[thelist] how do you manage/respond?

Joel D Canfield Joel at BizBa6.com
Sun May 31 20:44:41 CDT 2009

> So a bigger question, and one that may help us all wrap our head
> things better, is what do you do when it's NOT possible to make them
> like they're the only client?  What do you do when you can't drop
> everything
> and take care of them, even when they are late getting their stuff to
> Is that just not an option for you?  Is it because you have
> that you can call on at those times?
> I hate to say no, but I've also learned that NOT saying no can
> be
> worse for you.
> Todd

first of all, allow me to turn down my intensity-O-meter, and apologize
for being somewhat overbearing. I'm prepping for a series on small biz
customer service, and I get in The Mode, and start seeing poor customer
service under every bush-whether it's there or not. I apologize for
coming off like a pompous know-it-all. (I am indeed a pompous
know-it-all, but I usually try to keep it under control.)

I think in principle, we agree; the customer gets taken care of, and you
don't shoot yourself in the foot doing it. my business coaching focuses
very much on the thought processes, rather than just the actions, so I
tend to rant about what we're thinking more than what we're doing. 

that being said, we do try very hard not to over schedule. free space on
the calendar or clock is obviously a great weapon. but we do have a team
of subcontractors for the virtual assistant business, which is the only
one with any volume of clientele. my web biz isn't busy enough to every
have scheduling conflicts; once a year, I stay up late or get up early
or skip something I really wanted to do in order to hit a deadline, but
it's rare.

my wife's VA biz, we've got a team of four available at a moment's
notice, because we've cultivated that carefully as the biz has grown.
our adult daughter works with us here in our home office, and I can be
pulled off my writing or other long-term prep work to fill in on urgent
projects. she also has casual subs available in multiple countries so
that, if she had an overnight 'emergency' job, it could probably get
offloaded and not require us to do it. 

this obviously requires that we're okay with making a small admin fee
instead of the bulk of the income on that particular job. that's part of
where we bit the bullet, as opposed to the usual all-nighter or
what-have-you many small businesses get stuck with.

I'm certainly not suggesting that one person working alone needs to be
at the mercy of every whim of every client. but your mentality
absolutely has to be that you're gonna make 'em FEEL like you are, and
it takes a certain amount of preparation, and a certain NON-focus on
money to make it happen.

and, in the end, there is no reality, there is only perception. I do not
suggest that you actually MAKE each customer the center of your
universe, only that they FEEL like they are. keep the right mental
perception (for instance, we really do believe that it's unacceptable
for a client to wait on us, even when it's their fault) and it will come
across in your tone of voice and choice of words. it does take some
juggling of flaming chainsaws, but thus far we've not yet crashed and
burned-not because of our team, but because of our intense burning
desire to make our clients love us more than their own children.

again, I apologize for coming off as a maniacal twit. in person, you can
see the smile on my face and the twinkle in my eye and I wave my arms
and jump on tables because I'm so excited. in email, it gets flattened
down into 'rant rant rant you FOOL rant rant rant' and since I teach
that 'flattening' effect in my classes, I should know better.

Todd, thanks very much for asking a calm reasonable question and letting
me dis-explode ;)


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