Given the complex and cumbersome process of gaining customer approval (without a tool like Approval Pipeline™), it is inevitable that disputes will occur from time to time. That is where the blame-game and finger pointing starts, and without an audit trail in place, it can take a lot of time and effort to try and establish where things went wrong. The risk of losing that customer can prove very costly and without the evidence of what happened, many printers will end up swallowing the cost even if they believe the customer to be at fault.
A common area of dispute is where the printer goes to print believing a proof has been approved, only to discover that the customer wants to make a further change that has been requested by a colleague. The customer will claim that they sent an email but it is hard to prove you did not receive it, and without a formal process for handling disputes it can cause a difficult situation.
Another area ripe for disputes is where time sensitive projects are not delivered on time. Things are left to the last minute and then there is a problem with the proofs and the deadline is missed. Unfortunately, when all the communication has been informal via email or telephone, it is a lot of work to assign responsibility.
Although we want to eliminate disputes, when they do occur we need to have some kind of audit trail to be able to determine what occurred and where the fault lies. This is hard to do when the approval process is done on an informal basis by email. Email does leave a trail, but the amount of work involved in going back through all the emails can be very time-consuming.
The above recommendations will help to minimise disputes by having a solid process, including how to manage disputes. However, there is no easy way to record in detail the agreements of deadlines and all the notifications and reminders that were sent to the customer and when they responded. Without a system like Approval Pipeline™, it would be a lot of work to wade through the correspondence, the reminders, and the dates of when proofs were uploaded and approved.
Resolving disputes is simple with Approval Pipeline™ because everything is recorded and a complete audit trail of a specific customer project is instantly available. You can even get details of internal actions including third party printers.