The Fight between getting work in house done and taking on new customers with an expected timeline.

As principal owner of Sign me up Sign shop, I can say that there are lots of ups and few downs in this business. For the most part 9 out of 10 times the customer is very pleased with the work we provided for them. There is nothing better for me to see than a customer walking out of our store but not before saying, “I’ll be back because I got more signs to do.” That phrase brings a smile to my face every time. Those are the signs of times being good and a job well done. However not every situation is sunshine and rainbows.

One of the drawbacks of being an owner is telling a customer that you’d normally accommodate, that you can’t because of the work you already have going on in the house. The customers that got to you first deserve the expected timeline that was mentioned to them when they placed their order. The theory of FIFO comes into play here. First in, first out…. That’s what it should be like. During a typical day, we try to squeeze as many customers into our workflow to maximize sales and more importantly, customer satisfaction. Take this scenario for example:

Customer A comes in and orders a set of channel letters for his store. After the surveys and proofs are done, the job gets put into production in a matter of days. Customer B comes in a few days later and orders a plexi glass sign for his light box. Customer B doesn’t know the size and would like us to go measure. This inevitably takes time out from our production guys who have to stop what they’re doing and go to measure the light box insert for that order. This takes a few hours away from production of Customer A’s sign. Now if Customer C walks in on the same day and says I want an awning and purchases it after a survey and all that gets done, we tell him 3 weeks to completion. On that third week we would normally be responsible for installing that customers sign. However, if scenarios continue such as above even that customer will be delayed.

The point I’m trying to make is simple. New business that comes in on a daily basis can tend to delay projects that are already in house and in production. It’s the nature of the beast and It’s up to me to make sure all jobs are on schedule to be completed on time. If they aren’t on schedule, the customer needs to be notified right away to inform them of the delay and expected timeline from that point.