You Must Respect Your Customer / Client’s Time
Once You Lose Respect, Rarely Can You Get it Back
In today’s episode: We discuss how you slowly kill your business and its reputation when you don’t respect your client or customer’ time. This could be from being late, missing appointments or making them wait around for you either at their home or in your brick and mortar local small business.
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Episode 81: You Must Respect Your Customer / Client’s Time
Welcome back to the Local Small Business Coach Podcast. I am your coach, Tammy Adams.
Today we are going to take a look at why it is critical that you respect your customer's and client's time. When you don't, you end up losing business slowly, but steadily.
Hey there, so I want to share something that happened yesterday. I went to a client’s home for a listing appointment and right after I got there, they thanked me for being on time. I must have had an odd look on my face as they decided to add that the last agent that came by was 15 minutes late. This told me two things. A) They were interviewing multiple agents and B) Respecting their time as going to huge on who got the listing.
It got me to thinking about something that I have always believed. You see, I’m always early to a client’s home. Even if that mean sitting around the corner for 5 minutes or so to make sure I pull up right on time. The reason that I do this is, I don’t want to be one of “those” agents. The one’s that show little to no respect for the people they are meeting. Yesterday’s meeting with these people was a great reminder of why people feel disrespected.
WHO ARE YOU? THE CABLE GUY?
It is the same reason we get so frustrated when we have to wait around 4 hours for the cable guy or an appliance to be delivered. We have stuff to do and we already know that there isn’t enough time in the day for all we need to do.
So if a customer is waiting around for you, they aren’t happy campers. After all, they either got up early for your meeting, or maybe they pushed off other commitments. You agreed to the time, they lived up to their end of the bargain but you didn’t.
SOME OF YOU WILL BE LATE TO YOUR OWN FUNERAL
Now, I understand that stuff happens. Previous jobs run long, customers talk your ear off, traffic, and a host of other reasons. I’m not talking about the rare occasion of you missing a commitment time. There are those of you out there that will be late to your own funeral. You know who you are. I can sit here all day long and preach to you about being on time. I will not be the first person to tell you all the “whys” nor will I be the last person to ever give you crap about being late all the time.
The folks I hope to reach, the folks I hope to inspire, are those of you that might not be late all the time, but way more than you should.
WHY ARE YOU DISRESPECTING YOUR CLIENTS / CUSTOMERS?
What do you think your customers or clients are thinking when they are sitting around waiting for you? Sure, they might not mind the first 5 – 10 minutes but we all know that somewhere around that 10-minute mark, people become impatient and eventually ticked off. Sure, they might smile and be polite when you get there, but the damage is done. They already feel disrespected. No matter what type of job you do, they will still have this in the back of their mind.
Let’s say you ask for a referral or maybe they do a survey. Will this be a 5 star or a 4 star all due to the lateness? For most folks, they will be torn between the two ratings.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT THIS?
So, how do you prevent this? The first step is to look for the common causes that are causing you to run late.
For example, are you running behind due to miscalculating drive times? Or maybe you aren’t budgeting enough time for the other jobs? In both of these cases, the easy fix is to add 15 minutes or so to your allotted time frame.
USE A SCHEDULING TOOL
Which begs the question, are you even using a scheduling tool? Many local small business owners “wing it”. They just know they have 2-3 other jobs and estimate when they will arrive. I work with a vendor now that does this. He picks times he “thinks” he will make it; however he is anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours late on a regular basis. Why do I put up with it? Many days I ask the same question. I guess it comes down to liking him and the work he does. But ironically, only time will tell how long I will continue to use him.
BEING UNORGANIZED CAN KILL YOU
But you see, he is late for more than the reasons we have discussed so far. He tends to be late due to being unorganized. So, a simple ½ hour job soon becomes 2 hours due to running behind, then it trickles to the next job and then the next. When you think of the folks he helps, they love the job he does, they love him personally, but I guarantee they struggle recommending him to their family and friends due to how they will react when he doesn’t respect their time.
MY FINAL POINT – Apologizing Can Do Wonders
The final point I want to make is this, next time you are running late, make sure you acknowledge it with the client, apologize sincerely. Try and not sound like you are making excuses. Unfortunately, our reasons just sound like excuses.
Maybe something like, “I am so sorry I am running behind. I didn’t mean to disrespect your time, nor will I bore you with the reason I’m late. However, I do promise to quickly, but efficiently do the job I’m here for.” Tweak it to fix the job you were hired for.
I know this might seem cheesy to some of you, but never under estimate the power of honesty. But more importantly, once you have to say it a few times, trust me, you will start to feel the pressure to make changes to how you do things.
The key is to remember that every time you are late, your client is feeling this lack of respect. Is that what you want their impression to be of you? I don’t think you do.
BRICK AND MORTAR BUSINESSES – THIS INCLUDES YOU!
Brick and mortar businesses are not immune. Folks come into your business during their lunch hours or before work. If they are being held up do to you not having enough employees or product not being on the shelf, they are waiting around and getting frustrated due to factors that you can control. So make sure you are looking for ways to ensure your folks can get in and out if needed.
WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE YOUR CLIENTS THINKING?
Ok, today is a shorter episode, but I really wanted to share this experience I had yesterday and how each of us are making an impression, each and every time we visit a customer or client’s home. What will be the impression you will leave with your customers or clients?
And as we wrap up this episode I want you to know, that I realize being a local small business owner can be a lonely gig at times. But you don’t have to do it alone. Just know, I’m always here for you.
By the way, I am finalizing a new FREE ebook that will walk you through the 8 Steps to Getting Your Local Small Business to $100,000 in Profit. I hope to have it on the LocalSmallBusinessCoach.com website real soon. If you are listening to this in the future, it probably there. As you know, my #1 goal is to help you all get to that magic 100k profit in your small business. This free ebook will be the first of many tools I hope to create to help get you there.
Meanwhile, I wish you the best in your business and remember: Great Customer Service, coupled with Great business practices will set you on the path to Great Profits!
Bye for now…..
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My Recommended Bookkeeping Program for Local Small Business Owners: Freshbooks Link
Why? Helps you invoice quicker and more importantly, get paid quicker. Let’s you know when your clients have opened the email and they even help send reminders. Clients / customers can pay right from their phone or computer. Give it a Try: Freshbooks
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Today's episode, as well as all of our episodes, is brought to you by trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com. Where we provide free tips, tools and resources for your local small business. So whether you are just starting out or you've been in business for a while and want to learn more ways to increase your profit, boost your sales, improve your processes and develop stronger teams then head on over once again to trainingforlocalsmallbusinessowners.com..
And if you are Thinking of Starting a Local Small business, over at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com we have lots of free tools and resources to help you get your local small business started. Plus, we now have a more in-depth course to Help Get you going. It has 12 modules, 50 mini videos and 13 downloadable tools a person can use to start their local small business. You can find the link once again at StartALocalSmallBusiness.com. I also have set up a special discount code for listeners of the podcast. At checkout, just add the code PODCAST to save 25%.
See you on the next episode!
Two Great Books to Help You With Your Small Business:
Highly Recommend all Local Small Business Owners Read the eMyth by Micheal Gerber. You will learn some critical things about running your business.
The second book is one I wrote based off a popular example I always use when folks are trying to understand their role as a leader with their people. Check it out.
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