Saturday, March 17, 2007

Customer Service vs. Customer Service

It’s true that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I wish everyone could understand that concept, but there will always be a few who feel their wishes are more important than others. What I am referring to is customer who has bought a few open edition prints in the past and asked that I sign them. Just so you know I don’t offer open edition prints signed, because I do sign limited editions of prints. I went ahead and was nice enough to grant his request. I figured, it’s just a couple and it’s good to keep customers happy. He placed a few more orders, always buying the 13x19 prints, some were signed limited editions but others were not, though he’d always ask me to sign them. Finally I told him that I couldn't sign anymore. Here is the letter I sent explaining it.

Yes, I have in the past signed open
edition prints.

And when I get special requests like this I would be happy to oblige.
However it's complicated since I do offer Limited Edition Signed & Numbered
prints. By signing and numbering those it makes them a bit more 'special'
and so they are priced a bit higher.

Business wise, it's come to my attention that I can't very well justify
charging more for prints that are signed and numbered if I'm going to sign
the others too. If I start signing all the open editions as well, it
diminishes the uniqueness of the limited edition. Some collectors want only
the limited editions because of that uniqueness. It's up to the buyer as to
whether they are more interested in a signed limited edition print or if
they just want a certain size.

All my prints are offered in an 8.5 x 11 size and a 13 x 19 size. When I
release a new work I select which one of those sizes to be the signed and
numbered limited edition of that print.

I will go ahead and sign [this print] because you've been a good customer, but if what you want most in the future are signed prints you'll need to purchase the limited editions.

I found him selling some of the prints he purchased on eBay. He states that he LOVES my work and recommends it to others. Yet, he says that because I won’t sign every (open edition) print he buys he’s vowed to never buy from me again. Oh, well. I am willing to lose one customer in order to maintain credibility amongst the rest of the collectors. Perhaps I have too strong a sense of fairness, but I think everyone should have the same opportunity and pay the same amount for a signed print.


Anonymous said...

Good for you! This guy sounds like a real scumbag. He buys your open additions, guilts you into signing them, then turns around and sells them at limited edition prices on eBay --and THEN has the audacity to get offended when you no longer support his efforts to screw you out of earnings that should have been yours to begin with. Grrr...

I can't yet afford a limited edition, but when I can, it will be that much more special to me. People who enjoy your work and aren't out to use you will feel the same. Kudos for sticking to your guns.


Michael Breyette said...

Well 'scumbag' sounds a bit harsh, perhaps an opportunist with low ethics or just a diva.

Greg & Joe said...

I think you are definately correct...I purchased only limited editions for a reason and love everyone of them! Thats why we got a commission done as well...BTW it is STUNNING I can't wait to see if I can get more originals or commissions in the future...NOTE TO EVERYONE: by them now Michael is on the rise and soon you will be looking at prices that allow you only to view them in a gallery/museum or settle for a cheap poster knock off....CONGRATS MICHAEL on all your great exposure and rising popularity! Don't ever compromise your ethics....I just need to keep working overtime to afford your art while I can :)