When your business is dealing with services, there can be many difficulties. Things do not always go as planned, things break and issues arise. Combine that with the fact that you often provide clients with a quoted price – which is not always so cut and dry. More often than not, I find that businesses do not keep their clients informed. While no one wants to hear that a job is going to cost more or take longer than planned, no one wants to find this out after the project’s deadline. You can do the best work and offer the greatest quality; though, when things go wrong, and they will, you need to take care of it and keep your client informed with courteous speed.
Take a Proactive Approach
Let's take a look at an example. We have all gone out to eat and had our food take an unacceptable amount of time to reach the table. When this occurs, it is hard to remain patient, as we all know that you are not yourself when you are hungry. This can really change your overall impression of the restaurant. Even if you complain and a manager attempts to remedy the situation, you already have a negative view of the restaurant. That is simply bad business.
If the manager had taken the time to come to your table as soon as they were aware that the food was going to take extra time, you may not have had the time to get upset and would probably be a little more understanding. There could be several reasons why the manager did not a proactive approach, such as the fact that he might have not known that your food was taking a while to prepare due to an employee being too scared to let the manager know. By taking steps to keep you informed of the food situation, the manager would be able to keep you as a customer.
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Stay Ahead of the Problems
Lack of communication between employees can lead to situations like the restaurant example. This is especially true if the employees are afraid to let their manager know. Be open and honest with your employees and in turn they will feel more comfortable letting you know about delays and other issues. That is how you get ahead of problems. Here are some general suggestions for keeping your client informed:
- Regular updates - Provide daily, weekly, or montly updates, depending on the clients needs
- Inform clients of any delays or problems as soon as they become an issue
- Provide realistic deadlines
- Give them an honest price quote
When you are able to keep a customer up to date with the progress being made, they are going to be more understanding of unexpected delays and other problems. You know the feeling of not being informed and having to wait an hour for your food to arrive. Your client is busy too and their time is just as important as yours. Providing prompt and honest communication is going to save you money and earn you the trust of your clients. One of the main points to remember is that people will naturally think of themselves first. The more effort you make to keep your clients informed, the happier the clients will be.