Let down gently

letdownYour supplier is very busy. You know this because you chased your order and were told so with plenty of excuses and apologies.

I’ve always subscribed to the theory that if a customer phones you for an update on completion, you’ve failed. Not in a ‘call the administrators sense,’ but in a service world, the supplier should be driving the contact. If I’ve ordered a TV, a sofa or new roof tiles and I’m told I’ll receive them in 10 days, then it’s no surprise that’s exactly what I expect. On day 11, I’m on the phone. Unhappy.

Preventing my call with one of your own on day nine makes delivering the bad news so much easier. No, I’m not going to do cartwheels at the delay, but I’ll be more tolerant than if I’ve done the dialing. It’s a small but hugely significant difference.

After they take my ‘chase up’ call, your team will say the client was actually fine with the delay. That he wasn’t in such a rush anyway, that next week will be cool. They’re wrong. Just because no-one got blood on their shirt, doesn’t mean the disappointed aren’t thinking you’re useless cretins who don’t care.

Name it whatever you like: diary calls, client updates, whatever. If you’ve got 500 to do, an email template or two is in order but if you’ve got a handful then bespoke contact should be possible. One-man-bands can email me while eating their sandwich or after the kids have gone to bed. Tell me, ‘the news is that there is no news’ or that ‘we’re still waiting on the solicitor’ but tell me something… anything. Get in contact – it is a golden rule. Honestly.

I’ve seen too many organisations revert to the ostrich method: ignore the issues and it might just all come out in the wash. The trouble is, if you wait for the screamers to start deafening you, it’s too late in the game and both you and your business are in for a torrid time.

Yes, it’s time consuming and, yes, it interrupts the actual task of completion, but professionalism demands it. Better still, improve your time and project management and trump your own deadlines (with regular update contacts along the way of course).
Photo courtesy of: Thunderchild tm


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