Posted by Jennifer Bascom on July 01, 2015
Driving into work this morning I remembered a gut wrenching experience which happened when I was just a babe of a business owner. It must have been 1999. I was as green as it gets, out of start-up money, dependent on a few loyal customers, and my nerves were always on the brink, when the phone rang. I pick up the phone and answer with the usual friendly business greeting. The voice on the other end is brusque, irritated, and to the point.
"The owner please."
"This is she."
"This is [very important CEO man from the company who holds 70% of our receivables]. I am not happy about an invoice I received for my business cards."
Shaking hands and heart pounding out of my chest, "Alright, let me take a look for you. What is the invoice number?"
"I see. That was for your business cards."
"Yes, and I know for a fact that business cards are 9 dollars each, not 54 dollars. Are you taking advantage of me because I'm a rich man and you think I don't know these things?"
"No sir, I would never do that. I'm sorry you are unhappy, but let me explain. This invoice was for your personal business cards and they are not part of the company template business card masters. They have different colors and..."
At this point I could tell that what I was saying didn't make any sense to this very important customer, so I suddenly switched gears. I took the invoice and held it up to the receiver and I slowly and deliberately starting tearing the invoice in half.
Then I said, "Do you hear that sound? That's me tearing up your invoice. This invoice isn't important to me. What's important to me is that you are happy. I'm sorry to have upset you. Are we good?"
"Yes, we're good. Thank you." Click.
That was probably the most nerve wracking experience of my life to this point. Little did I know that, as a business owner, many more were to come. But, this one was over and by the end of the day my hands stopped shaking, my heart stopped pounding out of my chest and I was working once again on growing my business.
Business Owner Lesson Learned:
I don't know if I can count how many lessons I learned from this experience, but the most obvious one was that a $54 invoice is not as important as long time customer trust. As a bonus, I think I gained a little business owner confidence. Can you believe that this customer still does business with us, 16 years, several company acquisitions and a few CEO s later? And yes, they are still our best customer.
Print Buyer Tip:
I would like to share a business card print buying tip. If you are owner or print buyer for a large company with many employees who need business cards, you can get reduced rates on the price you pay per business card order. If your current printer is not offering you bulk rates for large quantities of business cards, give me a call. I'm happy to work up a custom quote to make your accountant or boss happy.
Coolest Graphics, printing in Kent since 1997, offers business cards, brochures, flyers, banners, signs, posters, Tshirts and many more printed products, all locally made here in Kent by a family owned business. Support your small family business. Call, Contact, or Email us today for personal customer service. Order business cards online, or call for an appointment.
19219 W Valley Hwy
Kent, WA 98032