Early in my first job as a magazine editor, I learned a great lesson about customer service.
At that time, part of my routine when each issue went to press was to stop by the printing company at any hour of the day or night for press approvals. Computer-driven makeready technology hadn’t revolutionized the industry yet, and in those days the difference between great color and something that looked like it was meant to be viewed with 3-D glasses could be just a few twists of a press operator’s wrench.
After one such night of waking up every four hours or so for moonlit jaunts to the printer, I pulled into the parking lot shortly after dawn to approve one of the final signatures. In my sleep-deprived state, I inadvertently parked in a spot that was marked reserved for a key employee.
I didn’t notice my mistake until I was out of the car and headed into the pressroom door. I knew from experience that my press check might take a while, so after saying “good morning” to Jeff, the first shift foreman, I mentioned my mistake and asked if I should move my car.
Jeff simply chuckled and said: “Buddy, you’re the client. You park wherever you want to.”
That’s customer service in a nutshell for you. Policies and procedures have their place, but ultimately the customer is the one signing the checks. It pays to keep ’em happy.