We’ve all had it happen. Things are humming along and all the ducks are waddling along in their rows when BAM! Printing errors happen.
Like, the lettershop calls and the postal indicia on the envelope is too small. Meaning it might not be accepted for induction by Canada Post.
Or BAM! – a Neighbourhood Mail coupon (formerly unaddressed admail) is missing an area for donors to fill in their particulars. So, there’s no incentive to send back a gift.
Or [yet another] BAM! The address block on the letter won’t fit into the window on the envelope so the address can’t be read.
When we get one of those calls, our first reaction is almost always a feeling akin to a fist clamped around our hearts (which has dropped to the seat of our pants). And maybe a need to drop F-bombs like hot potatoes.
Being Nimble is Key
I once worked for a business owner who said, “You keep more clients by how you fix things if they blow up, rather than just doing things right all the time.” I believe this to be true. There’s nothing like having to be nimble and thinking of a fix, a workaround, or a redo to show a client how well you can respond to a crisis and make things right. All while keeping their interests top of mind. And if you’re lucky enough to quickly think of a plan that corrects things without additional cost or delays in timing, well, unclench that heart and go have a cup of tea because you’ve earned it!
In general, there are systems and procedures in place that are there to ensure the ducks keep waddling and don’t get side swept into a raging river. That said, we humans sometimes do make errors. The trick is knowing what the possibilities are to mitigate additional problems and to correct the one at hand as soon as possible.
Problematic envelope indicia? Get approval from Canada Post’s indicia police prior to printing anything, if there’s even a hint that something may be off.
Missing donor information area on an unaddressed coupon? If it’s still at the lettershop can they add this information somewhere via laser printing? Or perhaps add a smaller, separate coupon/buck slip containing what is needed? Perhaps, some other information about the organization? Envelope window blocking the letter address? Chances are, there will be a coupon included in a donor or prospect mailing, and it is likely you’ll be able to use the coupon as the addressing piece instead of the letter.
When you’ve been around for a while, you know things are bound to mess up at times. Nobody’s perfect. But it’s how you deal with those mess-ups that will earn and keep a client’s trust.