The other day my client was having one of those days, where nothing seems to go right. He called me several times to ask about this, that, and the other. Things he should have known, but because he was having a bad day, he just needed some extra help. He’s usually easy to deal with and I was happy to put in the extra effort to help him through “the day from hell” as he called it. The next few days were normal and I was happy that things had settle down for him.
About a week later, he called me and told me that he was sorry for all the phone calls and “bad attitude” he had on that day. I reassured him that everyone has bad days and I was happy that his bad day only lasted 24 hours. He laughed and then got serious. He said that working with me was “like taking a vacation”. He went on to say that every time he gives me work, he knows it will be done correctly and on time. He also told me that he loves my “can do” attitude. Even if I don’t know about some of the new technology, I will research and get back to him about it. I give him my opinion, if I think it will help or hurt his business.
With the economy the way it is, he told me it was a relief to find someone, who was as concerned about his business as he was. The compliment he gave me was unexpected, but it made me realize that I was doing things right and that he would stay with me as long as he had work to do. Most executives I’ve worked for take administrative professionals for granted or they see them as subservient to them. This client valued me as an equal and took the time to tell me how pleased he was with the way I handled “his” bad day.
I always try to give my clients more than they’ve contracted for. I feel that when you have a working relationship with someone, you need to re-enforce that bond. My contracts are very clear and the services I will perform are stated in detail, but if I have a chance to do a little more, I do it. If the client is professional and pays on time, I want to continue this business relationship. If the client turns out to be “not so good’, I will not renew with him, but I would like to part on good terms and I hope he would say that I did give him more than he expected.
I’ve done quite a lot of marketing for my business and most of the time, the business people I meet are more interested in telling me about their business than listening to what solutions I have to offer them, so it was refreshing to receive this compliment. Most businesses are experiencing a slowdown and this is the perfect time to practice good manners and get to know all customers. I now know what to expect, when this client has a bad day and he learned that a compliment goes a long way.
I’m going to test my marketing strategy and try to compliment whomever I talk to at my next networking meeting. I’ll see if it makes a difference.