Sign & Digital Graphics

October '14

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22 • October 2014 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL involved the customer in a conversation that forewarned and presented options ahead of time instead of waiting for him to find the damage. Communication is vital to conducting business that keeps you in business and propels your business to top-class sta- tus. From inside your own walls to the walls or within the walls of others when working with their branding and display, communication can be the determining factor for whether or not the job goes well. That includes speaking, listening, following up, remembering, writing, scheduling and including the customer. Would you like it if your roofing contractor just showed up and started pounding away on your roof without your awareness that today was the day to start? We've done that. We even drove out of town before and showed up looking for the person in charge only to learn that she was out of town and we were not able to start without her permission. It was a total waste of time and we looked bad. I've had calls in the past from cus- tomers thanking me for the nice sign followed by modest comments on how strange it was to return to the office see- ing us installing their new sign then curi- ously inquiring why our being there that day was a total surprise. Come on. Don't these people know when they are on our schedule? Of course they don't. Not until they are informed. Calling ahead and involving your client is a form of communication that should be part of your organization's process, policy and practice. Speed Slow down. You're going too fast. Speed up. You're moving too slow. Either way is wrong when it comes to impressions. There's a middle ground that encapsu- lates the essence of going about things in just the right way and pace. I was driving the other day and noticed a competitor's bucket truck with a lone installer in the basket working at pulling old vinyl away from a tenant sign panel. Hours later I drove back by and he was still there in the same spot. I had to wonder what the customer inside the store was thinking. When your work is too leisurely or expedited to hastily, you leave room for judgment and mistakes. Crawling along can feel painful for management or a cus- tomer to watch. Being too snappy can cause oversight. I once had a general manager who proposed three signs to a customer. They chose to buy only one. Through our GM's hyper-swift chop-chop style of getting things done, he inadvertently wrote up a work order and had us build and install all three signs. We then billed for all three of those signs. The customer is now living happily with three signs. But, they only paid for the one. And that GM is no longer with us. Go-Backs We all hate the go-back, even though they are nec- essary evils. The chore is to limit them and make the ones that are unavoidable a prerogative that out- ranks other to-dos on the day's agenda. Highlight them so that they don't become buried and forgotten. The forgotten go-back is embarrass- ing for everyone. Sometimes they are dangerous. Many years ago we had one of our installed signs fall from 50 feet in the air into a four-lane state highway. The culprit? There were two of them. An installer and an unfinished weld. Who would have known? I didn't. We didn't have a go-back planned for the job. Apparently, this installer decided his welding would hold for the day and he'd return to finish. That guy is long gone. Thank God nobody was hurt. Be sure that you and your leader- ship team is thorough on the job, with after-action reports from work done in the field and that everybody elevates the importance of a go-back. This beautiful sign was created for the client who ended up changing their entire branding of the orga- nization based on our design and new logo.

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