Why we need to know what you want us to do

Have you ever had a client that just doesn’t understand why they are being charged more than they were quoted?

We do. All the time. ┬áThe reason for this is that clients everywhere just don’t read quotes or proposals. They look at the bottom line, and what ever is the cheapest “must be the best”. They don’t look to see what the quotes include, and they don’t look for differences in the final product.

Here’s two case-in-points for you…

Case 1: Why are we paying for the design?

SuperMegaCorp wanted to re-brand their company. They knew what they wanted, they knew what they needed and they knew when they wanted it done by. So far so good. Everything was discussed, timelines put in place, agreements made and a lot of quotes signed off. In 10 weeks they’d be known as MegaSuperCorp instead!

After the first week, cracks began to show. The first was that the deadlines put in place for the client to supply the starting information slipped by even after 2 or 3 rounds of gentle prodding. Then the promotional items changed, changed back, changed again, then changed to something completely different, and that was only in the second week.

After 4 weeks, they finally decided to look at their company name, and see if anyone else had thought of it first. Surely they wouldn’t need to do that, would they? Well, it turns out that they did. One of their biggest competitors had trademarked their chosen business name somewhere around 3 years ago. This led to a panic and a huge rush to figure out what new name they could use.

It ended up so that with 3 weeks to go until everything had to be launched there was still no clear indication of what brochures they needed, how many business cards or letterheads they wanted, what was going to be included in the promotional packs or even how many offices that they’d have around the country, yet alone what phone numbers they’d be using for them all.

In an amazing feat of work, overtime, sweat, tears and only a small amount of blood, they launched on time and with everything they needed. We still don’t know how, but we were all relieved that it was all over!

Or so we thought…

When the invoices were sent for our times and the products that we’d produced for them, we got questions coming back. Not one or tow, but questions on 95% of the invoices that were sent out. We heard everything from “We didn’t know that wasn’t included” when it was clearly spelled out in their quotes, to “But we shouldn’t be charged for two designs when we didn’t use the first one!”

Case 2: It’s approved, send it! Oh, but also include this…

Another client also does this. Every month. On every email newsletter that they send.

They send a regular email on the first of the month to alert their customers to new specials, updated information and new research that has been done. And after around 12 months of doing this, they still get us the information that we need 1-2 days before the end of the month because “we forgot about it”.

The kicker for this one is their email list. They send to their entire database, which is what any other company would do. The difference with this client is that they invariably send us a list of new people to add to their email list the day before the email is sent out. This isn’t too bad because we normally have time to add these users to the system, it’s just that doing that under a time crunch of getting everything else ready does add extra aggravation when it’s not needed.

The best thing that they do is send another list of new users that the email has to be sent to… after it’s been sent out. Remember that we had at lease one new list given to us the day before this, but there’s invariably 50 or so more people that they “forgot about” again.

After this the standard monthly question is “Why did it cost more? You only sent the same newsletter out.”

Why this costs money

It costs money because they create more work for us, and we bill them for it. The problem is that most people don’t realise that the more they are organised the cheaper their jobs will be.

The lesson here is that you being organised will save you money. The more that your agency or contractors have to chase you for details that you should have given them just adds billable time to your account, and I’ll guarantee that even though your time is valuable, our time gets charged out as cold hard cash.

So next time you’re going to get something done, get organised first. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll be the one client that we all love dealing with!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *