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Monday, June 11, 2007

Industry Standard vs. Customer Service

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could operate a business that provided clients with goods or services that are unsatisfactory under the premise that it is “industry standard” to do so. Well I if you want such a business, enter the world of selling promotional items.

I have found some of the biggest players in the marketing promotional item industry use the term “industry standard” when clients are dissatisfied with their order. Recently, I ordered promotional items from a known customized promotional company with the initials “B&B”. I received a deep red pen as a sample to consider. I liked this pen so I ordered it imprinted with a logo. To prevent receiving a wrong item, I paid to receive a preproduction sample. This is an exact sample of what I ordered with the actual logo imprinted. I received the pre-pro sample and it was what I wanted – a red pen with a silver imprinted logo.

Two weeks later I received the full order of 400 pens. I opened the box and immediately noticed that the pens were not the color I approved. The pen was not red – it was a purple/pink in tone. I also noticed the imprint was not as silver as the pre-pro sample. I called the B&B rep. to complain. She asked me to send the pre-pro sample and a sample of the purple pen. She received both two days later and suggested I had issues seeing colors. I was horrified.

After examining the pen herself, she said that the color was only a little off and that is “industry standard” with regard to the color match. The fact is I ordered a red pen – which the manufacturer stated that they only make red, black and blue pens – but somehow produced a purple pen. Even the pre-production sample was red.

If a company provides you an exact sample of what you have ordered – shouldn’t the final order look like the sample? Of course it should. But manufacturers get away with bad customer service by using “industry standard” as an excuse for their bad workmanship.

I sent the case of 400 purple pens back to B&B to deal with. Don’t accept industry standard if it is not what you ordered.

Shakira M. Brown

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