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Posts Tagged ‘clients’

Don’t Be Bullied In Business

Posted by collinsadmin on July 28, 2008

We have our house up for sale and recently we got an offer that we accepted.  However, the buyer of our house thought that since the housing market being what it is today, he could bully us into doing what he wanted. Well needless to say, the deal fell through which is okay.

Some of you may be thinking, what the heck are you doing?  Getting a house sold right now is a great accomplishment.  I would tend to agree but I would rather live in my house than be bullied into something that I don’t believe in.  This whole ordeal was a huge awakening for me in what I perceive about myself and business.

Too often, business owners are bullied into doing something that is either against their personal principles or what they want for their business.  They do this because they believe that in order to get a client they need to submit to the demands, but that is not the case at all.

One thing that business owners need to take into consideration is that while the client may be providing your business with an income in the short term, in the long term this particular client will be more trouble than they are worth.  You will be babysitting more than doing what you love.  You will be bending over backwards just to keep him happy and is that really how you want to run your business.

Customer service is a big issue and from the time we get our first job until the time that we decide to think for ourselves, it is pounded into us that the customer is always right.  For some things that is true but not always.  As a business owner we need to stand up and stick to our guns about how we want our businesses ran.  Running a business does not mean that we need to put our principles and our beliefs to the side just to make a client happy.

We will all meet this dilemma at one time or another. A client who is overbearing, tries to micromanage everything you do and somebody who will find fault with everything you do. It is at this time that it is best to just cut the ties.  In the long run, your clients will appreciate the fact that you have principles and you will not set them aside just to make somebody happy.  You may lose that bully of a client but you will see that you will be much happier running your business as you wish and your clients will appreciate you more for not selling out just to make a buck. Not to mention the fact that business owners who love their business and love their clients are more successful than those who feel anxious or like the clients are running them.

Posted in business | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Are You Keeping Your Clients Happy?

Posted by collinsadmin on June 10, 2008

Recently, I had to drop a service that I have had for 5 years. The main reason was they didn’t have all the features that I needed and I found something a bit cheaper that has the features I wanted.

Once I contacted the company to cancel my service, I received two phone calls from them offering a free month service as well as some other features. I know this is how corporate America works; the question is why? Had they offered me those same incentives while I was a client, I would have been more apt to deal with the inconveniences and the slightly higher price, but they didn’t. They waited until I canceled my subscription.

More and more, corporate America is more interested in getting rich than the needs and wants of their clients. They are forgetting about the clients that made their pocketbooks as fat as they are today. For instance, look at the gas prices. We all know the prices are high and it is hurting the little guy, while the oil companies are making record profits (but I digress).

As a small business owner, we have to make sure that we are keeping our clients happy. I’m not saying to go out and decrease your profits by offering free services constantly, but maybe send them a thank you card with a gift card in it for a local restaurant, offer a discount on their next month invoice, something just to let them know that you care about them and their needs and wants. Do this at other times besides Christmas. Your clients will really appreciate the fact that you are thinking of them and you appreciate them.

If you don’t have the finances at the time to do this type of thing, contact them once every six months or so and ask them if they are happy with your service and if there is anything that they are unhappy with. Sure, this might be tough to hear at times but your clients will appreciate the fact that you value their input and you value their business so much that you are willing to get their opinion. Also, if anything that they are unhappy with is something that you can fix or change without costing a fortune, do it. They will appreciate it.

Some customer service follow-ups can be automated. Look over your website, and see what it can be doing to help keep your customers happy – from providing easily accessible support, to automating customer awards, or collecting customer feedback.

Make sure that if you are in a business where service or product fees decline over time, that you keep your older customers up with the current pricing. Nothing is more distressing to them than to look at your website and realize that you are offering a higher service for a lower price to new customers, while the existing customer service package has not changed. Customer incentives need not be expensive to work – they just need to be meaningful and sincere. Some examples are:

 Create an award such as client of the year, client of the month, etc

Send Out Cards (www.sendoutcards.com)

Greeting Card templates to print your own

Ezine Director (www.ezinedirector.com)

SugarCRM (www.sugarcrm.com)

National Pens (www.nationalpen.com)

My Contact Form (www.mycontactform.com) for feedback from clients

Also, if you created/maintain your own website, do a client spotlight once a month or so. Have a link to their website, a write-up about them and their business, why you chose them etc. Just make sure that it is okay with your client first.

In conclusion, once you start making a comfortable living doing the business of your choice, don’t forget your current clients. If it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be where you are today.

Posted in business, Customer Service | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Excuse Me While I Jump In The Nearest Hole

Posted by collinsadmin on March 12, 2008

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re deep in thought either working on something or just off in LA LA land daydreaming, the phone rings, your forget your home number is your business number so you answer it simply by saying Hello.

To your embarrassment, you realise that it is a potential client and you are quickly snapped out of your thought process just in time to get all flustered and ready to jump in the nearest hole.

It’s okay, it happens.  In fact just today, it happened to me.  I was diligently working and the phone rang and I answered it simply by saying hello.  The person on the other line quickly says I’m sorry I must have the wrong number, I was looking for Collins-Admin Services. Before I get a chance to apologize, he simply hangs up the phone. That wasn’t even the worst part of it. The worst part was that his number came up private name, private number on my caller ID so I can’t even call him back. 

Needless to say, I wanted to jump in the nearest hole because of my embarrassment. I did however dwell on it for a while thinking about how stupid I was but then it was a mistake (hey, I’m only human) and there is nothing I can do about it now except hope that if it was a potential client, he calls me back.

Another thing that helped was a good friend/colleague of mine, Laura Wheeler, gave me some great advice.  “If you beat yourself up over it, you’ll harm your ability to function.” Words to live by.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »