What a way to start my day!
Monday morning, a client’s email said, “This cover ID number should say 10520. Please, please tell me the print version doesn’t have the wrong year too?!!! We had 3k of these printed!”
Oh no, this is bad news! My heart started pounding, and I hadn’t finished breakfast yet. What a way to start my day!
At my desk, I looked back at the handbook files from early January. The code number said 010520. I asked the client to call me asap.
She replied, “I’m in a training meeting. The code number at the bottom of the handbook needs to show 21 as the year, not 20.”
I’m only as good as the information the client provides. I did not know to change the code number (until now!). Did she request that change in January? I checked my emails in both the sent folder and trash. The file was sent more than a month ago. I no longer had those messages; they were gone.
Did the client proofread the layout I sent? And, did she check the printer’s proof before it went to press? It’s always the client’s responsibility to check the proof for errors. A proof is the last opportunity to review the project and catch anything that has been overlooked before the project goes on press.
Unfortunately, this project will most likely have to be reprinted because of the incorrect code number. Nobody wins in a scenario like this one.
If there’s something wrong with the handbook after it’s printed, the client will bear the cost of reprinting. In the past, there have been times when the client and I have split the cost of a mistake. In those cases, both the client and I reviewed the proofs and signed the printer’s proof with an approval to print. I neither saw the proofs in question nor would have known to how change the code number date.
I should have had the foresight to ask about the date and code number. But this was one of those times when I didn’t know what I didn’t know, which is exactly when things can go awry. From now on, it will be a priority to check such details with the client. I called the client and ask which measures can we add to prevent this from happening again. I am so sorry this happened, especially since this mistake could have been avoided, and that would have saved both of us much stress, not to mention the cost of reprinting incurred by the client.
Thanks for reading.