A unique way to prevent typos

February 9, 2011 · 0 comments

employee proofs hanging from our office corkboard

All printers hate typos.

One of the reasons we hate typos is because just about the time we think we’ve finished “the perfect print job,” we find a dang typo! I’m sure every one of us has had one of those frustrating, pull-your-hair-out, kill-one-of-your-employees-or-commit-suicide moments with typos. Sometimes, with the passage of time, I’ve been able to laugh about some of the bad typos I’ve lived through — but I can honestly tell you there have been a few typos that are still too painful to laugh about… 10 years later!

I’m sure you know the feeling.

Well here’s an idea that is really a different way to eliminate typos. I know it won’t work in every case, but there may be some situations on your most important or expensive print jobs where this idea might save you a lot of angst and cost associated with re-printing.

Most of you know that I own a marketing services company that provides newsletters and other marketing materials for the printing industry. Typos are always bad, but when you’re selling a product to another printer it seems doubly embarrassing when one of your printer customers discovers a typo.

Let me explain the idea we implemented that has virtually eliminated every single typo: When we think one of our newsletters is finished and “perfect,” we then make a photocopy of the newsletter and distribute it to every single one of our employees. We ask them to help us find typos and tell them they’ll get paid a $5.00 bonus for every typo, mistake, or confusing verbiage they discover.

My employees ‘attack’ those newsletters with great glee and enthusiasm, trying to find a typo. It is amazing the obscure stuff they find. Having all those eyes looking at the newsletter content from every angle and perspective has dramatically helped us eliminate all kinds of “mistakes.” As a result, we rarely have a typo discovered in our marketing materials.

To keep the interest level high in this program, we always post all of the discovered typos — and the $5.00 cash bonuses — on a corkboard that is centrally located in our offices (you can see that in the picture above).

I wanted to share this idea because you may have a secret weapon for eliminating typos right in your own printing firm — your employees. I know it may not be practical to pay $5.00 for discovered typos on every single job that goes through your printing firm, but I’m sure there are times when this approach could be a lifesaver for you.

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