There are times when you aren’t well, you’ve just lost a family member, you’ve got to take the cat to the vet or you’ve got the kids home from school for a couple of days with chicken pox.
The working world does not stop spinning because there has been a change to your personal circumstances.
I hate letting people down. I think it injures your clients view of your business.
Sometimes though, you don’t have a choice. Some things just happen, you don’t have control and you can’t deliver that project that you were meant to by close of business Thursday.
Damn! How do you tell them? What do you say?
There is nothing worse than not being able to get a hold of a supplier and not knowing why you can’t. You may not be available to take calls and answer emails, but there are a few things you can do to make your (and their) life easier.
- Spend two mins setting up an auto-responder on your email to help direct traffic.
- Hire a Virtual Assistant to call or email your clients to let them know what has happened.
- Ease off Twitter/Facebook posts when you have client projects due, and after you have had to let them down.
- Explain what has happened with the truth.
- If someone has passed away, I would let your client know this. If there is a health issue, be vague but clear. Eg. “Hi, I am not in the office at the moment due to a last minute health issue that has required surgery. I am anticipating being available on the XX/XX and will get back to your enquiry as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!”
- Always put an expected date so they know when they can expect you to get back to them. This helps to stop clients from getting antsy.
LOVE THE CLIENT
- Don’t leave your client in the dark. Communicate as above.
- Don’t let them down often! People understand, but only of genuine reasons.
- Does the event that just happened effect their project deadline? If yes then consider outsourcing the work to a competent and trustworthy colleague. The client doesn’t need to know this, and you will come out looking wonderful!
- Pleasantly surprise them with a thankyou gift, card or even just an email saying “thanks for your patience and thoughts”. This helps keep the relationship alive while there has been a lull in business activity.
- It is imperative that you fulfill the next promise to that client. Follow through, make a huge fuss and effort to make them feel loved again.
- Try to make it up to them. Include a little something extra in one of their next projects, and point it out! They will then feel appreciated for their patience.
- Try to see “events” coming. These are things like annual leave, Christmas, weddings, time off and pregnancies. Set things up before hand, notify your clients and give them as much detail as they can about how “on deck” you will be during these times.
- During these busy periods, it’s helpful to overestimate time on a project then you will leave your client ecstatic that you got back to them early. It also gives you time to get your head together if you have just been through an emotional time.
These steps and “how to’s” are really just a part of excellent customer service. Enhancing the client’s experience with you and your business. They are experiencing your business values, is integrity, honesty and communication one of them?
Value your clients.