So here you are: you’ve slaved over this design. Printed, reprinted. It’s perfect. Take a proof (a sample) to your client and they love it! You’re so excited, you rush back to your office or studio and order all the prints! You spend the next 48 hours cutting, assembling, or whatever. Finally it’s done. Just in time to meet the deadline. It’s 9pm on a Sunday. You finally sit down to prop your feet up and check your email. What’s this? An email from your client…”Hi I just wanted to check to make sure I told you the right name. I forgot Lucy got married so her last name is Brown now. I hope that’s what I told you!” Your heart skips a beat and you jump up to look at all the prints, piled up in the box, ready to be delivered! …they say “Lucy Van Pelt”, not “Lucy Brown”. You melt into the couch and hold your head in your hands.
This situation will most likely happen to you at some point in your glorious career. So here are 5 steps for dealing with the aftermath:
1. Don’t Panic!
It’s going to be your first reaction. But try to limit it as much as possible. These things happen. It’s not your fault. There was (most likely) no way you could have prevented this. You can fix it and still make everyone happy. Your client is not angry at you, they’re probably kicking themselves for not catching the error sooner.
2. Don’t Get Angry
The next phase in your immediate reactions is probably anger. Anger at the client for putting you through all this extra work. Anger that you’re probably going to have to redo everything instead of getting your final payment tomorrow. I understand. Take a break. Step away, and do step #3:
3. Pat yourself on the back
When you step away go get yourself some ice cream. You did a great job! Your work was so good, the client only noticed how marvelous the design was, that’s why they didn’t notice they had given you incorrect information. All they could see was your glorious creation. You’re great at what you do. This is not the end. Get yourself together because you need to start coming up with what to do next.
4. Form Plan A and Plan B
Start brainstorming about how you can fix this without starting completely over. Can you turn the design into something layered and layer the correct info over the old? Can you cut out a heart, glue it over the wrong name and only use Lucy’s first name? Who knows, your solution may even enhance the design! Work up a price for what it will cost to do Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, which would be starting completely over.
5. Don’t Blame the Client
This is the most important step. You need to write a delicately worded response email to your client explaining what the options are. You’re probably going to feel like saying “Well tough luck, it’s already done, you need to pay me for my work, it’s not my fault you told me the wrong name.” Don’t. Do. It. Instead say something like:
Hi Mrs. McFancy,I’m afraid I have some bad news for you…the samples I showed you were printed with the name Van Pelt, so that’s what was printed for the set of invitations, drink coasters, party hats, and cupcake banner decorations . Everything was finished this morning. I would recommend that, in order to save time, we print and cut out a peacock feather and simply adhere that over the incorrect last name on each item. Since the invitations are layered with the fancy green and purple paper anyway I don’t think another layer would be noticeable. I could have this done by this Tuesday I think. The additional cost would only be $19.83 to do it this way. The other option would be to start completely over which would cost an additional $354.30. I could probably have this option done by next Thursday.
Maybe you’ll be really fortunate and this will never happen to you. But it probably will. Hopefully, you now feel a little more prepared for it!
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