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Customers Are Slippery

, , , , , , , | Right | January 18, 2023

I work for a printing company that mostly prints custom signs. Customers can either pay to have somebody design a custom sign, buy a premade one, or use our website to create their own sign using various templates and assets. A customer can add one symbol and add their own text. Before a customer submits the design, it shows them digital proofs, and then the customer ticks a box to say they have looked at it and approved it. Once the customer checks that box and submits it, the designs come to me and my team.

When we get a design, if anything looks a little off, such as an obvious typo, we can call to confirm with the customer at our discretion. We are not required to do this as the customer has already approved the proofs, but most of the time, we do call and check.

It’s a quiet day, and I get a design through for a hazard sign which has the symbol for a slippery floor, but the text reads, “Warning: surface wet when wet.” I figure this is an error, so I call up the customer.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Printing Company]. I’m just starting on your order, but I wanted to check—”

Customer: “Why the h*** are you calling me?! Just get on with it. I need the signs now!

Me: “I am going to get right on them, but I just wanted to check because I think there might have been a mistake—”

Customer: “I put that order together myself! I don’t make mistakes!”

Me: “Okay, so to confirm, your sign should say, ‘Wet when wet’?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Not ‘Slippery when wet’?”

Customer: “No!”

I confirmed several times that his sign currently said, “Wet when wet,” and asked if it should be “Slippery when wet.” The customer confirmed the sign was correct as it was and repeated that he didn’t make mistakes. I thanked him for his time. The customer screamed at me to get the job done or he was going to sue and then hung up.

I made a note on his account and went to work.

A few weeks later, my manager approached me to say we’d had a complaint. You guessed it: it was the same customer screaming at us that the signs were wrong. They should have said, “Slippery when wet.” The customer was demanding a full refund and wanted them remade and sent out free of charge. The manager had seen my note and asked me for more details. The call recording and signed proofs showed that we were not at fault, so the customer was denied a refund because it was his error and we wouldn’t be able to resell the signs.

The customer insisted we had messed up, not him, and his complaint got escalated up to the highest point it could, but he still didn’t get his refund because we could prove he was the one who made a mistake.

Two weeks later, we received another order from him, this time with the correct wording, but the customer included a passive-aggressive note warning us not to “mess up again”. My manager and I had a good laugh about that one.

I wonder what he did with the fifty “wet when wet” signs?

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