Victimized by Poor Communication

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been the victim of poor communication. I’m pretty sure I just saw every hand go up.

It happened to me last month when I was helping my elderly mother with some loose ends on a recent transition from a senior living community to a skilled, long-term care facility. Here’s the play-by-play:

Imagine drawing a line representing “acceptable” when evaluating care facilities. Touchmark, the senior living community my mother recently left, is way above that line on the care they give. On a scale of 1 to 100, I’d rank them at 99.

Even with a stellar score like that, like all of us, there’s still room for improvement if you look hard enough. Here’s what I found when I pulled out my “improvement” microscope. My mother’s departure meant her initial deposit needed to be refunded by Touchmark. That deposit was returned to me by certified mail. While certified mail sounds like a good, reliable option, Touchmark could have given me the opportunity to come pick up the deposit at their facility. When Mom lived in Touchmark, I went there often. At the very least, taking a moment to notice the address that the deposit was sent to could have tipped them off that a trip to Touchmark was a short, local drive for me.

That’s a pretty small communication “oops” and one I can very easily overlook, but it led to a bigger communication issue. When the certified mail delivery was attempted, I wasn’t home to accept it. Not being home when the delivery was attempted meant I received a slip from the post office with options on how I could receive the certified letter. I knew I’d be in the area of the post office, so I decided I’d pick it up there.

Fargo has a main post office downtown and a secondary station closer to where I live. Usually, all of the postal business relating to our address is handled at the secondary station, so I was surprised to see that the slip was directing me to the main post office to pick up the certified letter. I’m a pretty good instruction-follower, so off to the main post office I go! I arrived at the main post office, only to be told the letter wasn’t there. I was told the postal carrier grabbed the wrong “here’s where to pick up your letter” pad to use for certified letter communications. The carrier grabbed the pad with notes designating pickup at the main post office and not the pad for the secondary postal station.

I know you’re on the edge of your seat now, so yes, I did make the trip to the secondary postal station and successfully retrieved the letter there, but it was at the expense of wasted gas money and time. I ended up being a victim of poor communication by the Post Office. The oversight was easily fixed but still left a less than favorable impression. (After all, those experiences became my inspiration to write this blog post!)

How about you? Are your customers being victimized with poor communication about their print orders? It’s easy to do if you’re not paying attention. Your website is a great place to manage all communications with your customers, so make sure you’re using those communication tools to their fullest potential! (Teaser alert: The websites we build for printers have powerful communication tools built into them already. Plus, they’re on pace to get even BIGGER with a boost this fall!)