It’s all in how you let go
I had one of the most annoying things happen with a client recently – the kind of thing that makes you want to scream.
I let them know before they spend a cent what they can be expecting to pay for the final result.
After this first meeting, they can decide if they want to commission me to do work for them. It takes about 30-40 minutes out of my time, but I feel the results are worth it. They then pay my starting fee and we schedule the time for their work. They now know what they can expect to pay when the work is finished.
In this case, I had just what the client was looking for.
The client wanted several things that were going to take extra time so I had to schedule an extra large block of time for them to come back. This is also during my busiest time of year. She also wanted to schedule at the most popular time of day.
Several hours before the appointment the client calls to reschedule.
Actually, it was a voicemail. They cannot make it for the appointment but would like to reschedule. I have one opening left later in the week and have other clients coming in that may use that time slot.
I called the client and only got voicemail.
I told her that I had one opening yet this week. If she would like it, she should call right away. I can no longer use the time slot she had, it is too late to schedule anything else there. This costs me quite a bit of my potential daily income.
The client failed to call back.
I call her just before a appointment the next day before the time slot is taken. She was just about to call and say she did want that time slot. Great, I’ll see them then. My next appointment has to wait a week to get in now.
I prepare for the client to come in.
This usually take me 15-30 minutes of my time. It allows me to start right away and get more done while they are with me.
Then I wait.
And wait. And wait. And wait.
Nearly 45 minutes after the appointment the client calls.
Obviously, she is not here. I am now told they have changed their mind. Can they still get their money back?
What would you do?
I am out the income that I would have made for two days. It is my busiest time of year. The busiest time slot. I have had to tell others I am unavailable for those times and days. Both times, too late for me to use the time for anything useful.
Three steps for dealing with a failed client/customer relationship.
First, do not lose your temper.
At least not in front of a client. It will only make you lose respect in their eyes. Even when they know they are wrong. Keeping your temper in check will raise their respect for you. This is the hardest part. You can bet, I am angry, but the client will not know it.
Second, keep up your part.
Yes, my guarantee says they will be 100% satisfied with the work I do or their money back. It would be easy to argue that it is not my fault but theirs. They have cost me a lot of money and time and have not even let me do the work.
You will get taken once in a while if you offer a guarantee.
This is even more likely in the online world than offline where you actually meet the person and they have to look you in the eye when they come for the refund. It is worth it though. A guarantee will most often more than make up for this in the amount of additional business it brings you. Honestly, the situation would have been slightly worse if I forced them to let me do all the work and then have them say they want a refund.
Finally, do not do business with that client again.
While there may be special circumstances for a given situation this is a statement about that person. If you should decide to work with them again, expect similar treatment. They do not respect your time and most likely will waste your time in the future if you give them the opportunity.
Oddly, this could be a sign you need to raise your prices.
If you command a large amount for your time, you are less likely to have people not respect your time. Let’s face it, you are far more likely to skip a checkup with your doctor than an appointment with an expensive surgeon. It helps to be at the top of your niche.
It also helps if you can blog about it.
What would you do in this situation?